Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Linocut in Progress: the Finish...

Alrighty then! Here we go with the final push on this crazy aspen tree linocut.

Of course I have to start by admitting that I neglected to take a photo of Step 10, another subtle brownish/ochre-ish tone in the grasses along the bottom. Probably no one would have noticed the difference but me, but hey! There's a good reason printmakers are often viewed as a bit obsessive.

Step 11 was yet another pass of a mostly-white ink with a little more reddish-brown to knock back more of the underlying greenish tone. I don't mind a little green... the white trunks of aspen often reflect the colors of leaves and grasses around them. But too much is too much.

Step 11

I think you can see in this shot that the two trunks just behind the three foreground trees are a tiny bit darker. The overall light in this image is not dramatic but I did want to suggest a little distance, even if it was subtle.

And then the fun part finally happened. I got to work on the details of the tree trunks.

Here's the Step 12 rollup, a transparent gray. Very little of this color will remain in the tree trunks in the final image, however it was important for the last bits of contrast in every other part of the image. The thin saplings in the lower left, the slightly darker leaves in the upper right both benefitted from this pass. And after it I finally got to remove ALL of the background.

Step 12

At this point I finally started to believe the image was going to work. Whew. The temptation to keep plowing forward was strong, but everything was very wet at this stage and we all saw what impatience wrought last week.

Step 13 was a transparent brown-black. I was a little worried that it might end up reading TOO brown, but again a lot of this color would be covered up in the final pass.

Step 13

This is really the first time that all the swoopy, tangly branches became clear. It seemed a little much here, but I planned to take out those two background trees entirely before printing the final color pass. Some of their branches would go, too.

I added some more black to the transparent brown aaaaaaannnnndddddd......

Step 14, final. Slightly embiggenable with a click.

I need to take a better photo (and soon, since it's due Friday for exhibition promo), but this gives you the idea. Clicking on it will bring up a larger version and the image will be a little sharper. There are always things I wish I would have done differently, but overall I'm satisfied.

And I'd better be, because it's way past time to get the next one underway. Paper is prepped, image is drawn on the block, and the first color should be drying on the rack by lunch time tomorrow. No rest for the... um... weary? Wicked? Wobbly? All of the above?


  1. o.0

    ok I'm done *throws out printmaking stuff*:p this is incredible

    1. Don't you dare! And, sheesh... I wouldn't even know how to begin on the cool digital stuff you've been doing. I should throw out my computer? :-D Hahahahahaha.

    2. no, don't throw it out, I could always use another one ;) jk

      the digital stuff is a lot easier than this is, the programs to a lot of the work for you lol

    3. I wish I could find a computer program to do all the stuff I don't like to do... like framing! Forget the robot maid, I want a robot studio assistant!

    4. but a robot assistant could go all HAL 9000 on you....

  2. Love to watch how you build up colors to get to the final result. Really beautiful. So glad you persisted after your early "too much green" on the trees.

  3. It's a funny thing, this reduction process. Halfway through almost all of them I think "this is never going to work." It's always a surprise when I get to the end and actually have something. :-)

  4. I love to watch how other printmakers work. Thanks for giving us insight into your methods. There's a reason I stick to black and white prints. :)

    1. I love black and white prints, in fact when I was first teaching myself to make linos I spent more than a year doing nothing BUT black and white. From time to time I go back and do another and I love it!