Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What's It All About Wednesday: Midwinter Debris, Underfoot Series

"Midwinter Debris," reduction linocut © Sherrie York

Our first real snow of the season came to my new stomping grounds in midcoast Maine this week. It was a dozy! Here at my temporary digs on the Pemaquid Peninsula we had about 8" of heavy white stuff. I know it was heavy because I had to shovel it off the deck four times. Once when the snow stopped falling, but three times more after the sun came out and huge melting sheets sloughed off the roof and right on to the porch. (Note to self: When you finally find your own place, be sure it doesn't have a steep roof right above the front door.)

If you've been following Brush and Baren for any length of time you're aware that I like to wander around outdoors... and that I divide my time between staring down at my feet and gazing up at birds when doing so.

The "looking down" behavior prompted an ongoing series, Underfoot, to which I add another image or two each year. This piece, Midwinter Debris, was one of the earliest linocuts in the series. It was hand-rubbed on Hosho paper, during a time when I was still using mostly opaque inks. (Unlike my current practice of using transparent color almost exclusively.) This view included the needles and cones of the ponderosa pine, a signature tree of my former home in Colorado. When I look at this piece I am reminded of montane slopes, bighorn sheep, Steller's jays.

Here in Maine there are no ponderosa pines. No bighorn sheep or Steller's jays. Instead I'm learning to identify white pine and red spruce, their seed structures very different from my western trees. I also have deciduous trees! In this area the woods are dominated by oaks whose first names I've yet to ascertain. Yes, the landscape underfoot is quite different. Plenty of new material for when I can get back to work... which I hope will be soon!






Saturday, December 9, 2017

Coastal Update

The forest floor looks very different here! 

Days here in my new environment are zooming along, although finding a place to settle is taking its sweet time. I told someone the other day I feel as though I'm still collecting "dots"... and that when I have enough to start connecting them I hope the picture will resolve...

Until then... well. I'm staying quite busy with other adventures (in addition to the home and studio search).

Long time Brush and Baren readers will know that one of the reasons I have shifted my home base to Maine is my connection with several National Audubon Society projects: Hog Island Audubon Camp, the Audubon Artist Residency, Project Puffin, and now Mad River Decoy.

My twin-sister-from-different-genetic-stock Sue is tangled up in all these things, too, and it was her idea that the life-size Least Tern decoys she produces for conservation projects would also make lovely tree toppers, if only they had the proper holiday garb.

Least Tern Tree Toppers available at the Project Puffin website

So of course we set about crafting costumes for terns. Because that's what one does.

I've also been to New York! The state, not the City, although that's not too far away, either. The purpose of the trip was two-fold: Firstly, the 70th birthday party of an Audubon colleague. (That's Pete in the pink and black boa at right, buddy Artie in the black hat.)

And it turns out that friend, colleague, and master oil painter Jim Coe lives just an hour-and-a-half north of the birthday boy! So I toddled on up to Jim's place to visit him for the first time in his home habitat.

It was an eye-opening moment! Everywhere I looked I felt as though I were standing in one of Jim's paintings, a testament both to his craft and to his relationship with his surroundings.

A view towards the Catskills and a barn that has featured in several Coe paintings

Back in Maine I continue to explore my own unfamiliar surroundings. Thanksgiving morning I put on my new blaze orange hat (a necessity for walking in the Maine woods in the autumn, apparently) and made my way down to the shore at the LaVerna Preserve, which is just a few minutes from where I'm staying. Nice, eh?


But of course it's not all sunshine and shorelines here. The weather has been getting increasingly colder and grayer... and today we're having our first real snow of the season.

First snow in Pemaquid

I did finally get out my journal and make a little drawing yesterday, and I'm planning to spend some quality time with my sketchbook this evening. It gets VERY dark VERY early here... Sunset today is at 4:03pm. Interestingly (to me), even though the darkness continues to lengthen for another 10 days or so, TODAY is the very earliest the sun will set. Sure, it will come up a bit later in the morning, but tomorrow's sunset is 4:04! Hey! We're already in the Improving Zone!

So... I'll continue to press on... and perhaps have some sketches to show you later this week! I ordered some paper and fresh lino, which arrived this past week, so maybe I'll get something small and manageable underway. Until then... it's time to make a hot cup of tea and watch my first Maine snow come down!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Pecha Kucha Night Midcoast

Hey! I know that linocut! Photo by Michael O'Neill

Hard to believe it's already been a week since I launched my new Maine chapter by participating in the Pecha Kucha Night in Camden. The presentation videos went live yesterday, and I'm happy to share mine here for Brush and Baren fans far and wide. All the presenter videos are linked at Vimeo, if you'd like to get a feel for the entire event. Thanks to Ned Lightner of Belfast Community Media for video recording and production.





