Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Linocut in Progress: Where were we?

Apparently there were 6 layers of blue on this snow scene linocut when I left for parts east at the beginning of July.

As a reminder, here's where things stood when I shut the door on the studio:

Step 6 recap

With almost two months to hang on the rack undisturbed, all of the prints-in-progress were of course quite dry. I was marginally worried about this, as it's possible to have adhesion problems when previous ink layers are TOO dry ("dry rejection"). I added a small amount of Setswell compound to a bit of the last purple-blue ink I'd saved from June (!!!), added a little bit of black, mooshed it all in to some additional transparent base, et voila:

Step 7

Everything went so smoothly that I tried to go ahead and print another color yesterday. The results were less than perfect, so rather than carry on and risk trashing too many prints, I cleaned everything up and went to bed. Or tried to go to bed. I'd had a weird craving for iced coffee in the afternoon, which I indulged and then regretted. There are reasons I don't drink much caffeine.

This morning I indulged not in iced coffee but in "pajama printing," which I haven't done in ages. I rolled out of bed, threw my apron on over my pjs and set to work.

It was all more challenging than I expected! Like a scene from some warped version of The Three Bears, the first color I mixed was too dark, the second too light. However, Goldilocks did not strike printmaking "just right-ness" on the third try, either. Nor on the fourth. I trashed several prints and did a lot of scraping and stripping and reprinting before I finally settled on this:

Step 8
The differences might be hard to identify at first, but look in the middle distance. The tree trunks are now in front of the snow bank, and there's a slightly darker bit even further back.

Now I think it's finally time to be done with blues, hooray! The next step might be the "ugly duckling" stage, as I will have to lighten up most of the tree trunks before adding more darks. In all I think it's coming along okay... and I'm hoping to be finished with it by next week. I need a brand-spankin'-new piece for a September 1 deadline, and this is (hopefully) going to be it!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Back to Colorado, back to work!

It's been about a week since I returned from Maine to Colorado. The journey itself was epic, as I ended up being awake and in motion for about 36 hours straight. Ooph. My last flight reached Denver just before 1:00am local time (so 3:00 am by my east-coast-regulated internal clock) and there was still the 3-plus-hour drive through the mountains to go!

Luckily I had a friend willing to drive my car from Salida to Denver at that hour and we made the trip back through the mountains without mishap. My one consolation for all this late-night travel? We made the drive accompanied by the peak of the Perseid meteor showers! Once we cleared the light pollution of the Front Range, the sky was clear and the moon had set.  We stopped for about 20 minutes or so at the top of 10,000-foot Kenosha Pass... amused to find almost two dozen cars already there. (You have to understand that Kenosha Pass is probably 90 minutes from Denver and at the top of South Park... the gateway to a whole lot o' nothin'. It took some effort for folks to get up there.)

I wish I had some nice photos to show you... but hey! It was DARK!

We pulled in to Salida and I unloaded the car just as the sun came up, and then of course I found myself unable to go to sleep. So I just stayed up. Went to the grocery store at 6:00 am. Refueled the car. Started the laundry. Tackled all the little things that need to be done when you've been away for a long time.

And then it was back to the studio STAT! I had another workshop to prep for AND the deadline for Project Postcard at the Woodson Art Museum was fast approaching. Linoleum crumbs were hitting the table almost before my socks were out of the dryer.

I finished two small hand-painted linos and got them shipped to Wisconsin, but since the images for Project Postcard (which takes place during the opening weekend of the Birds in Art exhibition) are supposed to be secret, this is all I can show you until mid-September:

With that task accomplished I tackled the prep for a day-long Illustrated Journal workshop at the Rocky Mountain Land Library's Buffalo Peaks Ranch. It seemed reasonable that preparations for such a workshop should include doing my own journal entry, so I spent some time with all the "weeds" that are blooming in the construction site next door. I haven't managed to sort out their names yet, but here are the brave flora holding their ground amidst chaos:

Embiggenable with a click

The workshop was yesterday, starting with a chilly and overcast morning that quickly gave way to blue skies and perfect temps. By the time I headed home the wind was up and the rain began just as I pulled back in to Salida. In all it was a perfect Colorado summer day: A little bit of many kinds of weather... and sketchbooks.

Clouds and cloud shadows over Buffalo Peaks Ranch

This week it's back to work on the snow scene linocut that I started in June, a show application, a show DEADLINE, and hopefully a day afield with the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas. (More sketchbook... yay!) I need to balance my urge to cram as much summer as possible into these last days of August with my need to address the looming deadlines... not so easy when I want to be everywhere at once.