Monday, September 28, 2015

Continuing On, With Savannah Sparrow and Woodcut

Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Turkey Vulture, Two-block Reduction Woodcut Proof by Ken Januski.

Continuing on with the Work In Progess theme above you see the latest proof of the two-block reduction woodcut. I've added a blue to the color side of block, then printed the black block on top. I'll most likely carve away the black that overprints the blue, except for the Turkey Vulture, and let the blue show through. I may also add a second smaller blue area.  At the moment the black still overprints most of the green in the lower middle and left. Most likely I'll carve away more of that too but that decision is on the back burner.

After that I need/plan to add some red/orange/pink for the trumpet honeysuckle and Turkey Vulture head. Then I'll print the black on top and see what it looks like. Based on past experience I'll still be tempted to do more tweaking after that. I want the black to look integral to print, not some outline that is just plopped down as the last step.

Savannah Sparrows at Dixon Meadow Preserve. Watercolor by Ken Januski.

I did finally wade in watercolor on the pencil sketch of Savannah Warblers. This is based on a photo, and as so often happens with photos, it's easy to let the photo dictate too many decisions. In this case I stuck with the rosefish color of the railing at the preserve. Because of that the reflected areas on birds are more rose-colored than anything else. This gives an odd overall color to the watercolor. And perhaps the background could use a bit more definition. After the fact there always seem to be a million things that could be done to improve a watercolor. But almost inevitably, except in the hand of a master, they'll just deaden the watercolor. So this one is done.

Brayers, Baren, Ink Knife, Ink, Inking Plate. Photo by Ken Januski.

I was asked on Facebook to explain the tools and methods I use in my woodcut prints. So I'm adding those photos here. The ink is rolled on with brayers. Three of my cheaper ones are at top. I use a better one for the real print. They, an inking knife, a barren for rubbing the paper onto the block to transfer ink to paper, some ink and a glass inking slab are pictured above.

Old Linoleum Blocks. Photo by Ken Januski.

I mistakenly took a photo of old linoleum blocks rather than old wood blocks, but the photo above still gives a general idea. The brushes are for acrylic painting and have nothing to do with printmaking. They were just there, with nowhere else to put them.

Carving Knives. Photo by Ken Januski.
And finally my carving knives. All of those pictured above are Japanese. They are more expensive than some other carving knives and chisels but often you do yourself a favor when buying good tools. They are easier to use and often last a lifetime. Oddly enough the first one I bought was centuries ago, I believe in Berkeley, when I wasn't even doing woodblock printing. So I'm not sure why I bought it, especially as the cost would have been very high to me then. But I'm glad I did.

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