Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winter Wren Lino

Above is something close to the last proof of a new Winter Wren lino. After seeing them on the Christmas Bird Count last weekend and doing a small watercolor based on field sketch I decided that a lino might make a good holiday greeting card.

I'm anxious to get back to my reduction lino of the Green Heron but sometimes it pays to be patient and let things sit. So I decided  to start this lino yesterday. As you can see it's simpler than normal for me. If I do anything more it will most likely be further simplification.

Before I began I did some leaf studies based on photos I've taken over the years, photos taken specifically for this purpose. Sometimes planning pays off! So above is a sheet of ballpoint pen sketches. I knew I wouldn't use them exactly as is but I was hoping that I'd gain some knowledge of the structure of various leaves that would help me in the print.

Finally I needed to figure out just how the composition would work. Above are two studies. The print is based on the lower one though it has changed along the way.

If I'm lucky I'll finish the proofing and perhaps print an edition  tomorrow, much earlier than my usual schedule for the holidays. Normally I'm mailing these off on December 24th.


Ellen Snyder said...

Hi Ken,

As always, I love your lino cuts. I was wondering about this latest one. We are seeing Carolina wrens more regularly up this way, and in winter too -- one recently came to the feeder. The winter wren remains more secretive and I rarely see it in winter, despite its name! I mention this, as your lino cut looks more like the Carolina wren that I saw -- with a longer tail and the white eye stripe. Regardless, it is beautiful.


Ken Januski said...

Hi Ellen,

Sharp eyes! One problem with lino is that it's difficult to get gradations of color or shade. So the eye stripe really should not be quite so strong. But I was reluctant to make it much darker for fear of making it disappear entirely. So I left it like this and for someone who really knows wrens it's whiter than it should be.

The tail was more of an accident. I needed to make a change and all of a sudden it got stretched out a bit as a consequence. I was hoping it wouldn't be noticeable but I see it is!!

We've seen more Winter Wrens this year than ever. I think part of that is just getting used to looking for them and knowing where they'll be, and of course hearing their calls and songs.

One thing that always stands out is how they disappear in the leaves like mice. I was hoping that the large leaves here might help to indicate that.

We are lucky enough to see Carolinas frequently including one on our feeder occasionally. One thing that my wife noticed and I didn't is that the bill of the Winter is much straighter than that of the Carolina. So I had to force myself not to put in the curved bill I'm so used to seeing on wrens.

Hope you see more of each, though if you're seeing Carolinas that might be a bad sign weather wise! Have a happy holiday season.

Ellen Snyder said...

Hi Ken,

You've captured the habitat well for the winter wren and I appreciate the subtleties or lack thereof with lino cut. I still love the cuts. And your finished product looks great (in your next post).