Sunday, May 3, 2020

Linocut in Progress: The third color pass... for Print Day in May!

Alrighty, then! It seems like there's some actual progress happening in the studio! Amazing.

The new linocut in progress is another long, skinny format.... the same dimensions of the harlequin duck piece that I finished back in March before the world went topsy-turvy.

This image has a fair amount of white in it, also, so there was some carving to do before I printed the first color. Here's the pale, transparent blue first pass:

Reduction linocut in progress, Step 1
Again.. these funky skinny formats are hard to see, but these images are a little bit bigger if you click on them.

As often happens, the first color pass seemed like it might be too dark, but I decided to just charge ahead, pretending to be confident that the contrast will sort itself out once some darker values are set down.

The second color pass was a transparent gray made from scraps of the blue plus a little packet of a sort of lavender-gray that was leftover from the Canada goose piece finished a couple of weeks ago.

Reduction linocut in progress, Step 2

So far so good. These first two colors still seem a little dark, but the next color pass should sort that out. It's going to be quite a bit darker, and visually that should appear to lighten the previous.

But first! Saturday was the annual Print Day in May celebration, and printmakers all around the world were busy working in their studios and sharing images of their activities on social media. I decided to be brave and a present a short LIVE program on Facebook... because... why not? I knew I wanted to share a little information about my process, but I also wanted to be able to print during the program. I carved like mad on Friday to be ready to print the third color pass.

Hey look! It's me in my studio... with Presston! (He's the big steely-featured beast next to me.)

It took me a few minutes to sort out the audio and commenting controls when the live broadcast started, but once I got going it was fun to share what was happening in the studio, and really fun later to hear from folks far and near who had tuned in. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to hang out with me!

Reduction linocut in progress, Step 3

And, whew! Printing went smoothly.  As I had hoped, the blue and gray of Steps 1 and 2 now appear less contrasty and more connected to the white areas, and oooh.... what's that? By golly, I think I see the silhouettes of two birds starting to appear. (Secret insider info: There will be more than two birds in this image, but can you tell how many yet?)


So now it's back to the carving table. It feels like I might be able to get through this print in fewer than 10 color passes... but then I thought that on the last image and didn't quite make it. However it goes, I feel like I've got a good start, and I'm looking forward to moving this along this week.

There will be a few distractions, though.. as this week we're also gearing up for World Migratory Bird Day! The official day is May 9, although WMBD celebrations take place all year long in different parts of the world. Unfortunately many events have had to go virtual this spring, but the folks at WMBD and Environment for the Americas will be working hard to share lots of fun information online. Who knows... you might even see a thing or two pop up from me next weekend... stay tuned!

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