Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I haven't done a trout print for awhile, mostly river-scapes and such. I've had this image of a nice rainbow laying around since the trip to Chile n 2006. I caught the fish on our last day of fishing, on the Rio Simpson, in Northern Patagonia. It was the first one I had caught that morning; very colorful 18+ incher, it took a bead headed prince nymph. I don't like fishing nymph rigs all that much, but it was a cold morning, and there weren't any hatches coming off yet. Normally, I'd wait until there was something hatching (and actually, once the sun hit the water, the bugs started pouring off...), but since I was sort of pressed for time, I "did as the Romans do...", dropped a big, weighted nymph-jig under an Elk Hair caddis and let 'er rip.

I ended up catching this nice wild 'bow, which behaved long enough to get a pretty decent photo of (I have plenty of brown trout and brook trout images to choose from, but I'm lacking photos of nice rainbows.) I was at some point planning on doing a reduction print from this image, but the complexity of the image has always turned me off. Too, looking at it critically, I've got my doubts on how it would work as a reduction, anyway. Unless I were to do a huge print, say, maybe 3 feet wide (!! - it would be cool, but not very practical with my studio space), I don't think it would print all that well. So, it's always drifted towards the bottom of the pile.

It wasn't until discovering this White Line process that I've given it any more consideration. As I paged through my image/ideas folder the other ight, looking for a couple new images, I came accross this one and thought, "Why not?" I quickly transferred the image to a block.
And I'm glad my impulsive side took over, because if I had really thought about it with a critical eye, I might have sent the mage back to the bottom of the pile! It took me longer to transfer the image than I had figured, and it took me a lot longer to carve the lines than I originaly intended. But, I was comitted at this point, and could sort of visualize what the results would be, so I kept at it:

After a marathon session of carving the other night, I was finally able to attach a piece of paper and start inking in the first print.
I again used two pieces of packing tape to secure the paper, stapling the flap of tape down to the block to create a hinge:

I arbitrarily started inking with blue. Normally, I start printing a print with the lightest color fist, as any over lap between colors is best hidden when a darker color is over the lighter color. But with a White Line print, the color fields are separated by a channel carved into the block and never (theoretically, anyway) touch, it doesn't matter.

I've refined things a bit since my last print. To create the tiny gradations, the color field is first inked with a brush, then carefully wiped clean, as with a moku hanga-type print. I used wadded up paper towels before; while this certainly works, the color fields on this print are tiny in comparison. I still wanted to have the gradations, so after some experimenting with several ideas given to me by the good folks at Wet Paint (the absolute BEST art supply store in St. Paul/Minneapolis...) I've seetled on these little rolled up newsprint smudge thingies:

The last two nights have been spent inking the separate colors. It's not that there are a lot of colors: just inking in , wiping and printing is taking more time than I'm used to. But the results are worth it - I finished up with the dark olive green last night:

Some more blue, cream, some lighter greens and a lot of black, and it will be done.

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