Thursday, September 27, 2018

Linocut in Progress: The Glarin' o' the Green

I continue to limp gamely forward in the progress of this current linocut. I've been a bit derailed by horribly slow drying times, which have caused me to change my approach and will no doubt insure later hair-pulling and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I had hoped to turn my attention to the bird, but one foiled attempt at spot-inking caused immediate retreat. More water work it is.

And there's plenty o' work to be done. That green needs taming for one thing. And some gradation to the water. Fine. Let's do that.

Reduction linocut in progress, Step 8

In what was probably the most straightforward color pass of the entire effort so far, a light-to-darkish blue blended roll went over the entire block, bird and all. The transparent blue went over that garish green and knocked in down a peg. Still too bright, but I'm not afraid. Not much, anyway.

I'm beginning to doubt that I got the shadow side of the bird dark enough, but addressing that problem will have to wait. If I do need to darken the value, well... it's going to take a second block, I think. I don't like to think it. But I do.

No way to know without continuing the rest of it. So here's a second light-to-darkish blue color pass with more gray added to the blues. This time I masked out the bird's face, which stripped some of the too-wet color off the prints. No problem. I thought it wasn't quite right, anyway.

Reduction linocut in progress, Step 9

The green is finally approaching what I need, and I think I can get it there with one more all-over blended blue pass. If I'm lucky that will be the end of the overall water and I'll just have the wave and the duck to deal with. But of course we're already at Step 9, so my hopes of finishing in another two passes have been dashed. Four, maybe? One overall water, one wave, one or two duck? There's a spot inking of pink that needs to happen on the bird's beak, but as I mentioned before, trying to do it when everything around it is still so wet is a disaster waiting to happen. Patience. I must practice patience. Not one of my best skills.

We're supposed to get a couple of days of good weather here, so I'm hoping to fling the studio windows open wide and get some drying action going. Cross your fingers! I would love to finish this piece before I have to go out of town AGAIN! Sheesh.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Linocut in Progress: Yes, really

Alrighty, then. Pressing on. (Get it?)

When we last left our linocut hero, she had just wrapped up the fourth color pass on the current print in progress. As a reminder, here's what it looked like:

Reduction lino in progress: Step 4

Looking okay so far... but what the heck... let's put another blue pass on here, just because we can.

Linocut in progress: Step 5

Here I must again apologize for poor photography. I just haven't found a good spot in which to take in-progress shots in the new space. Natural light through the large sliding door leaves a sort of greenish tinge, and through the windows the light is really inconsistent. And under artificial light there's too much glare from the wet ink. I'll figure it out one of these days.

In the meantime, the Step 4 photo is really too dark. Step 5 is a little closer to true.

At this point I felt it was time to focus a bit on the bird. There's one more transparent blue layer to go over the entire piece, but not before a little gray-green in the bird's face. So what does this mean, boys and girls? Another mask, of course. But this time instead of masking out the bird, I masked out everything else:

Step 6 mask in place

The color change in the face is subtle, but perhaps you can tell:

Step 6 printed


I'm not really convinced that I'm going to be able to pull this face off the way I'd like, but there's nothing else to do at this point but keep plowing forward. (Which, coincidentally, is what this duck is doing. Plowing forward. Through the water. Oh, nevermind.)

Up to this point we've been dealing with Subtle This and Subtle That. Nice, but a bit boring. And you know what happens when Sherrie gets bored. Things tend to get... well... ridiculous.

Like this.


That there, my friends, is an awfully bright green. It verges on obnoxious. But here's the thing. That little wave being pushed forward by the bird has a rich green undertone that I would love to replicate. I didn't want to mix the exact green at this stage, because the value change would be too extreme. At the same time I didn't want to wait to put down the green, because too many other ink layers below it would interfere with both the translucency and richness.

It's a scary color. Even now when I look at the prints hanging on the rack I wonder if it's too much, but, hey. As a friend said to me long ago: If you're not falling down, you're not trying hard enough. He was talking about skiing, but whatever.

Here's the ink rolled up on the block. I neglected to take a photo of the masks in place, but yes, I masked most of the background, since I absolutely didn't need to be putting this crazy green all over the entire image.

Ink rollup before mask

And here (gulp) is what I have now.

Linocut in progress: Step 7

Hm. Yeah.

The next color pass will be another transparent blue, which will theoretically tone down that craziness and re-harmonize the overall piece. Note that I said theoretically. Stay tuned to see if I can pull an inky rabbit out of my well-chewed hat.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Three crazy weeks, and then back to the studio

Alright... where the heck were we before I started running all over the universe again?

Yes. Duck linocut in progress. Hm. Howzabout I share a little about where I've been the last couple of weeks, and then we'll get back to work, okay?