Thursday, November 9, 2017

First post from the coast!

Whew! It's been several epic weeks since I last checked in with Brush and Baren. I hated to leave you all hanging, but all I had to show for a month of effort was a huge pile of boxes. Not terribly interesting.

But I'm finally here in Maine and my belongings are all more or less stowed until I can find a place to live and work. There's still a bit of shuffling to do, but I'm now fighting a wee bit of a cold so I've decided to just let things sit where they are for a few days. The press and my inventory are safe, and that's the biggest thing. Literally!

If any readers were following along on Instagram you probably saw a few photos from the journey, but here's a quick recap. In all we traveled 2,419 miles through 12 states in 4.5 days. We weren't trying to exhaust ourselves, but we weren't dawdling much, either.


My friend Sue flew out from Maine on October 30, and an intrepid crew of Salida helpers got everything loaded on October 31... both a trick AND a treat. I wouldn't have thought it possible, but we got absolutely everything I own, personally and professionally, into one 16-foot rental truck.

It took longer than expected to get on the road... we didn't leave Salida until early afternoon on November 1. But after a quick stop in Colorado Springs we were finally underway, and the view of Colorado in my rearview mirror took on a surreal quality.

I tried taking a few random shots of the sunset whilst driving... just aiming the phone over my shoulder and clicking. I got a lot of crooked horizons, but you get the idea...


The next day we crossed in to Nebraska, where we stopped for coffee with an old college friend and then visited the Rowe Audubon Sanctuary on the Platte River near Kearney. Rowe Sanctuary is the site of a huge sandhill crane spectacle during spring migration, but the fall season is quiet and a bit lonely. We made a quick sketching stop here and then got back on the road and into Iowa after dark.


Dinner that night was in the bowling alley on the back of the motel where we stayed. Definitely a small town Iowa adventure.

We crossed the mighty Mississippi River at lunch time the next day, and made a sketch-and-sandwich stop on the Illinois side. In this photo Sue is looking at interesting fossils in the shoreline rocks.


So let's see... where are we now? Illinois. Then Indiana. Then Ohio. We spent the night in Montpelier, Ohio... former home to Sue's grandparents and a place she visited often during her childhood. We of COURSE made the pilgrimage to her grandparents' former house and did some drive-by photography.

From Ohio we cut through a corner of Pennsylvania and then crossed into New York. My biggest memory of that stretch is that the road went down and down and down for what seemed like hundreds of miles. All I could think of was how happy I was that we weren't on the west-bound side having to go up and up and up with a heavy truck.

Autumn color was past peak, but there was still enough to make the drive a pretty one. Just before dark we made a stop in Allegany State Park. No sketching this time, but a much-needed stretch and a short hike.


Embiggenable with a click


I am really looking forward to learning all these new deciduous trees! Beech was prevalent in this area, and some maples. And something I couldn't identify with leaves the size of my head. Not an aspen leaf to be found.

We stayed that night with former Puffineers in Binghamton, NY... a town whose name made me think of old McHale's Navy episodes. (It was a TV sitcom in the US in the 1960s.)

And then it was the final push. New York, Massachusetts, a wee chunk of New Hampshire, and then Maine! It had been a smooth, if long, journey, with only a few sprinkles of rain the entire trip. We arrived at my temporary digs after dark, unloaded some of the truck into a friend's garage, and collapsed into bed, intending to empty the rest into a storage unit the next day.

Or not.

Sue had gone home overnight (where they'd been without power for a week already, but that's another story). When she came back in the morning we discovered this! The front driver's side tire had gone completely flat! How lucky were we that this didn't happen on the road? And how lucky was I that I had taken the advice of the rental agent in Colorado Springs and paid the extra fee for roadside assistance?

I made the call and waited for the repair truck.

And waited.

And waited.

In the end it was 27 hours before anyone got to me. The clock was ticking... I had to have the truck unloaded and returned by the end of the day Tuesday... and by Tuesday morning at 10 I still had no technician. The dispatch service assigned 3 different vendors before we finally got one to show up... three cheers for Bob of B & B Truck Repair in Saco (about 100 miles away). He made the long drive to Bristol and had the tire fixed in less than 20 minutes. We got the truck unloaded at the storage place in Edgecomb and returned to the rental company in Brunswick with 45 minutes to spare.

