Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mergansers and Grebes - Day Two, Block Two

Mergansers and Grebe on Schuylkill River. State Three of Multi-block Reduction Woodcut by Ken Januski.

It may not look like it but there are two separate woodblocks used on this print, well actually both sides of one woodblock, which is effectively two woodblocks. The colors at the moment are too close to one another, black and slate blue/gray. Now that I see what it looks like I know that I'll need to lighten up the slate blue/gray.

I want at least two colors in the water. One, a new lighter gray, will also serve as part of the plumage of both grebes. As I determine how these two blocks interact I'll change each of them. At the moment I've printed the black of the first woodblock on top of the slate blue/gray of the second block. But I need to cut away more of the black so that more of the new improved gray will eventually show through.

There is still the red of the female Common Merganser head and the yellow of the Red-necked Grebe bill to contend with. And most likely I'll try to break the picture plane by adding a second color in the water that makes a zigzag from back to front out towards the viewer. That is my intent. If it works as planned it will take away much possibility of this being read as realistic. That at least is my goal.

As I said in the last post I would like this to look like the 20th and 21st century have actually taken place, at least part of the 21st century, and that I'm not completely blind to them. In a way I hate to do this because it takes liberties with the birds and with realistic space among other things. But sometimes you just have to try something new.

Stuart Davis was an old hero of mine when I was an abstract painter and I always envisioned myself doing something similar to him when I turned from abstraction to birds. But I think that if I were to try something similar I'd feel that the resulting print too drastically flattened space and veered a little too close to decoration. So I'm going to try to avoid it and see if I can get some kind of compromise. Time will tell.

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