Monday, November 14, 2016

Linocut in Progress: The Night Watch Begins

Despite my lack of blog posts, I HAVE been working on another large linocut. It feels like a bit of a tightrope act, though, so I've been reluctant to put it out in the blogosphere before I was sure I had a handle on it.

I'm still not sure. I told someone the other day that what I'm doing is sort of like inviting a bunch of people to a big dinner party, and then deciding to serve a dish I've never made before, with unfamiliar ingredients.

And did I mention the party starts in an hour?

Let me 'splain.

From somewhere in my rather questionable brain the idea of a night scene emerged. Not a sunset behind silhouetted foreground shapes, but a scene with a dramatically dark background and a discernible subject in very low light conditions. Not full dark. Maybe sort of dawnish or duskish.

The trick is that the reference I'm using was gathered in the smack-dab middle of the day. High contrast. Lots of bright areas. Converting it to a night scene? Must be out of my mind.

Which is why I started like this:

Night Watch reduction linocut, Step 1

Yeah. Purple-blue-yellow blend. Make sense to you? Me, neither. But that's what I did.

Joking aside, there was a real reason I did this. Two of them, in fact. 1) I wanted a nice, clean yellowish color across the bottom of an image that will be dominated by blue tones and 2) the main subject of my image contains a good bit of white. But of course I can't make my whites WHITE in this imagined scene. Blue should do it, but trying to nail this hue and value in the very first pass was a bit stressful.

Once all these lovely blended squares were printed I started to do some carving of my subject... taking out those "white" shapes. Halfway through that effort I realized it was premature. What I REALLY needed to do next was to print a really dark blue into the upper portion of the background.

Like this:

Step 2 rollup

Ooh.. purdy. The dark blended to nothing towards the bottom because I wanted to preserve the already-printed yellow.

Of course this was too dark to put in the body of my subject, so I cut a little mask...

Gee... what's in gonna be?

Way less complicated than any of the masks I used last time around, eh?

Step 2 printed

Probably you can already guess what the subject will be, but so far it seems...weird. Just...weird. Stay tuned.