Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Linocut in Progress: Swimming to the finish...

Spoiler alert! I did manage to finish this piece in 10 color passes! That's two editions in a row, by golly. Don't expect it to happen again any time soon.

But I am jumping ahead. Let's go back to Step 9, shall we?

Step 9 ink rollup

And here we are. Although I have to stop momentarily to go off on a tangent and have a little chuckle, because....

Some times when I take a meal break I will watch a random video that YouTube suggests for me. Today's offering was, weirdly, about organizing/decorating tiny studio apartments. But, hey! I just realized that there IS a connection. Not that it's one YouTube would have known about, mind you.

The narrator of the video I watched spoke frequently of the need to have every piece of furniture in a small space serve multiple functions. A chair that is also a storage compartment. A sofa that's also a bed.

If you can follow my (sometimes odd) logic... It's the same thing with every color pass on a reduction linocut. In the case of Step 9, I was trying to 1) create some deeper shadows in the waves, 2) "gray down" a sort of triangular shape within the overall image to contrast with the brighter foreground colors already printed, 3) define some details in the birds, and 4) keep all those elements cohesive.

And that was a much shorter wish list than I sometimes have for a single color pass.

So here's the multitasking Step 9 printed:

Reduction linocut, Step 9 printed
As always, embiggenable with a click.

Unfortunately this photo is a bit shadowed on the right hand side, so the overall value/tone difference between that area of the background and the area to the left isn't terribly clear... but it's there.

At this point it was so, so close to being finished... but I still wanted to get one more darker tone in there. I didn't want to go as dark as black. That would definitely be too much. But I wanted a few more little bits of contrast that would sharpen the birds but still keep them settled in the water.

Step 10 rollup

Yes. This ink color really is as brown as it looks. Printed over blues it will read as a warmer gray (I hope)... but the female bird IS brown, so I want to be sure that she reads that way. Remember that funny little tan shape I printed a few steps back? Part of the reason for that was to create a warm undertone in the shadowed parts of the female.

BTW: I took this photo of the ink rollup early in the print session, when I thought I could leave the rest of the background material on the block since I wasn't going to ink it. However, it turned out the prints weren't quite dry enough. The areas of "dry," un-inked lino stuck to the still-tacky prints and pulled up bits of ink. So much for saving time! I had to stop and carve all of that material away.

Reduction linocut, Step 10 printed. Final!

This photo is a bit better than the previous in terms of light. I think you can see the subtle differences in the background, and in the area immediately around the birds, and in the birds themselves!

So, whew. I think it's done. I'll let it sit for a couple of days while I walk in and out of the room and scowl at it... that's my usual MO.

Which means it's time to start thinking about what's next. I'm feeling some pressure to get another image started right away, because in a few more weeks my schedule really starts to ramp up again with workshops and some travel. Once that happens, studio time will be erratic straight through to August. What does it mean if I'm already looking forward to autumn and the spring hasn't even arrived yet?

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