Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ending the Proofing, Previewing 'The Natural Eye'

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

I'm down to two proofs now. That is the number of test proofs I have left in order to continue to proof as I finish off this two-block reduction woodcut of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Turkey Vulture along the Manayunk Canal, seen about a month ago.

For anyone unfamiliar with reduction prints the photo below might be illuminating. As I print each color I either carve it away so that it can't be printed or proofed again, or I cover it with another color. In any case once a color is done it is completely done. So above I printed the yellow first. But at this point there is no way to print it again. If you look below, at the left side since it prints in reverse, you can see that there is almost no wood left. It's all been carved away. You can see the few raised aras where I printed the newest rose color.

When I start such a print I begin by printing numerous proofs. So for instance I started off with between 16 and 24 proofs of the yellow. As I experimented with other colors I proofed them, When I printed a configuration I was happy with I proofed the remaining proofs in the new configuration. But each failed experiment, or experiment I decided against, is a proof that can't be continued since it no longer looks like the print. The number of proofs gets smaller and smaller as I go on. Now I'm down to just two!! That means that if I decide to keep the rose color above and print as is I'll still only have two proofs left to test the final black color and any other last minute changes I'd like to add. Those will be minimal at best because as you see below there's almost no wood left to print on the color block below.

Color Woodblock of Two-block Woodcut Blocks. Photo by Ken Januski.

Nonetheless I'm happy with this. It will change a bit from the proof at top in that I'll print black on top of the new rose color rather than the opposite as I did at top. I only did that because I'm so low on proofs and I knew that the rose area was so small that I could proof this way and still get a good idea of the final results.

In many ways the rose is the most important area of print. All along, ages ago when I started this I hoped that the rose of vulture's head and honeysuckle would unite the print. And yet I couldn't print them until near the end since they were such small areas. So all along I haven't been able to test what they might look like. I just had to hope they'd look okay when I finally got to this stage. And I think that they do.

Something else looks okay, maybe even better than okay. That is the online gallery of much of the work, including my own of the 52nd annual exhibit of the Society of Wildlife Artists, The Natural Eye -2015. If you scroll down to middle of page to the 'Featured Artwork' section you can see 10 pages worth of fantastic art that will be in the show. My own work is on the fourth page.

I'm sure any readers that continue to read this blog realize that I often spend time flogging the dead horse of much wildlife art, especially that based on photos. As a positive answer to those who disagree I always point to this show, a fine example of vibrant, lively wildlife art!

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