Sunday, December 21, 2014

Finished Chickadee Woodcut, After Cold and Gray CBC

Carolina Chickadee. Multi-block Reduction Woodcut (Full Version) by Ken Januski.

A fuller day than I expected on Friday prevented me finishing the Carolina Chickadee on Friday as I'd hoped. Saturday was the Wyncote Audubon Christmas Bird Count so I knew I'd have no time then. And I didn't. We started birding at the house at 7:00 A.M., walked about six miles along Manayunk Canal, at Andorra Nature Center and at Pastorius Park, and then did some final birding before it got dark at home around 4:30 P.M. I didn't want to risk the entire print by trying to work on it after such a long day.

One of the last changes I'd made before Friday was the addition of a small bit of wood putty to try to regain a very small section of wood that I wanted back. I've now learned that this rarely makes sense for me as long as I work at such a small scale. For larger pieces the wood repairs might be large enough that I could carve them like fresh wood. But in my recent forays on a small scale I've not been pleased with the results.

So early this morning I carved those areas a bit, proofed and then printed. Minor smudges ended up on more prints than I was happy with but I did finish printing the edition. It will be 24 minus six or more that I'll make Trial Proofs. Above is the full version, 7x9 inches on Rives Heavyweight paper. Below is just the image itself, 4x6 inches.

Carolina Chickadee. Multi-block Reduction Woodcut (Cropped Version) by Ken Januski.

As usual I often end a print thinking about all the mistakes I've made and lessons I've learned for future prints rather than just enjoying the one I've finished. Though there are some problems with this print, more technical, e.g. the wood putty, than anything else my guess is that by tomorrow I'll be quite happy with the print.

I made it in a hurry, more as a holiday greeting print than as a finished print. But once I got started on it my artistic preferences kicked in and I tried to make it a work of art, with all the time and effort that this often entails. It's a good thing that I remembered it was a holiday gift with a deadline. So I finally had to forget about artistic improvements I'd like to make.

It's always been intended as a somewhat rough, somewhat primitive print. Though it may have had its origins in a photo, no one will mistake it for a photo. And that's just the way I like it!

As for the Christmas Bird Count we really saw no special birds. The only raptors we saw were a couple of Red-tailed Hawks, and a lonely Black Vulture. Who could expect a full day without at least one Turkey Vulture? The only thrush we saw was an American Robin, in our own yard before we took off. We saw no Eastern Bluebirds at Andorra Natural Area where we often see them this time of year.

But we did see our first Pied-billed Grebe in a few weeks in the Schuylkill River just north of Flat Rock Dam and the Manayunk Canal. Flying in that same area, and landing only briefly, were four male Common Mergansers. These two species might have been the highlight of the day.

Today it's bright and sunny, quite a contrast to yesterday. We'd probably see far more birds today. But the count was scheduled for yesterday. If it had been scheduled for today then yesterday probably would have been the sunny day. Regardless we always enjoy the chance to be out in winter seeing and counting birds. More counts will soon be here as 2015 arrives so we're looking forward to seeing more birds on those counts.

What prints are not given away will be up for sale on my Etsy store in a day or so.

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