After which we drove an hour north and went to ukulele practice. Because that's what you do at the end of an epic week.

Tomorrow night I make my first official appearance as a Mainer... I'll be a presenter at the Midcoast PechaKucha Night at the Camden Opera House. If you're anywhere on the coast, come on out! It looks like a great evening, with 7 or 8 presenters and a reception after. Doors open at 6:30, program starts at 7:00.

Whew.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What's it All About Wednesday: Gaining Ground

With my studio and living space piled high with boxes, getting a new linocut finished... or even started... has become a far away dream.

But that just means it's time for another chapter of What's it All About Wednesday! Today's lino: Gaining Ground.

"Gaining Ground," reduction linocut, 9" x 6"
Edition of 20

Since I'm headed to Maine (in three weeks! ack!) it seemed natural to take a look at one of the most engaging bird species of the northern Atlantic coast: Puffins!

Long-time Brush and Baren readers will know that since 2008 I've spent part of each summer as an instructor and Artist-in-Residence program coordinator at Hog Island Audubon Camp in Maine. Originally envisioned as a place for teachers to come and learn about nature, the camp opened in 1936 with such luminaries as Roger Tory Peterson heading up the staff.

Fast forward to 1969, when a young biologist named Stephen Kress joined the camp's instructional team. Surprised to learn that Maine's coastal islands had once been home to the nearly-extirpated Atlantic puffin, Steve wondered if there were a way to bring the birds back to their former breeding grounds. It was a question which led to the launch of Project Puffin in 1973 and subsequently to the development of seabird conservation techniques that today are employed around the world.


Project Puffin and Hog Island Audubon Camp remain closely connected, and one of the highlights of every camp session is a boat trip to Eastern Egg Rock to see puffins at the site of their first successful reintroduction.

The puffin in "Gaining Ground" is one of Egg Rock's current residents. The title refers both to this individual's waddle towards the highest point of rock, and to the slow but steady increase in the Maine puffin population overall.

While it's wonderful to celebrate the successful return of the species to its historic breeding grounds, we can't just wipe our hands, pat ourselves on the back, and walk away.

In 2012 the northeastern US experienced its warmest March on record, and temperatures remained high throughout the breeding season. The Gulf of Maine is heating up faster than almost any other marine environment on earth, and warmer waters mean changes in available food species. A water temperature rise of just 3 degrees meant puffin parents couldn't find enough small, slim, cold-water hake or herring to feed their chicks. Instead, they found warm water butterfish... which are too fat and round for chicks to swallow. Only 31% of Maine puffin chicks survived to fledging in 2012. The others starved to death with fish at their feet.

The long-term future of puffins in the Gulf of Maine remains uncertain. Good fisheries management has led to increases in the population of the once-endangered Acadian redfish... a good food source for puffins. But the continuing volatility of ocean temperatures can lead to disaster at any moment.

Perched at the border of the US and Canada, Machias Seal Island hosts the largest puffin breeding colony in the Gulf of Maine– 5,500 pairs. But locally warmer surface temperatures in 2016 again created a lack of sufficient food, resulting in almost complete nest failure across the colony.

Monitoring, protecting, and researching the lives of puffins and other seabirds helps us understand the larger changes in our environment, and I am proud of the efforts of my friends and colleagues at Project Puffin and other research projects across the globe. Of course puffins are fun subject matter for a linocut, but for me part of the joy of creating this piece was celebrating the hard work and dedication of biologists everywhere. Thank you all!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hey! Where have you been?

It's a valid question. It has been a couple of weeks since Brush and Baren has seen a post, so here's a quick catch-up.

Work! I had a small illustration project under a quick deadline, so had to put my head down and pencil to humming for about a week. Project complete? Check!

I was also doing prep work for the 4-week Drawing Essentials class that I'm leading at the Salida SteamPlant, which started yesterday. Class underway? Check!

I also had some out of town visitors and I've been checking in every day with a friend's business while she's away. Miscellaneous distractions? Check!

All of which brings me to the state of affairs today... which is this:

I am moving.

Not a little throw-it-in-your-friend's-pickup-and-haul-it-across-town sort of move. Nope. This is going to be a 2200+ mile, multi-day, cross-country endeavor. And not a start-slowly-work-your-way-up-to-it departure date. Oh, no. I'm leaving at the end of October, moving from Colorado to Maine.

I must be out of my mind.

I'm doing WHAT? WHEN?

