Friday, March 21, 2014

Regaining, Temporarily, Some Black and White Contrast

Mergansers and Grebes on the Schuylkill River. Proof state of Multi-block Woodcut by Ken Januski.

Way back in the beginning when I started this there was a fair amount of black and white contrast. That was partially because I was using black ink on a more or less white paper. But it also was because three of the four subjects had a large amount of black and white contrast in themselves.

Most noticeable is the male Common Merganser, a study in black and white if there ever was one. Less strong but still there is the upper head of the Red-necked Grebe in contrast with the white of parts of the neck.  And stretching it just a wee bit is the dark gray/brown/black of the Pied-billed Grebe contrasting with the white of the bill and eye ring.

That contrast disappeared once I printed the gray blue color yesterday. I still have one more color, for the rest of the water, to print before I print the black on top of everything. But I'd like to get a hint as to what the black will look like before I print the second color of the water.

So this is a proof of the black block on some proofs of the print as of yesterday. As I ponder it I'll make a decision about what color to choose for the remaining water. The print will never ever look just like this in its final state. But it will help me decide on the final state. Once the black of the water is replaced by a new color, possibly an olive green, the black and white contrast of the birds should stand out more strongly. And of course I'll need to do a bit of cutting away of the black on the female Common Merganser so show her handsome chestnut head and neck.

To repeat myself from yesterday I still like the way this is going. And now it hardly even looks experimental, at least to my unbiased eye.


anna malcom said...

I like how the bold blue-grey zigzag draws your eyes into the print. It also adds depth to the composition. I guess I had a hard time imagining how the color block would be translated into the print, but I think I'm starting to see it. I look forward to see what happens next.

Ken Januski said...

Thanks Anna. I have to confess I wasn't sure how the color block would work with the other two blocks either. But I decided I just had to give it a try.

Thankfully it's worked out much better than I could have anticipated. Of course now comes the hard part: finishing it without ruining it. I debated showing all the steps but since it was so odd I thought maybe some readers would enjoy seeing the entire process.

If I continue in this manner I'm sure I'll stop showing all the steps along the way.

Priti said...

Very beautiful Art, Ken :)