Monday, October 25, 2010

End of the Day fini

I didn't get down to my favorite trout stream this year;

not once, not at all.

Which, of course, is a shame. What ever pressing errand that stood in the way this summer, whatever seemingly important, dire event that took place, preventing a visit, is of course now forgotten.

My best days trout fishing have been spent here. A tiny little creek, flowing through an improbable valley of farms, lies like a dream on the edge of the landscape. Wading slowly up through it's crystal clear, icy cold water, ducking around and through the thick vegetation, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that just over there, with-in a stone's throw of where I'm wading, lies it's potential doom: industrial agriculture lies unchecked along her banks like a bullying thug, ready and willing to foul her waters with a vindictiveness that exceeds mere greed.

I finally finished this latest reduction woodcut. It's been a trial of patience, a battle of wills, a real SOB and PITA the moment I started on it. Looking back, I had problems with mixing the correct colors, and the block cracked not just once, but twice. I had almost completely given up on the print and wrote it off, but then I got the new press up and running, and decided to finish it off. It's not my favorite, by far, but I'm satisfied with it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Printing with the new Dikerson Combination Press

About a month ago, I got a call from my Printmaking Professor from UWRF, Mary Barret. I hadn't seen Mary in at least 20 years, so I was happy, if not a bit baffled, with the call. She indicated to me that she was shutting down her studio in downtown St. Paul, and if I was interested in her press, an electric Dikerson Combination Press. I of course said certainly, but at the same time silently wondered just how I was going to pay for something like a full sized printing press. Mary then explained that she was giving it to me, because she knew I'd put it to use.

Well, what can a person say to that, other than "Thank you!"?

So, in the spirit of putting the new-to-me Dikerson (it's actually as old as I am...) to good use, I took up where I had left off on my latest reduction print. Interesting enough, this print has given me nothing but fits of frustration ever since I started it, including a cracked block. This happened not once, but twice. I "solved" the problem by gluing another block onto the back (Thanks to my friend Vince), but now have a double-thick, double heavy printing block. I was seriously thinking about throwing the towel in on it completely.

The press has made the whole process a whole site easier, letting me concentrate my efforts on getting the colours I want and on carving the tiny details of the foliage surrounding the fisherman. here's a short video I shot this morning, showing the steps in printing:

Like I said, the press makes things sooo much easier. A couple more colour layers, and we'll be good to go. So far, so good: