I've been busy on the sketches for my next two prints. As I said already, I like my last print so much I want to build on the same concept and, after two weeks of sketching and erasing and sketching some more, I've got two blocks ready to go.
The first one was easy; it's basically a cousin to the one I just finished, in a different colour scheme. I loved the green/gold stage of the last print and want to try it now as separate version.
The second print began as a fragment that came to me while I was falling asleep one night. I get that often, bits of images or ideas that come in the dark with me snug in bed and very reluctant to get up and write them down. That's what they say you're supposed to do, get up and write those ideas down. But do the people who actually do that have to get up as early as I do? I'm usually already pushing the limits of how late I stay up in relation to when I should really be getting to bed. That's why, usually, when the ideas come just as I get cocooned in my blankets, all I do is hope I'll still remember them in the morning. So far, it's been working out about 80/20 in my favour and I can live with that for now.
So the image for the third print in what I'm now, tentatively, beginning to think of as "the series", started as one of those night children and then went through a few changes. On paper, the first sketch looked like this:
It's loosely based on the lovely California poppies growing in abundance, like the weeds they are, randomly throughout the garden. I love them so I tend to leave them be but they're spreading and I'll probably have to tame them back a bit. Anyway. I finished the sketch and propped it up against the wall on my work surface and looked at it for a few days. I liked it, the poppy heads (the bit that came to me first) were almost exactly like I first saw them in my mind. But the actual poppies lack the graphic quality of my last print and I don't want to lose that. So along to version two:
I put this one on display and walked around it for a few days too and, again, I knew it wasn't what I'm after. I've managed to simplify the poppies and I'm happy with that part but, somehow, the image lacks life. It's got no flow; it's too static. One more time to the drawing pad. Version three:
Somehow, by bringing the two poppies closer together and putting them at a slight tilt, the rhythm between them has shifted and I got what I want so this is the version I'm going with. Sort of. The colours are wrong; I didn't have the right shade of marker and I didn't want to take the time needed for pencil crayons. And I didn't like the leaves so I traced over the sketch and simplified them significantly before I transferred the tracing to the block. But other than that it's the version I'm going with.
Here are my two blocks then, all ready for the chisels:
Now of course, the next dilemma is which one will I work on first?