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. 


Sherrie Y said...

Nifty! I like it. I forget... are you a baren printer or are you using a press? How is Stonehenge to print on? Seems still for handprinting, but I've never tried it.

Libby Fife said...

I like this stylized rendition of what you remembered from your drive. It looks very Arts and Crafts to me, like C.F. Voysey but without the endless repetition.

Katka said...

A big thanks to both of you for your positive comments.

I print using a portable etching press. Yes, Stonehenge is quite stiff: heavy card stock really. I like it because it stands up well to all my layers and it's also cheaper and bigger than my favourite, Rives, which usually means twice as many prints per sheet of paper.
But I suspect you'd have a tough time with it. I think using a barren with it would get really tiring for you.

I've always been equally drawn to graphic and stylized prints (mostly by European artists I think) and the more realistic approach of (largely) North American printmakers. I'm having a hard time deciding which I like more.

My own work, if I go with an idea that comes to me and don't try to represent something I've captured in a photograph, tends to lean toward the stylized. I think I just need to learn to trust that more.