By now I really should know better than to make pronouncements like "I think I'm all done cutting masks for this image." Because, of course, after the last color pass I felt the current linocut needed just a little more oomph in the color department. Something a little brighter, and maybe a little surprising, but not obnoxious. Something, perhaps, in the water.
Almost all of the lino has been carved away in the areas of the block that represent water, but there were a couple of sections still intact that could be interpreted as the shadows or reflections of the birds in the waves. In order to contain the color, though, I had to (wait for it)... cut some masks. Which I said I wasn't going to do anymore. But I did. Like this:
|Step 13 mask
I mixed a lovely turquoise as the color to be corralled by this mask. The inks I used are a bit transparent straight from the tube, so I knew they wouldn't appear this light and bright on the prints, but there was still an anxious moment when I pulled the first one.
|Step 13 rollup
Whew! Okay. Subtle, but there. Just enough. I can't really explain why this step felt so important, other than a vague feeling of too much sameness in the overall image. It's a tiny thing, but I felt much better for having done it.
|Step 13 printed
But NOW we are definitely done with the mask-cutting. One more color pass remains. A deep almost-black will add just a bit more depth and detail...
|Step 14 rollup
And, voila! Here it is. This is a direct scan of the final image, so the color is pretty good and the light is finally consistent. I've uploaded this at a decent size, so be sure to click on it for a better view.
|The Lazy Eight? The Crazy Eight? Eight is Enough? Step 14, final
Image 8 x 24 inches, Edition of 18
UPDATE: Final title: "Swell Gathering"
Once again all that remains is a title. There are eight birds, well, seven-and-a-half if you want to be technical about it, so that seems an obvious starting point. But it feels like there's probably something to be said about the comfort of a "pod" of sociable companions, too, so I'll keep thinking about it.
What's next? Don't know yet. I'm back to work on the content for my online linocut course, which I'm trying to get launched before Christmas, so that's taking a fair chunk of time. And I am frequently distracted by the pesky red squirrels that have finally figured out how to get to my bird feeders.
No matter. A little puttering about along the shore, in the woods, and in the studio, will no doubt turn up something to challenge me again soon.