The story of how I got to this point is long and somewhat convoluted, so let's just say it's a case of something that simmered for a long time without ever becoming a meal... and when I turned up the heat it just boiled over.

So here I am, trying to cull my belongings down to a moveable volume, figure out how to transport and store all my artwork inventory (and my press), and deal with a growing to-do list... in just four more weeks.

Somehow I also thought I'd do a new lino before I left, too, but I'm beginning to believe that's a tad too ambitious. We'll see. I have a big one on the drawing board... I might have to modify my goals.

In the meantime, I've already scheduled my first Maine gig! I'll be a presenter at the Midcoast PechaKucha Night at the Camden Opera House on November 10. I'd not heard of the PechaKucha format, but it's pretty cool. I get 20 slides for 20 seconds each... so not quite seven minutes to tell my story and introduce myself to a new community. It turns out PechaKucha is a worldwide phenomenon, you can check it out on the PechaKucha website.

Before you go wandering off to watch PechaKucha videos, though, here's a linocut in honor of the autumn season. See if you can find the little hawk who's moving at the same speed I am at the moment.

"Fleeting," reduction linocut, 12 x 18"
Embiggen it to find the little sharp-shinned hawk.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Drawing Workshop in Salida, Colorado

I'm delighted to announce a 4-session Drawing Essentials class at the SteamPlant in Salida, Colorado. Class will meet Tuesday mornings in October, and all materials are included in the $125 class fee. Such a deal!

Register at the SteamPlant in person or by phone: 719-530-0933.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Birds in Art and the big Project Postcard reveal

How was Birds in Art? It was great, of course! The opening weekend of the Woodson Art Museum's flagship show is always a highlight of the year. Let me show you!

The museum galleries were glowing when we arrived for a preview of the exhibition.  Take a look at one of the show galleries and see if you can find a linocut on the wall... (You can embiggen the photo by clicking on it.)

The quiet before the crush

The quiet time was short-lived, however. Check out the crowd at the Friday night opening reception! (And this is just one of the 5 galleries of the exhibition.)


Did you find the lino in the panorama photo at the top? Here's a hint in case you missed it:

That's a stunning relief engraving by Nicholas Wilson on the left
and the cut feather work of Chris Maynard on the right.
You'll have to figure out whose piece is in the middle all by yourself.

This year the Woodson Art Museum named Wisconsin sculptor Don Rambadt
the 2017 Master Wildlife Artist. 

A few weeks ago I teased Brush and Baren readers with a distorted image of two small prints I completed for this year's Project Postcard. Artists invited to exhibit at Birds in Art have the opportunity to donate one or two (or a dozen) 4 x 6" artworks, but asked not to sign them on the front of the image. The anonymous artworks are mounted in a "secret" room, and buyers are given just 60 seconds to enter the room and choose their prize. Proceeds from the project are used to purchase additional works from the exhibition for the museum's permanent collection.

I can reveal my offerings now that they've found new homes AND let you know that I've made these little hand-painted linos available on my website, so you can have one, too, if you like! The hummingbird is here, and the oriole is here. I have just a couple ready to go at the moment, but there will be more soon.

My Project Postcard entries.
Hey! I recognize that pelican!

There were delights outside the museum, too. (And not just in the amazing sculpture garden.) Look whose pelican linocut now graces the banners in the museum's parking area. Nifty, eh? I had seen a photo of them when they were installed last spring, but it was great to see them in person and prove to myself that they were real.

The warmth and fun of time spent at the Woodson with friends and colleagues will sustain me for a long time to come, which is a good thing because I have to get back to work!

UPDATE! This morning I received the great news that "Mooch Brigade," my piece in the exhibition, has been selected for the national tour! Look for it at these great venues in 2017-2019:

The Chicago Academy of Sciences, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 
(December 16, 2017 ­– February 4, 2018)
Stamford Museum & Nature Center, Stamford, Connecticut 
(February 24 – May 28, 2018)
Cumming Nature Center, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Naples, New York 
(June 16 – August 13, 2018)
Newington-Cropsey Foundation, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York 
(September 4 – October 26, 2018)
Las Cruces Museum of Art, Las Cruces, New Mexico 
(November 20, 2018 – January 14, 2019)

"Mooch Brigade," reduction linocut, 18" x 18"
© Sherrie York

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Winging Wisconsin-ward!

#birdsinartducky

There's a suitcase on my bed and a mellow yellow fellow on the suitcase. It can only mean one thing. It's time for Birds in Art at the Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin!

