October 02, 2012

Printing With Half a Brain

My last printing day, Sunday, was one of those vexing days when trying to stick to a plan becomes more a source of stress than anything else.  The first problem was the weather.  It was too nice.  Too sunny, too warm, too beckoning.  Specially here, on the “wet coast” where we all know we’re on borrowed time at this point and six months of rain is lurking just around the corner.  So, although I really just wanted to hang out at home and indulge in a leisurely printing session, I also really wanted to walk hand-in-hand with Roland along the seawall and soak in the beauty of the day, and maybe stroll over for a coffee and a snack…
The second problem was the season.  Autumn.  Harvest time.  Our neighbour gave us some apples from his tree and, while they’re not the best eating apples, they’re tasty dried.  Sliced up, sprinkled with cinnamon, not bad at all.  It does take time though, cutting out the flaws (and ok, worm holes) and slicing and getting them ready for drying.  I didn’t actually do any of that this time, Roland took on the task, but he occupied my printing space while he was doing it so I had to wait until he was done.  By the time I got around to setting up the press it was early afternoon and I still had this crazy idea about the seawall walk. 

So, half my mind on other stuff and only half on my work, is it really any wonder that it didn’t go all that smoothly?  It’s kind of like when we’re in a rush to go somewhere and we take the dog out beforehand and the dog, normally a “let’s get this business done quickly and go home for cookies” kind of guy, decides to sniff every last telephone post and random grass clump along the way and won’t go and won’t go until his sniffing is done.  Yesterday’s printing went like that.  I felt pressured by all the things I decided I wanted to do, the things I was hellbent on doing no matter what, and so every second thing seemed designed to slow me down. 

I was only printing part of the block so I fashioned a mask but the mask was awkward. There was no place to anchor it to and it kept sticking to the brayer and then sticking to my fingers and making a mess.  I wasted time on wiping and more wiping and cursing, and all the while the hands of the clock were sweeping the precious minutes into history.  In the end I tossed the mask and just wiped off the area I didn’t want ink on after I rolled it and it went better but oh, it was still a teeth-grinding process. 

Yet, bit by bit, the image is coming together:

Sadly, even with the faster-drying inks, I've had a tough time finding the time to print more than one colour a week.  I had a three day weekend last week but spent the Monday on doctor's appointments for my mother so only managed to get the above colour down.  And if you're thinking it doesn't look any different from the one that came before that, you'd be right. You've gotta look really hard, at the leaves, to notice a slight change.  I'll admit it's not exactly the way I planned it but I'm still learning the nuances of the Akua inks and how the colours interact with each other. Here's this week's addition:

This one came out close enough to what I was going for so I'm content.  Now I just need to hack out a block of printing time to do the next colour but this coming weekend is our Thanksgiving and, as if that weren't enough, I've decided I want to go hazelnut picking.  And wild mushroom hunting too but that just might have to wait for a couple of weeks.  There's only so much I can stuff into any given weekend really.  

Anyway, happy Thanksgiving for all of you on this side of the border...   

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