Monday, February 20, 2023

Linocut in Progress: Okay... what, now?

Progress continues to be slow on the current reduction linocut, but there IS progress. 

I'm still struggling with the balance of blues and greens, so of course for the next color pass I went all out...  There's a bright green blended to blue in the lower third, a straight blue across the middle, and a gray-to-blue blend in the upper third of the image.

Reduction linocut in progress: Step 10 rollup

All that bright color looks SO alarming in the rollup!  But remember... these are transparent colors, so they will be affected by everything else underneath them.

Like this...

Step 10 printed

Okay, phew. I think we're finally getting somewhere. I think the grasses are close to being finished, which is good because I really need to get those birds sorted out!

But not yet. Here's the rollup for Step 11. Yes, eleven, and I'm still messing around with the grasses. But at least the color is getting more simple. A straight blue and a straight gray...

Step 11 rollup

Step 11 printed!

Yes, I think the background is really getting close now. The upper third is 95% done... maybe just a few more tiny darks at the final stage, but I'm going to take most of the material out of that portion of the block now. The grasses in the center third are mostly done, also... it's just that I still want to get the darkest bits of the water to look a bit more blue.

The bottom third will have a few more darker shapes, but it, too is getting close. Which is a good thing, because 11 layers of ink are a LOT. Many layers of ink can add unwanted texture to a print, which can make it hard for subsequent layers to adhere. Also... drying times can get soooooo slow... subsequent passes can slide... or reject... or even pull up bits of paper if ink is too tacky. 

Which is why I have been doing a lot of stripping.

Wait, what? 

Yes, stripping. When I print a new color pass, I immediately take a sheet of clean newsprint, place it over the wet print, and rub it with my palm. This lifts excess color but doesn't remove it entirely. It does tend to lighten the newly-printed color a bit, so the contrast is less strong, but it speeds up drying time and evens out the print surface a bit. I don't always do it, but on this particular print I started using the technique after maybe the third color pass. One more step to an already-many-stepped process, but you do what you have to do, eh?

So. Goals for the next color pass: Finish the water. Finish the grasses? Define some details of the birds! There are a few light shapes that will probably have to be masked in before I can get to the details, which will be mostly gray and brown. Onward!

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