June 28, 2009

Colour Chemistry

Sometimes, mixing up the right colour can be a bit of a science. I have, through trial and error and after more wasted ink than I feel good about, finally figured out a method that works for me: I use a mini plastic "tublet" with a lid (dollar store special) for mixing each colour I print with. I mix just a bit more than I need for each printing and I keep the leftover ink, covered and wrapped in plastic wrap, until the next printing.

It's great for the reductions I do because it usually allows me to build each new colour from the previous one, unless the colours are really different of course. I figure it keeps my ink waste to a minimum and keeps the colours in the same "bloodline" if that makes any sense. The photo above is today's colour evolving out of last week's rusty brown: add a bit of white, a bit of violet, and a bit of burnt umber and voila:

A purplish and shadowy whatever you might call the result once it's added to the other layers already underneath it!

June 21, 2009

Shapes Emerging

There's something pleasing even in a carved block of wood sometimes, specially if the shapes carved into it are abstract.

And then, printed, the image begins to come through a little.
This is this week's layer....

June 14, 2009

Little by Little

It must really be summer. Just last week I was thinking of working on two blocks at the same time to really put my creative time to good use and, suddenly, it seems like there's very little time for any art work. In the garden, the weeds seem to be growing exponentially virtually overnight and it's a daily battle to keep them at minimum. Then, whatever time's left over seems to go to summer social stuff. Even for two people as anti-social as R and I are, there are still places to go and people to see.

Still, I did get to printing the next colour on Sunset today.

So far, it's going really well. The MDF block is carving well and the ink is cooperating. Gotta love that.

In fact, although the printing part can sometimes be the most tedious of the whole reduction process, this time around I'm not minding it because it's going so smoothly.

June 07, 2009

Good tools always help

Over that last couple of weeks I've carved and added the next two layers of my latest: Sunset. Not that there's much carving involved really (neither of these last two colours play a very large part) so maybe it's premature to say that I'm really liking working with the MDF. But, I am really liking working with the MDF. Aside from the dunes of wood dust everywhere when I first carved out the image area, carving the actual image is going very well. It may be too early in the game to make wild claims but so far, I'm thinking I may just do all my prints in MDF for the next while. It's certainly way more readily available than either lino or Shina.

Anyway, I let the first colour dry on the block after I printed it and it created a nice additional barrier. This is good both for the carbon sketch underneath the ink (it doesn't wipe away now) and for adding a seal to the block itself. Plus, I'm not sure if I'm imagining it, the ink barrier seems to have firmed up the surface of the block so that as I carve, the edges seem crisper.

This is second colour printed, but it's hard to see the lighter colour below it. It shows much better in person.

Today I printed the third colour. Again, my apologies, the screen distorts the actual image:

I'm really liking the 8" brayer I got from Daniel Smith. And I was actually disappointed the first time I used it because it seemed too big for the glass I roll my ink out on, because it took the ink differently than the Speedball brayers I got used to, because it felt heavier in the hand...

All things that combined to frustrate me and make me wonder why I spent the money on what, after the first try, I figured might just be all marketing hype. I'm not sure where the transition point was, somewhere in the middle printing the Cohen block probably, but I suddenly realized I made it over the learning curve and got used to the brayer. Now I'm very glad I didn't give up on it. I guess it only goes to show that it's not good to be too rash in judging things.