April 22, 2012

Woodland Tales

We took the dog to his favourite park today and got a surprise.  Heading along the trail leading into the woods we ran into "Hollywood North" and found, tucked in among the trees, several fairyland style cottages.  

We didn't have the camera so these are cell phone pictures and they didn't all turn out, the exposures were wrong, but you can still get an idea.  Apparently there's going to be a feature film shot there over the next few weeks so this is all in prep and it's clearly still not done. It was actually kind of cool seeing the forest transformed into a set for a little while.  I've got to say too, it's a lot nicer to have the filming going on in the forest than on the street in front of our bedroom windows.  

Several summers ago they filmed some cheezy horror about a demented clown (what else?) on the street in front of our house for three nights.  From midnight until three in the morning.  A couple of weeks before they started, they sent around a tanned, bikini-clad cutie with a winning smile to get consent for the filming from all the people on the street.  Seriously, no one would've been able to say "no" to her once those white teeth flashed.  The guy next door was so charmed he even allowed the crew to set up their giant reflectors in his back yard. 

A few weeks later we were going to sleep under the glare of an artificial sun mounted on a crane in the neighbour's yard and, on the last night, the tear-down kept us up til dawn.  I think the guys who were loading the stuff back on the truck, parked just outside our open bedroom window, were making a game of who could throw all the metal bits into the truck from a greater distance... 

Anyway, finding the little fairy story huts in the forest today was much nicer than the demented clown time. 

Keeping along with the woodland theme, I think I finished my latest print.  I say "I think I finished" because I'm still on the fence about adding in one last bit of dark brown.  But I'll have to see how I feel about it over the next week.  In any case, now that it's done (or almost done), here's the back story.  

A few summers ago we spent a week in a rented cabin on Texeda  Island.  Our stay there already spawned two prints in the past so this latest one is the third.  I've had the photo I used as inspiration sitting on my desk for all these years, waiting for the day it would be a print.  The name, the obvious name, was pretty much settled right from the start. 

The last two colours are here:

 Driftwood Madonna
(Reduction Linocut - 8 X 9.5 inches)

I'm annoyed with myself for not making her recline more in my version; I didn't really notice it until it was too late.  But there's no way to change that now so it'll have to go down as one of those bugs.  And I guess we'll see next week if those are really the last two colours. 


April 11, 2012

Springing Along

Finally, after we’d all had just about enough of waking up to gloom and rain for far too long, Spring arrived in town this past weekend.  Just in time for Easter.  

I had a five day weekend and an ambitious list of stuff I hoped to accomplish but I actually managed to get through almost all of it.  Of course, getting more printmaking time than I normally do was one of my must-do’s and I got three printing sessions in. 

Here are the three new stages in my latest print: 

Two colours left to completion.  Oh boy!

April 01, 2012

Rub a Dub Dub?

I've made some progress on my latest print over the past few weekends.  My first couple of passes involved an area so small there seemed to be little sense in dragging the press to the kitchen.  Instead, I resorted to my pseudo-baren, a glass flat-bottomed tealight holder from IKEA, and went to work.  The tealight holder works well enough for the area I was printing but I sure wouldn't want to print an full-size print that way.  Even with as little rubbing as I had to do, my arm was tired by the end of it and, once again, I felt more than a little respect to all the printmakers who print by hand.  I'm betting they get very well defined forearm muscles.

It's also been a bit tricky figuring out which order to print the colours in and I ended up getting using a couple of masks to eliminate overprinting in some areas.  At this point though I believe I've got a good idea of what comes next and I'm liking the way the print is evolving quite a bit.  I've been using oil paints mixed together with Georgian printmaking medium because this mixture gives a more translucent result than my usual Daniel Smith ink. (Here's a link back to some tests I ran with different inks). The drawback to the oil paint/printmaking medium is the smell.  

Nora says it smells like pumpkin but that's putting a positive spin on it.  It is a sort of sweet smell and initially seems ok but, in a house the size of ours, eventually there isn't a room it doesn't end up pervading and it becomes cloying.  So for today's printing I still used oil paints but added them to some Graphic Chemical ink extender and the smell issue is resolved.  Whether the translucence I'm after will still be there is an unknown at this point and time will have to tell as I move forward.  

For now, here's how it's been building so far: