Sunday, January 29, 2012

Morning on the Paint - a long time coming

I finished this one up today.

I was fishing with Joe, Grizz and Todd on the Paint a few years ago. It was the first time in recent memory for me fishing in the UP, and we were fishing to especially fussy brookies during an early morning trico hatch. I think I might have caught one or two (where I should have caught dozens), and so it was an especially frustrating morning. I had hung it up for awhile, maybe even sat down on a rock midstream to watch my friends downstream do their own fishing, when someone nodded to me in that way that made me turn and look upstream. There was a whitetail doe, cautiously picking her way along the bank, not far away.

I started a print of the scene immediately that fall, but as I worked my way through the blocks, something was lost, and I eventually put them away. From time to time over the next couple of years I'd pick them back up and try something new: a new paper, a different color, etc, always putting them aside and working on something else.

I picked them up again a couple weeks ago, and the answer was obvious: what the blocks needed was just a little bit more carving and just one or two additional color layers.

Here's a proof of one of the last runs I did:

You can see where I drew in a line of birch trees to cut out and a line of grass to add. I also printed it on brighter paper and adjusted the colors a bit.

Here's the finished print again:

Monday, January 23, 2012

It's been awhile - New Print!

I haven't taken time to post anything since August. That doesn't mean that I've not been working, though; it's just been extremely hectic late summer/fall/winter.

I've been working on a couple different prints this winter, with the goal of combining what I've been doing with my reduction woodcuts with what I've learned about the moku hanga technique. The result(s) are prints that are as visually full of depth as before, but with the added versatility and aesthetic appeal of the traditional Japanese woodcut. At least, that's my own thoughts on the matter...

So here's the latest:

This is a 9 block moku hanga type woodblock print. I carved a new and different block for each color, starting from the lightest grey and ending with the black.

The technique is pretty straight forward - I used a master image to trace each color area onto an exactly sized piece of maple. I then carved each one out by hand with various shaped/sized gouges:

I apply the colors in the traditional manner, using a boar and deer hair brush. The ink I use is made by a company called Akua Kolor. My friends at Wet Paint have been my local source since stocking them last year.

There are a couple darker colors that were printed that I didn't record, but you get the point. These are artists proofs, printed on a relatively cheap paper. My task now is to decide on which, if any color layers I want to get rid of, and make final prints on good quality paper (which will change the appearance somewhat, usually to the better....)