My friend Tom left an excellent suggestion in the last post about somehow adjusting the light sources on the human figure. I often ignore Tom's excellent suggestions, as I'm very stubborn, but he graciously continues to offer them. Today I tried darkening the shadow on the right side of the figure and I think it makes the print even stronger. Thanks, Tom.
28 April 2006
Here's the final version of the Let Go print. The prints are drying now, so I haven't culled them yet, but I think it will be a variable edition of somewhere between 8 and 10 prints. The paper is Echizen Kozo, which I've been using for several months. This print feels like a big turning point for me. Visually it's different from my previous prints and the process, too, was different. Instead of "building" the picture from various pieces of color on the carved blocks, I worked on this more like a monoprint. I painted on the block using several types of brushes, not just the traditional maru bake, and I sometimes applied more than one color to the block for one impression. I let myself be much more experimental, sometimes letting the paper get dryer, sometimes adding moisture, and overall I felt more confident about following my whims. And, most wondrous of all, I even abandoned my original idea. Even though I had already cut the blocks! But not before I quickly printed it up, to be sure that was what I wanted to do. Just so you can see how far astray I wandered, here's what the abandoned plan looked like:
This print celebrates my 1-year anniversary as a woodblock printer. Many more years to come, I hope.
27 April 2006
I decided not to add the layer of clouds, as I've become much too interested in this texture. I also decided to add a little red and white striped costume to the figure, so above shows two more impressions: (1) a field of gray to shade the right side of the suit and (2) the red stripes over the gray. Then I tried a blue bokashi across the top:
Kind of moody, and I like it.
26 April 2006
Here's how the "Let Go" print looks now, with a layer of yellow/gold overprinted. I like this effect a lot. Now I'm at a crucial point where I need to decide if I should follow my original plan (see sketch posted on April 20) or go in a new direction. This is a point I've reached in the past and have found myself not able or willing to deviate from the plan. I hope this time I'll be able to do it: Let go!
24 April 2006
I carved a couple of blocks for my "Letting Go" print over the weekend and today I started printing. I've been wanting to discover ways to get more texture in my prints, so I've tried putting this layer of gray down first. I'm working a small batch, just 16 sheets of paper, and I did this first pass with no paste, lots of water, and the paper only barely damp. Obviously this will be a variable edition, with each print being unique. Here's a closer view:
And here's a print with some strong baren suji (marks left by the baren):
This is pretty strong gray and it's quite possible I'm just going to end up with a muddy mess, but I'll never know unless I try it.
20 April 2006
I just pasted this sketch onto a couple of boards, a new addition to the "rope" series. This one is called "Let Go." My goal with this print is to experiment with getting a more painterly effect in the background. I want to try to use the wood almost the way one uses an acrylic plate when doing a monotype, working the pigments on the board. I don't know if that's even possible. Maybe the wood is too thirsty and will soak up the paint too much to get the effects I'm imagining, but that's what I plan to play with this time.