Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Humming Along

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth at Flower. Woodcut proof by Ken Januski
Hummingbird Clearwing Moth at Flower. Linocut/Woodcut proof by Ken Januski.

It's been the summer of hummers, 99% of them Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the backyard. The other 1% have been Ruby-throats out in the wild and just once, this Hummingbird Clearwing Moth. Only today did I take the time to pull out my moth guide and figure out exactly what species this moth was. An online search earlier seemed to be a but murky since it seems like a number of things are called Hummingbird Moths. In any case this is a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth, and it was sipping nectar from deeply tubed flowers just as it was supposed to.

The top image above is stage two of the woodblock portion of this print. I first printed it in a greenish blue, then just now added a dark brown for part of the body and wings of the moth.

Below it is a proof with the black lino block printed on top of the first color attempted on the background woodblock. Though I liked it I decided that something a bit greener would be more appropriate. But I didn't want a blinding green either.

The top image is on good printmaking paper, in this case Rives Heavyweight. The total print is 7"x9" and the image itself 4"x6".

One thing I'm happy about here is that I did cleanup the flowers so that there is no color in there except the disk where I did want a hint of color. Tomorrow I'll try printing the black lino on top of this. If I like it I'm done. But I did notice that there's just a spot or two of yellow on the moth. It might be nice to try to add that. And then there is a slight lavender cast to the flowers........... Most likely I won't touch the flowers. But I'm a bit tempted to try to add a couple of yellow accents to the moth after I've printed the black. Time will tell. One last thing I'll need to do is decide on the hatched background in  the lino. I have the feeling that I might want to remove it but I won't know for sure until I proof with black ink.

It would be nice to include a hummingbird print. At least one has visited our backyard many times a day from late June on, staying primarily on the Monarda but also visiting the native Honeysuckle as well as Zinnias and other flowers. I actually used my old Lumix camera to take a short video of one, something I didn't even know I could do. But everyone has seen a million videos of hummingbirds. I'd instead like to spend my time getting good field sketches.

So far I've not been too successful on that front. They don't stay still long, unless they're perched. I fear that we'll have fewer sightings once the Monardas stop blooming, which will be any day. I guess I'd better get back outside....................

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