Thursday, March 25, 2010

follow up to "Something new from something old"...

I finished up the moku hanga print I started a couple weeks ago, after I printed a run of proofs off the the left over block from the reduction print "Brook Trout Yin Yang."

I like it. It's much simpler than the original (far fewer colors) and it's printed lighter, too, giving it a lighter, flowing feel.

And just in time for the Minneapolis Great Waters Expo, too!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

on to the Fruit...

As I mentioned before, as I get ready for the Flower and Garden show at the River Falls Library, the next series I want to work on is a triptic of fruit trees: pears, cherries and plums. First up, is the Pear.

a key block, some B&W proofs, and the first color block:

too green, but the registration is right on.

I carve the rest of the color blocks, proofing them as I go. I discover I need to carve and extra color block, to get the red/orange "blush" to the fruit.

The finished print:

More Flowers...

After the Poppy, my next flower was to be a Purple Iris, also called the "Blue Flag". I see these in the early summer up along the Apple River. A beautiful flower.

the first step, of course, is to produce the key block:

from this I print a shot series of black and white proofs. These proofs are what I use to create the color blocks from.

Starting with the blue:

Eventually, I'll have cut and printed a total of 5 blocks for the finished image:

I'm getting these prints ready for the flower and garden show coming up in May at the River Falls Library. I want to have three triptics done: one of garden flowers, one of fruit (pear, plum and cherry) and one of apples.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Something different; no fish!

I was asked to submit something to the River Falls library's upcoming flower and garden gallery show. I have several finished prints on hand that would fit the bill, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to create some new work. It's also an opportunity to get started on a project I've been meaning to get to for Maple Leaf Orchard: a series of fruit and apple prints.

So to start off with, I selected my favorite garden flower, the poppy.

I decided to produce these in the moku hanga style of Japanese woodblock printing, so the first step was to produce a keyblock, and print up some proofs in black:

My initial idea was to separate out the colors and cut blocks to print the various shades of red/orange.

I cut three blocks, but after I proofed them, I quickly decided that this was not the direction I wanted to go with this print. It was looking less and less like a flower, and more like a brain...

So I started over, nearly from scratch. I cut a base red/orange block, and instead of trying to break up the gradations of color with additional blocks, I whitelined it and inked in the individual petals and folds by hand, carefully wiping them as needed.

The results are much better:

A bit of a background, and hey presto! I like it!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Something new from something old

I made some head-way with the cracked-block reduction print; printed a couple more colors on friday:

mmmmmmm - the pukegreen/yellow and gray really look good togeather....

hopefully, the next few colors will pull it together (!)

I was looking through my stacks of old used-up reduction blocks, and noticed a few of them that had images (in black, of course) that were more or less intact. I started wondering about pulling some Moku Hanga style prints off them, since the keyblock was already carved. I went ahead and pulled a bunch of prints off them, and I liked what I saw, so I took one (from a reduction print I ddid seeral years ago called Brook Trout Yin Yang) and took it through the process.

I found some nice clear maple (no cracks!), cut them to size (I decided to forgo any keneto this time) and got them ready.

I started out printing just black and white proofs. I then took a proof, cut it down to exact size, and transferred my image to the blocks. I then carved out the separate colors, starting with the Olive block:

A good sharp chisel makes carving short work:

I used one of the proofs as an AP to check the alignement of the color blocks as I carved them. I had a little excess on the red block that needed to be trimmed:

I carved and printed Yellow, Olive, and Red - black was already carved. Everything came along "swimmingly"

Because of the absence of kento marks, I knew registration was going to be an issue, but I think I worked out a great solution. I built a registration frame.

I glued a deep "L" of black foam core (blue arrows) to a piece of scrap, to serve as a paper rest. The piece of scrap is glued, along with another piece of scrap (red arrows), to a 1" sheet of plywood (green arrow) Each block will be fitted into the "L" these create, with the sheet of paper laid over them, fitted into the "L" of the foam core paper rest.

This is the one print I pulled today from the blocks, in order, without using the frame:

I've got the let the frame dry overnight, and I've got a couple more colors to carve and proof (gotta go see my cabinet maker friend for some more wood - I hear he's got some cherry for me...!!!), but otherwise, This is going to be a succesful experiment!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Progress on New Reduction print

After some consultation with some fellow printmakers on the WetCanvas forum, I decided to go ahead and repair the offending block that split on me.

I first forced as much Gorilla Glue into the crack as I could using a toothpick, clamped it, and spent the next hour wiping any excess glue that foamed out of the crack (as per instructions...):

The patch job held, and I was able to print two more colors, a darker blue, and a light purple:

Agfter washing and a bit of air-drying, I see another crack has opened up, near where the original is/was. Back to the Gorilla Glue and clamp.....

What a PITA! At least, judging by the 5 colors I've printed so far, I'm confident this is going to be a worthwhile print.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gray's Sporting Journal Fly Fishing Edition Cover

I got home this afternoon to find that a package of these had arrived:

such a deal!

I produced "Sun, Moon, Stars, Mayflies" several years ago, in an edition of 28; as of tonight, I have 0 left (!)

I've sold several, have gifted several to very special friends, and have donated a couple to the likes of the Kiap-TU-Wish chapter of Trout Unlimited. Since I produced this print using the reduction method of wood block printing, I cannot print anymore; I still have the block, but all that is left on it is the black outline. I may produce another similar print in the future (and as a matter of fact, the piece "Four Seasons" was inspired by this print) but this is it for this particular print.

I do not produce ink-jet reproductions (or giclee's) of my work (other than greeting cards - but that is another matter...), since I believe it would run counter-intuitive to my work of printmaking. With this in mind, it's always good to remind everyone that these are indeed truly, very limited editions in the most limited sense of the word!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Reduction disaster

midway through printing the first color of the latest reduction I started over the weekend, the plate developed a crack:

I think I'll be able to live with it, but I'm afraid it's getting bigger. And of course, washing it over and over will only make it worse. I'm debating on weather I should finish what's started and pry it apart, and then print two plates, or just leave it and see where it goes (it might be interesting...)

anyway, it's going to be a nice print, I think. Pretty inauspicious now, but with only two colors, I can't expect much.

I'm using Daniel Smith ink for the first time, and I think I like it - it rolls out nicely, has ample working time, mixes well and prints suprisingly easy with hand burnishing. I'm printing on 250gsm Ivory Revere paper; pretty thick for hand burnishing, but like I said, it's printing without any undue effort on my part.