21 April 2010
The Cloud of Unknowing
Today I printed the first background layers for my print of Pilgrim lovers John Alexander and Thomas Roberts. Above is a closeup of the first carving stage for a cloud at the top of the print. I wanted to reproduce the crosshatching look of 17th century wood engraving without actually engraving, so I just criss-crossed freehand with a v-gouge. After I took the photo above I went back in and widened the cuts, leaving little diamond shapes that will print.
The cloud is on the same block as the full background, but I found that the cloud and the background required very different treatments to print the way I wanted them to print, so I printed just the cloud first. I bought a cool little bamboo burnisher at the SGC Philadelphia conference, and I found it was perfect for bringing out the details of the cloud.
The burnisher has a comfortable groove for the thumb -- I love it!
Above is the cloud printed in a deep red oxide.
Then I did a sloppy printing of the background with paler red oxide and some streaks of blue. I wanted some messy texture that I'll then overprint with some smoother layers. I got that sort of glow around the cloud by using a whole lot of water in that area.