July 19, 2009

When One is Two

I began working on my next print this weekend in earnest and printed the first colour. It seems that, in choosing my themes, I'm bound to revisit places we took previous vacations to. Having paid my little tribute to last summer's Texada Island, this new print is based on another trip we took, eight years ago this time, to the Czech Republic.

My cousin lives in, and is restoring, a farmhouse that's several hundred years old, in one of the many, many small villages still so abundant there. The village is really only a handful of houses tossed together and surrounded by meadows and fields. Being there was like stepping back through time. I took this photo in his girlfriend's garden:

I know, very "rustic". But, maybe because I have fine memories of the place, or maybe because the lack of modernism hints at a time I only know from stories and folk songs, I like it. R. often tells me I have to base the themes for my prints on the world I'm living in now and not on nostalgia for a place I don't really know and I suppose to a degree he's right. Be here now. But what if I'm in one place physically but another one still lives inside me somewhere? What then?

I guess this time the "other place" won out and Jolana's garden it is. I've tentatively decided to call it Water Pump. Along the lines of the minimalist poem, Red Wheelbarrow, by William Carlos Williams:

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

It seems to me that, in my photo, so much depends on that blue water pump...

Anyway, this is the first colour. Or, rather, the first I printed but, as it turns out, not the colour I meant to print which was supposed to be much lighter.

I don't know how it happened. Can I blame it on a sore toe? While I was getting ready to print, hauling all my gear into the kitchen, I stubbed my second toe on one of the faux Birkenstocks I use as slippers and it immediately swelled up and turned blue. What a bizarre thing! Anyway, whether it was the toe woe or not, the colour I mixed for the first printing looked perfect until it went on the paper. Too late by then of course.

I considered adding more white and printing again and then realized, duh, that I could just do that next time. So even though this is technically the first colour down, going by value, from light to dark, it's going to have to be the second. Oddly enough, for this print at least, it ends up being better that way. Given how much of the lighter colour there is, it'll be easier to clear all those areas after I carve away the shadows.

There's also that little line, bottom left corner, where my chisel slipped and made enough of a mark that it doesn't take the ink now. I'll have to fix that for next time.


Sherrie Y said...

:-) Aha! I see what you mean, Katka!

If it's any consolation, I know a Dutch printmaker who does these insane 20+ color reduction woodcuts, and he goes from light to dark and back to light again by the time he's finished.


Katka said...

I can't even imagine doing that many colours. At the speed I work, it would take me 5 months to do one edition. Wow!