Sunday, August 21, 2011

More Printmaking

Onset by record-setting high temperatures, I've stayed mostly inside over the past few weeks. This was a good opportunity to try my hand at more printmaking.

For the next project, I wanted to make relief prints. This technique has always appealed to me for its simplicity and directness. Having seen a demonstration of color block printing, I wanted to try that method first.

I purchased a basic set or carving tools back in the fall, so I already had most of what I needed on hand to get started. For this picture, I decided to make the print as a woodcut.

The design I chose was in keeping with my usual subject material. The scene was a view of a marsh off of a bridge, so it wasn't practical to paint on location. I simplified the picture into masses of only four colors, and began to draw out the design.

With this style of printmaking, separate blocks need to be carved for each layer of color. I would need to carve four blocks in total.

The first plate I carved was my black, or "key" plate. This is the basic design, minus the color. It will be printed last. The purple areas, are from wood that has been stained with some pen ink. This allows me to better see the areas that I have carved.

The finished key block, already covered in black ink. I'm going to test print (proof) this print to see how it looks.

And the result. The final image is always a reverse of the block. This was printed on light Japanese paper.

The next block is a complex layer of clouds and water reflections, colored a deep blue. The wood block was overlaid with a clear piece of plastic containing the design. I will trace the outline as best I can onto the wood before I carve this layer.

The finished blue plate is pictured, along with another plate meant to be part of the sky. Both plates are inked and ready to proof.

This proof shows the three plates combined together. I will still need to finish and proof one more plate, get some better paper, and work on my technique. Right now the prints are too splotchy. Once these issues have been worked out, I can think about doing a run of final prints.