03 June 2007

Progression Prints

progression n 1: a series with a definite pattern of advance

After not doing any woodblock work for nearly a month, I finally had a meltdown this past Thursday. I started raving about hating my illustration job, hating the fact that I spend all my creativity on projects that "end up on the bottom of the birdcage" (as a designer friend of mine likes to say), ranting about wanting to quit making images for other people so I can make my own images. My partner Lynn, bless her heart, suggested "why don't you take an afternoon off and do some printmaking?" She's very very smart.

So I had some fun this weekend with these two blocks:


(You can see my previous post about these blocks here.)

On Saturday I had about 6 hours set aside, so I prepared 15 sheets of paper (Rives Heavyweight) and did two simple impressions. I did a light whole-block print in yellow oxide and then added more yellow oxide with an egg-shaped stencil:


Added a little burnt siena to darken one edge of the egg:


And then some gray for texture:


I really liked it just like this, so I decided to call it a day and let the paper dry out. I wanted to see how much the colors would lighten once they dried and I also wanted to keep myself from marching forward when I might regret it later.


The next day (today) I still liked this print of the yellow egg just floating on the paper, so I pulled out 5 of them to keep and then re-wet the remaining 10 to keep experimenting with. Unfortunately, I got so involved in the process I forgot to take photos of each step, but this photo of the result incorporates 3 more impressions, another layer of gray, and then two impressions with the "Golden Egg" block:


Although I've been blogging my woodblock progressions for nearly two years, and I've loved the beauties as well as the trials of working with multiples, it has oddly enough never occurred to me before this weekend that I could stop in the middle of a print run and pull out a bunch to keep "as is" before going on to the next stage, to do a series that is a progression in itself. Moku hanga, with the gajillions of impressions required to make a print, is perfect for that approach.

I feel so much better now, having spent this weekend making some prints.


Anonymous said...

These are gorgeous! I'm so glad you took some time out to work (play). And I wonder where one might purchase one. :)

Nicole Raisin Stern said...

Annie, Glad you listened to Lynn! Your joy and relief to print is palpable. I really like the saffron color you added to the egg (it looks saffron on my screen).
Hmmm... How is it that a moku hanga print can be rewet without the water-based colors running?

peggy said...

The stand alone egg is beautiful. It has an old, ethereal quality that it at once mysterious and calming. I'll bravely join Jenn in wondering about a purchase- or perhaps an exchange?

Beth Zentzis said...

Suh..weet! Annie, thanks for airing the stuff about your frustration. I used to work commercially too (still do on occasion) and it can drain a person in a way that is difficult to convey. Good for Lynn for telling you to nurture that gift inside yourself. As my husband would say, she's a good egg.

Funny, when I viewed the original post about this print, what I mostly saw as the subject was the activity surrounding the woman's head, with the egg as point of origin. At least I thought the lines were to be an old woman's head. My grandmother wore her hair sort of like that, with a bun on top (made up of a very, very long braid). The egg alone though is very powerful. Love it. I myself feel that eggs, and birds in general for that matter, have deep, greater significance in this life than most humans take the time to appreciate.

Beautiful work. Just beautiful.

I'm wondering how you achieved that gray texture...

Cin said...

quite a wonderful print Annie, I love the textures and patterns, they bring to mind so many associations that make this so special to view, glad you finally got to work on it, yay Lynn!

Sue said...

Oh wow, what a good afternoon's work! I adore the colours and textures. Give Lynne a pat on the back from me for knowing how to lift your angst. :-)

Annie B said...

Thanks so much for the comments everyone. So Jenn & Peggy, I'm hearing that maybe I need to open an Etsy shop! Meanwhile, feel free to email me (annie AT anniebissett.com) if you don't want to wait for me to do that...

Nicole, I don't know the science of it but it's true that the pigments don't bleed or run in moku hanga even when you re-wet them. In fact, the prints can be stacked on top of one another fresh off the printing block with no color transfer at all. I think it's because the ink sinks into the paper fibers and dyes them rather than sitting on the surface of the paper.

Beth, I expect that the woman's head will appear in subsequent prints. I'm experimenting with allowing myself to print without knowing exactly what I'm going to do beforehand. As for the gray texture, it's just a really rough bokashi - no paste, lots of water and very little pressure from the baren. And I agree with you about eggs!

Cin and Sue, Lynn sends her thanks for the recognition. Sometimes we artist types can be tough to handle, I think.

Andy English said...

I'm glad that you set aside that time for printmaking and love the way this image is progressing. I have - on a few occasions - been so pleased with an early state that I have made a small separate edition - usually given as gifts or salted away in the archive.

Looking forwards to the next installment...

peggy said...

Annie, For what it's worth, neither Yahoo nor Google would allow me to send to your email address. Is there an arror on my end or yours?

Annie B said...

Hi Peggy,
Sorry, I probably confused you by spelling out the @ symbol (to avoid unnecessary spam). Alternately, go to my website www.anniebissett.com and click the email address in the upper right corner of the page.

peggy said...

The @ symbol isn't the problem. I even triple checked the spelling of your address. I don't know what gives. If you wish to try contacting me: peggykoenig AT gmail.com