First: Birds in Art!!!! This is not just a legitimate excuse for being out of the studio, it's the best reason of the year for packing a bag and a rubber duck* and heading for Wisconsin.

My linocut, "Watching + Waiting," hanging in august company at
Birds in Art. (Yes, that's a Robert Bateman oil on the wall to the left.)

If you've never been to the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, all I can say is that you've been missing out on some of the most inspiring exhibitions and community-minded events to be found. Anywhere. Trust me. Just go there.

And if you go in the autumn you will find the walls filled with their flagship exhibition, Birds in Art. It's one of the most prestigious wildlife art shows in the world, and it's always an honor to have work juried in to this exhibition. And, wow! I was surprised and touched to have work included in two other exhibits currently on view there: Regal Bearing: Bird Portraiture (from the museum's permanent collection), and a fun little collection of pages from the museum's guest books... including two I created during my residencies in 2018 and 2013.

I was barely home from Birds in Art when I turned around and headed downeast to Mount Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park and the Wendell Gilley Museum. The Gilley is a tiny gem of a museum, centered around a large collection of Wendell Gilley's bird carvings, but which also presents exhibitions of related work in paint, print, and sculpture.

I visited the Gilley to open conversations about upcoming collaborations... I'm excited to share what we're cooking up, but that will have to wait just a bit.

The day after I returned from the Gilley Museum I was up to my elbows in framing for another show, which I installed yesterday at the Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth, Maine. It's a challenging space to photograph... a long, narrow gallery with floor-to-ceiling windows along one wall, so you'll just have to go there to see it for yourself. Show runs through October 28.

Whew! This morning I was finally back in the studio slinging ink, so you can expect an update from there in the next day or two.

*Oh. I suppose the rubber duck reference deserves an explanation. A few years ago the Woodson Museum staff gave Birds in Art artists a rubber duck and asked us to include it in social media posts. My ducky still travels... in fact this year our unfortunate travel delays enroute to Wausau had a silver lining: Ducky met our airline captain and got his Junior Pilot wings. You just never know where he'll turn up next. Kinda like a certain printmaker.  #birdsinartducky

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Linocut in Progress: Sort of...

The best laid plans, and all that. It's September, and while one might hope that the end of summer would mean a slow down in the schedule, one would be engaging the aforementioned hope in vain.

I did get a fourth color pass printed on the current linocut in progress. It was, as I think I predicted, a fairly straightforward transparent blue.

Reduction linocut in progress, Step 4 revealed!

Instagram followers saw this sneak peek on the press... I think last Thursday. And yes, it's been an entire week without additional printing, but guess what? The ink is still damp. (Hello, Maine.) It's okay to print, I've just been a bit preoccupied. First the print:

The color looks streaky, but it's not. Wet ink, uneven table surface, bad photography.
The trifecta of horribleness.

And now for the excuses.

Friday/Saturday: Midcoast Audubon Lobster Bake Fundraiser. One day to shop and make fish chowder and cream puffins for 75 people, the next day to cook and serve lobsters, clams, corn, and potatoes in addition to aforementioned chowdah and dessert. (I bet you aren't on a board of directors that requires this kind of duty.)

Mmm. Lobster, corn, and taters smoked and steamed in a bed of seaweed.

Sunday: Studio and home visitors.

Monday: Prep for upcoming presentations. Attempt to run errands but... oh. Holiday. How rude. Do a little carving (!!!!), but not enough to print. Continue to fight ants in the studio.

Tuesday: Run all the errands not accomplished Monday and meet with a collector in Rockland.

Today: Laundry, haircut, and packing... because it's time for..... BIRDS IN ART! Tomorrow I'm off to Wisconsin for the opening of the exhibition at the Woodson Art Museum.

A ducky confab at the suitcase means it's time for Birds in Art!

And there went the week. Next week isn't much better in terms of available studio time– More visitors, more meetings, and framing for a show that I will hang September 19 at Maine Audubon's Gilsland Farm Nature Center.

Honestly. When someone tells you how wonderful it must be to be an artist, able to sit around and make prints all day long, send them to me. I'll set them straight. All of these other activities (ok, ok... all except the lobster bake) are part of the job, they just don't involve making art.

Hopefully I'll be able to sneak in and get the next color printed before I have to take off again (next Thursday), keep your fingers crossed for me!

But first... I'm off to see if the last item of clothing is dry enough to put in the suitcase, and triple-check that I packed my toothbrush. Stay tuned!

Linocut in Progress: The Third Act

Time to wrap up this linocut ! And we are wrapping at warp speed (see what I did there?)... because there are deadlines. Exhibition deadline...