Friday, March 6, 2015

Proofing the Mergansers and Bufflehead

Common and Red-breasted Mergansers with Bufflehead at Flat Rock Dam. Early Proof of Two-block Woodcut by Ken Januski.

Though we've gotten about eight inches of snow over the last couple of days that has nothing to do with the slow progress of this woodcut. Instead I was waiting for the delivery of a 'economy' print-drying rack before I started printing on good paper. It arrived early this week but it took another day to get it put together.

I've always just laid the proofs, and prints, on whatever flat surface I could find. It's not an ideal method by any means but it has worked so far. But recently I needed to use a small rolling table I'd built a few years ago for the purpose of storing home-grown seedlings. Where was it? Underneath one of my main flat areas for drying prints. Since many of the seedlings are up I need that table and can no longer use it to dry prints. The solution: a print-drying rack. Since even the most basic ones cost many hundreds of dollars I had to opt for one that is geared for schools and very young students. It's not exactly professional looking but it seems to work.

This also got me thinking about reorganizing the large table I use for inking and printing. In the end I've spent a few days reorganizing my printing area as well as putting together the print-drying rack and so there's been a delay in continuing this print. But now the reorganization is done and yesterday's printing of the first color on Shin Torinoko paper went much more smoothly than normal.

The background color in the proof above is pretty much the same color as that which I've printed on the good paper. Today I proofed some orange for the bills of the mergansers and then proofed the black block on top of it once I thought the orange ink was dry.

As usual there are also sorts of blotches and uneven ink. But I don't care much. I'm really just trying to use the proofs as a guide as to what to do next on the actual print on the Shin Torinoko paper. I'm pretty happy with the orange, though I had to make it redder than I'd planned in order to stand out. The next step will be to print it on the good paper. After that it's a brown/maroon for the neck of the Red-breasted Merganser in the foreground and then onto a darker green for the water at top. on the other side of the dam.

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