Thursday, July 21, 2022

Mid-summer Printmaking

 I'm writing this in the midst of a summer heat wave. Looks like a week of 90 degree weather will run through the weekend, with occasional thunderstorms and high humidity. When it's this warm, I like to hunker down by the fan/AC, and catch up on indoor tasks!

Thanks to air conditioning I've been able to work on my latest print. This print is a re-do of of an older one using the same subject matter, but a little larger, and hopefully as well-liked as the first.

"Island Light" the original

First layer with a blend

Edition of 16 printed with the blend of inks

The block with first areas carved out

                                                                     Close up

                                                    Inking the plate with a light bluish gray

                                                              Second layer printed

I'm using Akua inks, a Soft-Kut block, and an Arches white acid-free paper for this edition. As I am printing without a press, it takes a lot of time and effort using a wooden spoon, to evenly adhere the ink to the paper.  For the next layer, I will first be cutting away the areas that I wish to remain this color, then printing again with a bit darker tone.

Stay cool! I'll update my progress on the new "Island Light".

Monday, June 6, 2022

Happy June!

 It's so wonderful to see the flowers blooming again, to hear the wrens trilling in the early morning, and to get out and enjoy the warm sunshine! Of course it's not all wonderful, with the black flies buzzing around one's head in the garden, and the woodchucks popping by to nibble the perennials, but overall it's still glorious after a cold winter and rainy spring. We finally had to put away all the bird feeders after a few nocturnal visits from a bear. We're still hanging up a suet feeder during the day, and bringing it in at night, as there is constant activity from catbirds, nuthatches, a variety of woodpeckers, blue jays, sparrows, and mockingbirds. Also the hummingbirds are back after their incredible journey from the southern hemisphere. It's hard to imagine those tiny birds migrating great distances!

Inspired by all the irises in bloom, I made a small 5" x 7" block print last week.

The first layer was pale purple, and the second layer a bit darker.

There was one more layer of darker purple, then a layer of green.

The final carved layer.

The finished image of an edition of 16. I used a Soft-Kut block, Akua inks, and BFK paper.

Have a great week!

Monday, May 2, 2022

Rooster and Winter Seascape

 Hello May!!

I don't think that I posted the final image from the Wild Kauai Rooster block print that I demonstrated in the last post. I added the details on the tail feathers in the last printed layer create more definition in that area. Here's the finished print:  

Kauai Wild Rooster

The print that I'm working on now, is the winter seascape photographed in Acadia National Park in February. I decided to use a linoleum block, instead of a Soft-Kut block, because I was able to sign up for
a printmaking class again, and had access to a printing press. I had forgotten how tough the carving of linoleum is compared to the rubbery Soft-Kut. Even with good blades, and a heated up block, I still found it took a lot of work to carve. 

I'm almost done with the Acadia print. I need to work on the trees in the background a bit, then I think it will be finished. I like the quality of the texture in the linoleum block, as it is somewhat sharper than the Soft-Kut block's texture, but I have to balance that out with the ease of carving.

Hope the month of May brings warmer weather, and new inspiration for the next project!

Thursday, March 31, 2022

New Project-Rooster Print (Hawaiian Jungle Fowl)

 After our visit to Kauai in February, I decided to create a Rooster print of one of the wild chickens that I photographed on Poipu Beach. There are feral chickens all over the island. You see them at the airport, around the resorts, and on the beaches. I imagine the people who reside on the island feel about them like we do about pigeons--nuisance birds. Tourists are much more enchanted with them. I liked seeing the mother hens and chicks scuttling around the bushes, and the males parading across the beaches and popping up along the trails. 

I wanted to incorporate some of the plants from the island into the layout of the design. 

The image on the left is the drawing on tracing paper, and the image on the right is the design transferred onto the Soft-Kut 8" x 10" block. 

After using a Sharpie marker on all the lines, I began cutting away the areas that would remain white. The first layer of ink is a tannish color.

The tan layer covered the whole block.

The Sharpie transfers a bit to the paper, as well as the ink.

The next step was to carve away the areas that I wanted to remain tan.

I needed to make a stencil for the bird's red head, as I didn't want to cover the whole block with red ink, as it would interfere with the other colors that would come later.


The stencil worked pretty well.

I printed a yellow layer and then a light green layer, using a small bayer to keep the ink only on the plants, not the bird.

                                                    green ink                             yellow layer

The next step was to add another layer of red to the head for more definition.

I added a greenish gray for the next layer.

More carving away areas of the background before I printed a darker gray layer.

This is the current stage of the print. I plan on adding another layer to better define the feathers on the rooster's tail, and then it should be completed.

So you can see I'm keeping busy! Looking forward to April, and hopefully some warmer Spring weather!

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Travels' Inspiration

 The last five weeks have been very busy! I had the opportunity to travel west to the island of Kauai, Hawaii, and then east to Acadia National Park in Maine. Two separate trips, one by plane, the other by car, to explore very different winter locales!

The tropical beaches of Kauai were a welcome respite from a long, cold New England winter, while the trip to Acadia highlighted the beauty of the icy shores of northern coastal Maine.

Shipwreck Beach, Kauai

Acadia National Park, Mt. Desert Island, Maine

After a climb, up ice-covered trails, the reward of a mountain top view is exhilarating, in spite of the temperature!

I'm starting on a linoleum reduction block print of the Acadia coast. I love the textures and colors of the rocks, and the wild waves! I've transferred the image onto my block, and am going over all the pencil lines with a Sharpie marker, so that the drawing won't disappear after layers of ink.

linoleum block 11" x 14"

I will update my progress on this print, as I get more done.

Dwarfed by the giant palm!

I think this feller may be the subject of another print!

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Finishing the "Birches" print

 I guess I spent much of January working on the "Birches" print. Lots and lots of tiny branches and various textures to carve away on this one! I used a Soft-Kut block, so the carving is easy on the hands, but there is a lot of small rubbery scraps to brush away.

This is the beginning stage with the white areas carved away.

The first color

                                                                      more carving

medium brown layer

                                                      The final print with a darker brown layer.

                                                                        8" x 10"

Enjoy the last few days of January! Wicked cold here in New England!

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Happy New Year 2022!

 It's time to say good-bye to 2021, which was a mix of happy and sad events, as is the case in most years. This year brought the joy of a beautiful new granddaughter (our first), and the sadness in the loss of my mother, after several years of poor health. The new year starts off with all the disruptions we saw a year ago, with Covid 19 still the top story, but humans are resilient, so I hope in 2022 there will be less fighting and more cooperation in finding common ground.

An icy, snowy end to December

Inspiration for a new block print

Carving out the white areas

Best Wishes to all!