31 March 2007

Sometimes Prints Go Wrong

Last Layer

Taking this long break in the middle of a print has been intensely unsatisfying. There's nothing I can do about it -- have to work when the work is there -- but losing the momentum is frustrating. Since I've made the commitment to doing this step-by-step I'll show you the final unsatisfactory piece. I had one more block left, the "water" block. I wanted a color that would be watery, but different than the ice. I usually do preliminary color sketches digitally, by scanning my paper sketch and trying out colors in Photoshop. In this case I had chosen a green for the water and I thought I liked it, so I printed the whole stack in green. I even added a bokashi to the bottom. (The photo above shows the block with water and paste on it ready for pigment for the bokashi.)


Then I hated it. This happens sometimes. I wanted the colors to be kind of garish, but these colors are just ugly and too happy-feeling for the occasion.

What will I do? I'll wait until I cool down a little and then I'll print the blocks over again. No point in showing you the whole process again -- it will be about the same! But I'll show you the new version.

I'll also show you how to clean the maru bake brushes:


The wooden handle should not be soaked, as it's apt to crack, so the way I clean the brush is to fill a shallow pan with water about an inch high and swish the bristles against the bottom of the pan. Keep adding new water and repeat the action until the water runs clear. Then rub the bristles on a towel and dry them hanging or with the bristles facing down. Perhaps you notice that I'm wearing pajamas in this photo. That's because I often work at night when I really should be in bed.


peggy koenig said...

As an old intaglio (and new relief) type printer, I can sympathise with your not liking the finished print. Frustrating, but it happens sometimes. And you may be only one who does see it as a failure. A lovely print/image all the same. Thank you for sharing the process.

Amanda said...

I too, can certainly relate to not being happy with the end result, and I look forward to seeing what you do instead. While the colours jump out at you at first, I do like them.
As for pyjamas - i can relate there too - I often work in them because it would take too much energy to shower and dress - energy I could put into art-making!!

Ellen Shipley said...

Well I don't find it ugly at all, but it's your vision you have to satisfy. ;-]

Diane Cutter said...

Annie... I think ugly must be in the eyes of the beholder because I agree with the others that the colors work very well. I'll be interested in what you decide on...

For me the green has a cool, icy feel and the yellow that warm sun sensation.

Anonymous said...

I do love the image, the iceberg is really great. However, I think you're right about the colours at this stage. The yellow is too flat and lemony, for my taste. I think though that you could redeem it by doing a bokashi over the sky, maybe in orange, just to vary it. Also if you brought some dark blue into the green water it would take away some of the "french mint" quality...
I hope you can rework it so you are happier.

Nicole Raisin Stern said...

I loved washing my shodo no fude (calligraphy brushes) after my shodo classes in Kyoto, watching the black black sumi ink gradually getting greyer and then clear as the freezing cold water trickled over the bristles. Then entering the tatami room again, through the fusuma, to wrap up my brushes.