Wednesday, March 19, 2014

That's a Different Print, Right?

Mergansers and Grebes on Schuylkill River. First State of Multi-block Reduction Woodcut on good paper by Ken Januski.

I debated showing this and I might very well be sorry that I did once I try to incorporate it into the mergansers and grebes print. Yes this is part of the same print. Not only that but this is printed on the good paper, not proofing paper. There's no going back now.

All along I've wanted to break up the traditional pictorial space. This is nothing new of course since it's been going on for at least 100 years since Cubism or perhaps earlier. But I just felt like I needed to do something to get to a different type of bird/wildlife art, at least a different type for myself.

It's not unusual to see abstraction in bird sculpture but it seems pretty rare in bird painting. The only artists I know that seem comfortable with it, or at least with trying it, are British.

I've debated doing something like this for quite awhile. In fact I've started off paintings abstractly only to veer back toward realism at the end. But that can't very well happen here.

So in the coming days I'll start printing the two other blocks on top of this. Though it probably doesn't look it there is some rhyme and reason to these shapes, their color and their location. The orange triangle should intersect the bill of the female Common Mergansers. The small yellow square at top left should intersect the bill of the Red-necked Grebe. The two browns should intersect the neck and head of the female Common Merganser and the neck of the Red-necked Grebe.

Since they are printed first they'll go under the two other blocks with their separate shapes and colors. But I may feel the need to print all of these shapes, some of these shapes, or just parts of some shapes on top of the colors from the next two blocks if I don't like what I get.

This is truly improvisatory. Many printmakers, again primarily British when it comes to bird art, use monotypes as their main outlet for improvisation. And surely you can get improvisation that way. But you also get just one print, the mono of monoprint. I'd like to get more than one print. In fact I'd like an edition of prints that still is largely improvisatory.

It will be a great surprise when I start printing the other colors. And I think it's more likely that I'll fail than that I'll succeed. But it's something that I've felt  I needed to try for a long time. We'll see what happens.

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