At the recent Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo in Chicago, my booth was directly across the walkway from that of a Michigan Lodge/Outfitter, RiverQuest Charters. They had the ubiquitous posters of clients with giant trout and salmon, each one two or three times the size of anything the average angler has ever caught. One photo, that of a magnificent hooked-jawed brown trout, caught my eye. Since completing the Rainbow Trout white line print earlier this winter, I wanted to do one of a Brown, but needed just the right image to work with. There it was!
Talking to the guys manning the booth, I asked asked and received permission to use the image. It's been two weeks since getting back, but I was able to get going again and make a good start on this next print.
First, of course, is to transfer and carve out the image on a wood block.
I'm using a piece of birch plywood for this print. I went with this due to the size of the print: the fish is nearly life size, and I'm printing the whole thing. I didn't have a piece of maple of that size on hand, and had this nice largish sized piece of plywood that seemed to be just right. So far, so good - the birch is of course softer than the maple, and it seems to be more brittle, too, so the ultra fine details are harder to maintain. I don't think I'll use it again, but I think I'll be satisfied with the results.
The carving took quite some time, but I finished last night, and started inking the piece today.
It's painstaking work, but finally seeing actual color after all that carving makes it worthwhile. First, the individual color fields are inked in by hand with a tiny paint brush:
then the print is printed:
Over and over, ink by ink, the print starts to slowly appear:
Technical notes: I'm printing this on Reveere print making paper, with AkuaKolor water-based relief inks.
I should have this print done tonight; I'm hoping to have another printed from this block (and eventually, 50 in all...) in time for the Great Waters Expo, Minneapolis.