July 29, 2007

Hybiscus - Frustration

Last weekend and today I printed the next two colours for this print. At this point, the oil paints and block printing medium combo are a disappointment and annoyance. Until last Sunday, I was really happy with the way the print was coming along. I loved the different, lighter, look of the oil inks and the speed with which they dried in the warm weather. I couldn't wait to print the darker colours.

Friday was a flex day and I took the opportunity to print. Here's the result and all was still good; yeah, some of the orange is peeking through but I figured the dark colours would hide it. Dreamer!

Last Sunday: R gone all day to a workshop, N gone all day with the BF and me with CBC radio 2 for company. I hauled the press back to the kitchen for another run. A dark day. First, the weather was the worst of the summer: black clouds and incessant rain. Gloomy November weather. Second, I couldn't get the right colour mixed. I wanted a rich forest green but it just wasn't happening. Having to mix in specific amounts of printmaking medium to get the right "tack" for rolling out made it worse. A long half hour later I ended up with something semi-passable and began printing. The coverage was shit. The orange layer was showing through everywhere, the blue wasn't contrasting as strongly as I'd hoped it would against the green and, for some bizarre reason, the registration was 1/8" off on one side of the plate even though the registration frame I'd set up seemingly hadn't moved. Still, I compensated for the 1/8" difference, finished the run and decided that I'd have to reprint the green again. This is the green as it turned out after the first printing.

Now here I am today. I'd saved the ink from last week; I figured life would be easy since I wouldn't have to mix colours again. Yeah right. As well-wrapped as it was, something in the ink -- the printmaking medium? -- had congealed. It was a mixture of, mainly, gel-like blobs with only a little bit of usable substance. That meant going back to mixing colours and another half hour gone with dreadful results. I finally managed to mix a shade of green that was similar to the previous one. But, aaaarghhhh, it still didn't take the way it should; it's still not as rich as it should be. And, maddeningly, the registration was mucked up again -- is the L-square I'd taped to the press bed slipping? I tried to move it but it's still stuck firm. I can't figure it out but the results are enough to make me want to scream. At this point, I don't know how many prints my edition will be finally but the number is dwindling.

I have at least two more colours planned but don't want to use the oil paints/printmaking medium again. And I can't switch to the DS water-soluble at this point since they wouldn't be compatible. So, DS oils on order. Man, the money just flies out the window. I guess this is what I work for? It's Catch-22, really. My job leaves me little time to devote to my art work, yet allows me to buy the tools I need to be able to pursue it. But everything is such a huge learning curve. I look at the woodblock prints of Gustave Bauman: his hues are brilliant and vibrant. How the hell did he get his colours to look like that. He must have been using oil inks in his day??? Oh well, no place to go but up from here anyway.


azulparsnip said...

I can really identify with ya, ........ hang tight.

Katka said...

Thank you, Azul.