Monday, March 7, 2016

Linocut in Progress: Almost there now

Aside from putting me even further behind on the current reduction linocut, my four days out of the studio last week were a good thing. Most importantly because I got to spend two of those days with friends I hadn't seen in 20 years (!!) but also because it gave me a little time away from this piece that has been making me so crazy. The solution seemed more clear when I returned, although it required revisiting some earlier work.

Mostly I decided that the lighter areas I had added back to the female birds were too light in some spots, too dark in others, and that the overall hue was too "cool." Thankfully I hadn't thrown out my inking stencil, so I could go back and adjust everything. Tedious, but necessary.

I also got brave and tackled two small areas on the male ducks that required some tricky pochoir technique.

The males, while strongly black and white, do show some iridescence in their heads. I initially left this out, but since I was working the females so much I decided I might as well give it a try. Because the males' heads were already dark I first printed small areas of white, and then applied a tiny rainbow of color over the white.

Finding the right colors took a little time, but after so much blue and brown it was nice to play with other hues. In the end I used the yellow, the light turquoise, and the dark burgundy color.

Fun, eh?

In the last two days I've fussed around with this piece so much that I have lost track of what happened, and I neglected to take photos. But once all the tweaking of duck heads was finally accomplished I hit the entire block with another transparent gray. I'm calling this Step 14, but if you count all the adjustment of little color shapes it's probably more like Step 493.

There's another little surprise in the beak of the foreground female. Yes, she's got a snack! This was part of all that shape-fussing, too. I'll bet no one will be surprised when I say that I intend for my next piece to be mostly big shapes. It probably won't happen, but I can proclaim an intention, at least.

At last I'm only two steps away from being finished and I think it's going to work. Unfortunately when I tried to print the second-to-last step this morning I discovered the prints were entirely too wet and even with a newsprint mask I was pulling ink off instead of getting it smoothly on. The end is in sight but I can't get there from here. Rats.

But there's plenty to do in the studio even when I have to wait. I have framing to do again this week and paper to tear down for upcoming prints (and images to choose for those prints), and.... you get the picture! (Even if we don't get the end of this picture just yet.)


  1. "It probably won't happen, but I can proclaim an intention, at least."

    yeah it probably won't, but that just means more work for us to look at :D

    love the splash of colour on the males :D

  2. :-) Forever the optimist, Jenn!

    I like the color, too. Once the darker tone gets put on the males' heads it should really pop.

  3. I always find it amazing that my eye homes in so absolutely on a colour spot........and it changes such a huge area around it, for me.!!
    And the crab was your teaser, way way back :-]]]]]]]

  4. Looking great, but I'm not sure how you can be so persistent. This one has been testing you and you have passed wonderfully.

  5. You're so right, Fay! Each color pass affects all the areas printed before... sometimes for the better, sometimes not!

    I'm chuckling, April... "Persistence" is a nice word for "stubbornness," but I'll take it. ;-)