As a reminder, here's what the print looked like at the previous stage:
|Step 6: The Problem Child|
What was NOT included in my list of potential solutions was giving up and starting over. Novice printmakers frequently ask me if I ever abandon an edition before it's finished because I make a mistake. My answer? "Not anymore."
I can think of a few times when I walked away from editions in the middle of production. Most frequently this was because of technical problems... I was getting the ink too thick or printing unevenly, which caused problems on subsequent color passes. Once I gave up because the paper I was using was blowing so much loose fiber that I had to stop and clean the block after rubbing each and every print. Once or twice I got all the way to the end and had fewer than 5 good prints. And I can remember pitching a stack of almost-finished small prints into the trash because my original drawing was bad, and no amount of ink was going to fix that.
It happens. But these days, unless I am having serious technical issues, I try to work with whatever creative issues come up. There's a lot of ink and paper and time involved in printmaking, and I've learned that very few things are completely unsalvageable. Sometimes all they need is a re-think.
Cranfield Traditional Relief Ink line has something called "Mixing White," in addition to their "Opaque White." I didn't know what a mixing white was, so I bought some. It turns out that it's a kind of nice, semi-transparent, NON-CHALKY white. Hmm. Could be useful.
Since I have so many "testers" (read: bad prints) in the line-up, I thought I'd go ahead and experiment with this mixing white. I rolled it out all by itself... no additional transparent base, no other pigmented ink. Just the white.
I cut some more bird-shaped masks, just to keep ink build-up out of that area, and then gave it a try.
|Block rolled up with straight mixing white, bird-shaped mask in place.|
Well. Whaddaya know.
|Reduction linocut in progress. Step 7, the fixit step|
That's pretty fine, don't you think? The value of the green is lighter and it's less obnoxiously yellow. And the bonus? The "mixing white" was an easy clean-up! Opaque whites can be really hard to clean off of blocks and brayers without a lot of elbow grease, but this little gem was no problem.
Whether or not it's leaving a white residue on the block I don't know yet, but I can't imagine that it will cause the problems that the yellow residue did at the beginning of this print, if indeed it leaves any.
Whew! Forward from here, with a new trick in my creative problem-solving arsenal. Although ARGH! I'm leading a workshop tomorrow morning and leaving town for a week on Tuesday, so I'm not convinced much more will happen before then. I hate leaving us all in suspense, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do.