Ducky and I will be up well before the other ducks and chickens tomorrow, since we've got a 2+ hour drive before our 6:30am flight. Ooph. But it will absolutely be worth it to spend the weekend with friends, colleagues, and fantastic bird art. (And a ducky or two.)

Sculptor Don Rambadt will be honored as this year's Master Artist, and I encourage you to check out his work and... hmmm..... have you ever come across a little nuthatch sculpture in an odd place? Could be you've been an unwitting participant in Don's "Magnetic Migration" project. Such a cool idea...


********************


In studio news, I spent a good chunk of time this past week printing, hand-coloring, and matting a stack of Bitty Birds and getting them ready to pop into frames. The holiday season is coming soon! (Eek.) Unmounted these little guys are a perfect price for gift-giving, which is why it's a good thing I've got a Gift Gallery on my website, with original prints under $100. (Ahem. Was that subtle enough?) Just remember when you flock to the website that I won't be back to fill your orders until next week, so don't get your feathers ruffled.

I'll be homing in on the home studio again early next week... planning to get a new lino on the press before the week is out. Keep watching this space!

Bitty Birds, hand-colored linocuts, 3 x 5"
(They fit great in an 8 x 10 frame. Just saying.)


Friday, August 25, 2017

Linocut in Progress: It's Done! I think.

Alright. Let's just wrap up this current linocut, shall we? It's time to start thinking about a new piece.

Step 11: I hit the whole block with another transparent blue-to-brown blend.

Reduction linocut in progress, Step 11

It seemed close to finished at this stage, but I didn't like that the background color seemed to divide straight across the horizontal center of the image. It felt... ungraceful. And I wanted just a wee bit more dark.

Much hemming and hawing ensued, and then much carving, and then.... much color mixing.

The final color. Finally.

Some days I can hit the right combination of hue and transparency quickly and everything moves ahead smoothly. SOME days, however, are like today. It probably took me close to an hour to get this color right. I started with scraps of the previous blues and browns and made what I thought was the perfect sort of licorice green. (LOTR fans: the color of Aragorn's coat.)

Nope. Too transparent.

I added some blue. Too blue! I added some black and then printed. Too dark! I took part of the too-dark color and added it to transparent base. Close, but too black. More green. More blue. Print. Tweak the color again. Argh!

Eventually I hit on this rich blue-green-black color and just the right amount of transparency. Unfortunately that big blob in the foreground of the photo is the wrong color... and I've got a lot of it. But perhaps I'll find a place for it in another print.

In the meantime... finished.

Step 12, final. As-yet-untitled reduction linocut, 12" x 12"

Of course, I'm discovering that greens are just as annoying to photograph as blues, but this shot is fairly close. Embiggenable with a click, and ready to find a title. Whew!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Linocut in Progress: Backwards and forwards

It's been nearly a week since the debacle of too-wet ink forced me to abandon work on the current lino. Every day since then I have checked the status of the ink and found to my frustration that the problem continued– but only on one side of the print! The previous color pass was a blended roll of transparent blue to brown, and for reasons I can't quite figure out the brown dried much faster than the blue!

I've not run in to such an extreme case of uneven drying time before, but I decided today that I'd had enough! The upper half of the image was still very tacky, but the lower half was dry. Fine. Time to move ahead no matter what.

Spot inking, pale yellow

I mixed a pale yellow ink (mostly white with a little Hansa yellow medium) and spot-inked the flower centers. I covered the block with a newsprint mask as before, then printed.

Mask clinging to the print after a trip through the press

The mask often clings to the print after it's been run through the press. Sometimes it's just static electricity, others it's a slight tack left in the previous layers of ink. This time....


You can see that the mask isn't sticking at all to the lower half of the image, but it is still stripping ink from the top half! Crazy. But I decided to just go with it.

Linocut in progress, Step 9

Here are the lighter flower centers, the intact darker green on the bottom, and the stripped upper color. Yep. The upper half of the image took a step backward and the lower half went forward. Fine. I'll just work from this.

Linocut in progress, Step 10 (this image is embiggenable with a click)

After some more carving I put together another transparent blue-to-brown blended roll. Printing went smoothly, and I feel like everything is more or less back on track now.

I'm envisioning two more color passes before it's finished, with a good bit of carving to do before I'm back to the press. I'm a little nervous that the last color pass might involve another mask... but hopefully between now and then either the ink will dry or I'll come up with a better solution. Onward through the fog! Er... foliage.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Linocut in Progress: Technical difficulties, please stand by

The best laid plans... and all that.

