Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Almost there...................

White-tailed Deer, Green Heron, Wood Ducks. Reduction woodcut/linocut Proof by Ken Januski.

I hadn't planned to end this so soon, but once I added this green today, actually a yellow with the smallest amount of blue, I was tempted. From the moment I started this, way back when as a monocolor print, it has often read as a moonlit scene with strong reflections in the water.

I think part of the reason for  that is the strong contrast that often comes about in woodcuts and linocuts. It just seems to happen naturally. But all along I've been a bit suspicious of it because I knew I saw this scene, or at least the various segments of it, in broad daylight. The scene was bright not dark.

Today it finally looks bright again. Perhaps it's too bright. I'll have to see if I'm still happy with it tomorrow. Or instead feel like I need to tone it down a bit.

For anyone who's interested this has been the sequence in developing this print:
1.One color linocut, printed in both black and brown. These were intended as standalone prints and finished a few weeks ago.
2.A new print that will include the first linocut. First step is a yellowish red color on a woodblock. This is the first color printed.
3.A second color, somewhat ochreish, also on the woodblock, printed on top of the first woodblock color.
4.Back to the linocut. A brown, still evident on the deer, heron and ducks and in some parts of the background.
5.More carving of the linocut, for instance to carve out the deer, so it doesn't get overprinted in another color. Then printing in a dark, blue, almost black, for parts of heron, duck, log on which it stands and much of the background.
6.Back to the woodcut - this time printing a yellow green to cover over much of the background and show up in the reflection in the water and in small highlights elsewhere.

Since as I discovered too late, there was a small discrepancy in size between the nominally identical woodblock and linoblock there were some minor registration problems. But since I never worry about exact registration in my printing it hasn't had much of an effect. Still there are a couple of areas where I would be happier if the blocks had actually been the exact same size. That may require one or two final tweaks.

To a certain extent I think I handle my color prints as though they were paintings. I keep fussing with them until the colors and shapes look right, often at the expense of realistic detail. I read in the Roger Tory Peterson essay mentioned the other day about how it's common for young artists to want to get every single detail in. Eventually though this becomes of less importance. For me what is most important is the combination of shape, color, texture, light, pattern in a striking and pleasing way. I want the scene to also be readable as a realistic scene, but just readable nothing more. Detail should always be at the service of the entire painting.

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