Monday, October 17, 2016

Linocut in Progress: When printmakers think like watercolorists

Yellow, yellow, yellow. How.... yellowish! Time to start toning this linocut down a bit.

Step 4 was a duller transparent orange. It brightened up on the print because of all the yellow below it, but I think it hit the right value note. And besides, it's autumn! Pumpkin-colored inks are probably appropriate.

Step 4, definitely flowers... but pumpkin-colored?

After Step 4 I'm almost done with the flower petals, which is good because I'm tired of the color AND I'm starting to sweat the greens which need to be added soon. I thought about cutting a mask at this stage, but it would have been too, too fussy and a pain to work with. Yep, there's gonna be some white ink in my future. Again.

But right now I need to push a few blooms into shadow. Back in the days when I was primarily a watercolor painter, one of my options would have been to carefully brush a blue or purple wash across existing color. Hm. I wonder...

Transparent purple!

Yes! It's a transparent purple! How fun to roll out something new, even though I was quite sure that it wouldn't read as purple once printed. In the end I thought perhaps it could have been MORE purple, but it did what I wanted.

It made a darker, duller orange. Seriously. See for yourself:

Step 5: Darker orange from purple. Embiggenable with a click.

And now I have a little head scratching to do. Some of these flowers have streaks of deep red in their petals. I absolutely do NOT want to roll red ink across this entire image when I know I have greens coming up. But again, cutting a detailed mask would be horribly complicated, especially since I would have to cut 24 of them.

I think I will be able to get away with some spot inking if I use a very small brayer and if I am prepared to do a lot of wiping out of stray color before each impression.

I have a day or two to sort it out now, as these five layers of ink are very sticky. Once I have carved everything away from the flowers except those red streaks (and the dark centers) I'll have a better sense of how careful my spot inking needs to be.

Until then, let's give your eyes and mine a break from all that yellowy, orangey, flowery stuff. I was out for a walk before the supermoon set this morning. There's something about a big moon at daybreak that seems particularly wonderful. Especially since the world is blue. Not yellow.

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