After Step 7 I plowed on ahead with another blended color pass on the current lino in progress. This pass was a transparent blue-to-brown, but of course it all still looks rather green. I do like the more olive-y tones that the brown created, however.

Reduction linocut in progress, Step 8

The layers of value in the leaves are looking good, but at this point I realized I had forgotten the step that I meant to do when I first returned to this piece after a long time away. Dangit.

The flower centers had all become too dark too fast, and I meant to address this before moving on by doing a bit of spot inking. Well, more than a bit of spot inking-- there are a lot of flower centers in this image! I suspect I blocked it from my memory because I knew what a pain it would be to cut a mask.

Spot inking, step 9

With no small amount of grumbling I cut the mask(s) and spot inked all the flower centers with white. (Knowing that the end color won't look white because of the colors below it.)

Here's the mask in place on the inked block, ready to receive the print.

Mask in place

The prints on the drying rack all seemed tackier than I expected after sitting for a few days, but I pulled out one of the "tester" prints and ran it through the press.

Disaster.

See the extent of the disaster by embiggening this image with a click.

The print on the left is where the image stood at the end of Step 8. The print on the right is one that had spot inking and the mask applied. Sure, the lighter centers came out okay, but the mask pulled up almost all of the previous color pass!

Yep. Everything is far too wet to go on.

I was surprised by this, but probably shouldn't have been. Our weather has been unusually cool and damp, which slows down the drying time... but I think the problem is deeper than that. Remember I was worried about ink rejection because Steps 1-6 were so dry? I'm just guessing, but I think the ├╝ber-dry first steps have created a sort of "seal" on the paper, a barrier that's keeping air from these new layers and not allowing them to dry.

So. I'm afraid my goal of finishing this piece in the next week will have to be adjusted. Possibly a lot. It's too late to add any cobalt drier to the inks... and I hate to do that, anyway. Cobalt drier is nasty stuff, a known carcinogen, plus I hate what it does to the sheen of the ink. So I'm just going to have to wait for the prints to be ready in their own time.

Rather than come to a complete standstill, I spent the afternoon working through some ideas for another print to start. Nothing is leaping up to say "pick me, pick me" just yet, but it will. And doing something... anything... is better than sitting around and watching ink dry!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Coming Up! Birds in Art and Project Postcard...

In just about a month I'll be winging my way to Wausau, Wisconsin and the annual festivities for Birds in Art at the Woodson Art Museum. This show is the highlight of every year, both for the high caliber of work in the exhibition and the high caliber of work undertaken by the museum staff to make the opening weekend fantastic.

One of the most fun aspects of the event is Project Postcard. Birds in Art artists donate original artwork in a small 4" x 6" format. These postcard-sized pieces are mounted in a "secret" room, and for a $50 donation exhibition attendees can queue up to enter the room and choose a little artwork for their very own. Adding to the fun? None of the work is signed on the front, and the buyer only gets one minute to make their choice!

My linocut contributions for 2017 will fly out in the post tomorrow. I'd love to show them to you, but they're a SECRET! Still.... I thought it might be fun to give you a hint.

(And when else do I get an opportunity to use the crazy "liquefy" feature in Photoshop?)

Whaddaya think? ;-)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Linocut in Progress: Picking up where I left off

My two months in New England zoomed by at the speed of light, but this week I returned home to my studio and zoomed right back to work on the linocut that was in progress before I left.

Just as a reminder, here's where the print was at the end of May:

When we last left our hero: Step 6

Settling back down to carve for the next color pass was relatively straightforward, but I did have a little trepidation when it came time to print again. After hanging on the rack for two months the prints were VERY dry, which could have caused some issues. Paper shrinkage, and therefore registration problems, and poor adhesion of new ink layers were two possibilities that sprang immediately to mind.

At the end of my last print session (in May) I folded leftover ink into wax paper and tucked it away. I was pleasantly surprised to find both little packets still viable, so the colors from Step 6 became the base for the next pass.

Wheeeeeeee! Rainbow roll!

This green-to-blue-to-green blended roll looks quite dramatic on the block, but both colors were very transparent. Thankfully I had absolutely no issues with ink or registration, and subtle complexities of foliage started to develop.


Reduction linocut in progress, Step 7

It's all looking rather alarmingly green now, so it's time to sit back and assess what needs to happen next. My inclination is to try to moderate some of the brightness, so maybe I'll try something crazy like a transparent red layer over the entire block! Or not.

It feels good to be back to work... and I'm even happy to have a little ink under my fingernails. Onward!