October 24, 2011

Ok, I Give Up - No, Wait...Let's Try This!

There are times when, on the path to "let's try this and see if it'll work", it's good to know when to stop.  Such was the case yesterday, when I worked on my "fix" for what was in my mind the washed-out sky problem.

The solution actually came fairly quickly; looking at the block I realized it was still, though mostly carved away, in pretty good shape.  So I laid a piece of tracing paper over the sky area of one of the prints, cut it out, and traced around its outline, wrong side up, onto a leftover scrap of textured mat board.  I then used double-sided tape to attach the mat board piece to the block so it looked like this:

And then, because I was hoping to duplicate the texture I got for the sky earlier, I rolled the pattern-tracing wheel over the mat board again to make little indents:

My idea was that if the slight texture of the mat board didn't produce an interesting enough effect, maybe the indents would.  Well, they both did dick all.  The ink rolled on beautifully and registered beautifully, so I was at least gratified I got the mat piece cut out and placed right, but it was totally opaque and flat. It looked good but...no texture.

And now this is where I should have just said "it is what it is" (even though I really HATE that phrase) and printed off the rest of the edition and called it done.  But no.  That's not where it stayed because I got the "brilliant" idea to see if I could cut some lines into the mat board with one of my carving gouges.  

I wiped off the ink (not really sure why since I tried the gouge on a different piece of mat anyway) which didn't work; the paper just tore away.  I tried running the flat end of a dinner knife along to create an indent but that didn't work either.  With that, I finally decided to accept things as they are, returned to the original piece, and set about rolling on more ink and carrying on with the  printing.  Suprise!  Because the rag I'd wiped the mat board piece with, needlessly, was just a little bit damp, the mat board piece had become damp too and, go figure, fell apart.  Now there were bits of brown mat clinging to the brayer and mixed in with the rolled out ink and the inking glass was just a mess.  

I'll let you imagine the colourful language I save for times such as these.  

My next thought was to just blow it all off for this week and do it all again next weekend.  Except one of the bits of code I've been programmed with is "never leave for tomorrow what can be done today".  And I really do try to live by that, if only so I have less stuff to feel guilty about. Plus, I have an idea for a new print and I want to be done with this one.  Now.  So even though I still had to get outside to turn over the garden beds and get next year's garlic in the ground, I went and started again.  I cut a piece of foam board this time, no texture (enough f-ing around for one day thank you), attached it to the mat board piece, and printed the rest of the edition. Was it worth it?  I'm going to tell myself yes.  What else am I gonna do?

La Grande - Reduction Linocut 
9.5" x 8"  
Edition of 7
Afterward, I went and planted garlic....Really, there's nothing like the smell of compost to make one forget about other, minor frustrations.

October 11, 2011

Not the "La Grande" Finale

Well, now that I’ve added the "last" colour to the La Grande print, I have to face up to not being finished yet.  Maybe.  

The problem is I don’t like the sky.  I know, I know, I was so proud of how very cleverly I managed to work in the little bit of texture into it but now, when I see it with all the other colours in place, I find it’s not bold enough.  It’s kind of blah.  Too pale, the wrong shade, I don’t know exactly what it is about it I don’t like, but it pleases me not. 
I’m weighing a decision to overprint it with a richer colour – yes, at the cost of the texture – and I’m trying to figure out the best way to do that.  And if it's worth the trouble.  Because this being a reduction print, there’s almost nothing left of the block.   

Which means I have to either do a new block (and no way am I doing that), or maybe use foam board again just for the sky.  And then I’ve got to figure out the logistics of positioning the new piece into the registration jig I’ve got set and lining it all up so I don't misregister the whole thing at the last minute and totally screw it up.  
So it goes. On the plus side, now I can delay the decision of what my next print will be by another week so, in a twisted kind of way that’s there's a plus side.

October 03, 2011

Next Colours in the La Grande Print

I've been down in the dumps the last couple of weeks again.  Issues with my parents and my care of them weighed down and overwhelmed me and, as a result, I've been dispirited and uninspired to do much beyond escaping into my book and losing myself in alternate realities.  

By the time some of the gloom lifted and I returned to my La Grande block and print, I took my time in carving the checkerboard pattern I added.  With all the little squares it was a minor optical illusion and I wanted to make sure I didn't make any mistakes.  

And yet, even with drawing the pattern right on the block and shading in the parts that were supposed to be cut out, I still managed to skip one little square somehow.  Of course this threw the whole thing off; I had to cheat the pattern back into submission and hope it wouldn't show too much when printed.

In the end I think it turned out ok though.  The flub is there but not glaring and it's all good.  These are the next two colours in:

And the second to last one:

Now it's one colour left to go and so far no real decision on what my next print will be.  But I'm fairly sure, when the time comes, so will the idea.