I printed the first two colors of the print, Four Seasons.
After first carving out everything on the block I wanted left white, I mixed up a batch of ink and spread it out on my inking plate (a smooth piece of polished granite.) Using a soft rubber roller, or brayer, I spread an even thin coat on the wooden plate.
To print the plate, I first lay the block onto a sized piece of block printing paper (mulberry paper made in Thailand):
The plate/paper is then flipped:
I then used a barren, or hand-press, to burnish the paper onto the plate. The idea is to create enough pressure on the paper to cause the ink to transfer from the block into the fibers of the paper:
Satisfied I've covered all the areas with ink, I can then slowly pull the paper from the plate:
The results are always fun to see:
And so the printing process goes... I've decide to "pull" 24 prints from this block, so after going through the steps described above 24 times, it's time to decide on the next color.
I keep a series of print-outs of the images I'm using for this print, my "color maps." To decide on the next color, I pull one of them out now.
I'll print the lightest pink of the flowers now. Even though it will get covered up, it will act as a good background color for the two trout, and for the autumn leaves at the bottom.
But first, I need to clear away everything I want left light green. A small, sharp hand chisel and mallet make short work of the job:
Once the plate is ready, the inking/pressing/pulling process continues. This time, the image starts to slowly emerge:
With two layers of ink, I'll leave the prints overnight to dry completely until I add more.
In truth, the pink is pretty ugly printed over the green right now. It will stay that way as I add layers of colors, until the darker colors separate yet unite the disparate blobs of color together into the finished piece.