21 April 2011
A lot of my work in the past couple of years has been very carving-driven, and thus very time-consuming. Sometimes I just want to do something simple and fast and loose, so last week I cut some simple little blocks with the idea that I would just play around with them and see what happens. I didn't have any small blocks, though, so I used a larger piece of shina that I had left over from another project and blocked out four 5" x 7"image areas. I transferred a simple sketch of a bottle onto two of the images and cut one negative and one positive. Then I cut a 5" x 7" area with no carving at all.
Yesterday I did the first group of experiments. I ended up using just two of the blocks, the plain one and the positive version of the bottle (the 2 on the left in the photo above. Here's what happened.
This is a photo after the first two impressions. First I inked the plain block with blue, using a good deal of paste, and I used a cloth to wipe away ink to make the "clouds." Then I used a pale wash of sumi ink to begin to define the bottle shape.
Here are two of the prints with another couple of layers added. I did another layer of ink on top of the gray of the bottle, this time with a pale yellow-brown. Then I added some red ink. I varied the application of the red on each print, just to explore what kinds of effects were possible.
I tried the technique of "transfer drawing" too. Also called trace monotype, this is a direct-drawing printmaking technique where the paper is placed on an inked plate and an image is drawn on the back of the paper, picking up the ink on the other side. It seemed to work with the Guerra pigments I use.
In all, I made 12 of these small studies.
Tomorrow I plan to start all over with the same blocks and do something entirely different. It feels good to play loose like this.