November 21, 2010

To Print or Not to Print...

Last night I faced one of those tough little decisions life sometimes tosses at us.  The ones where we have to choose between doing something we know we should do and doing what we want to do instead.  My choice: to print the next colour of the print (so I could do an extra colour today and get ahead a bit), or not to print, sit and read my book, and push the completion of this print that much closer to Christmas which, really, isn't all that far away.  One look at the image below will clear up any doubts on how that one ended. 

As I've mentioned before, my normal routine, dictated by all the other stuff going on, is to carve on Saturday nights and print on Sundays.  But this week things got shuffled around because I'm contributing my Sand Dollar print to the annual Malaspina members' show and, between framing it and taking it over to the gallery, I wasn't sure I'd have the time to print today.  So I planned to print last night and worked to get the block ready early.  I had it all mapped out: pull a colour last night, deliver my print to the gallery early today, and possibly even print another layer this afternoon thereby gaining a week and moving ahead nicely.     

Then last night rolled around and suddenly the thought of hauling all my printmaking paraphernalia to the kitchen, and getting it all set up for printing, held zero appeal.  I got tired just imagining it.  Probably because, having spent the day helping R shovel snow (yup, first snow fall of the year here), and doing housework and three loads of laundry, and the week's grocery shopping, I was ready to crawl into a corner with my book and a cup of coffee.  I just didn't feel like printing.  And, although sometimes I push myself to work when I'm not totally into it and then get into the flow of it and get lots accomplished, last night didn't have that type of vibe. 

So, sporting the new layer added today, the print doesn't look much different from the way it did last time because the colour I added in isn't doesn't offer much contrast to the previous one. 

On the other hand, there's all that much more anticipation for the next one which will, most definitely, change things up. 

November 11, 2010

Printmaking Memory Games

Last month, for our Canadian Thanksgiving, R and I drove to Kelowna ("the gateway to BC's interior") to visit with R's family.  On the way back, driving through spectacular landscape, I got the inspiration for my next print.  We didn't have the camera, we were too preoccupied with other things when we left home to even think of it, and then suddenly there we were, winding our way through a veritable autumn tapestry: gold-leafed birches, grassy rolling slopes, dark pines.  All I could do was to try and burn the images into my memory until I got home and sketched them out. 

And, I made those sketches almost as soon as we got home.  Except I don't have a photographic memory.  Far from it actually, so I remembered the colours and shapes but lost the details and my sketches totally reflected this.  Yet, oddly, I liked what I'd drawn.  I decided to go with it, base the next print on it anyway, and keep the image very stylized.  I reworked my initial thumbnails a little more and came up with a very simple larger drawing. 

The colours are totally off, I'm limited by my selection of markers, but it gives me a good idea of the layout and that's really all I need. 

I printed three colours so far; I even managed to do two on the same day:

The first three colours look like this: 

I used a strip of cellophane to mask the area in the middle of the block after I inked it.  As you can see from the photo below, the mask allowed for some sloppiness in inking the block past the area I was printing.  The cellophane stuck nicely to the ink on the block and made a great barrier between ink and paper.

So far, so good.  I'm using Daniel Smith water-soluble inks and Rising Stonehenge paper for this one.