Last week’s print course session was on linocut printing. I really loved doing this. Knowing in advance what we were going to do, I went through my list of photographs and chose a few that had a good amount of contrast. With each of these, I used Lightroom to produce a clean B&W print, which I further modified to produce an image that looked good in what was basically 2-bit. Of those, two seemed to present the best combination of not-too-difficult alongside still-interesting-image. I cropped and printed each as 6×4 (since that was the size we were told the lino would be: btw, one guy on the course asked what lino was: see this fascinating wikipedia article), both normal and reverse.
Nichola gave us each some basic instruction in lino preparation and cutting, handed out the tools and then left us to it. I picked the simplest of my images but even that proved to take a long time.
I put some carbon paper onto the lino and the reverse image over that and then traced out the lines. I was going to scribble in the areas to be cut out but it took me so long to do the tracing I was running out of time so I just started cutting. Hell, it hurt after a while. I probably wasn’t holding the cutting tools correctly. At least I hope I wasn’t since my thumb was still partially numb three days later!
Most of the class were making multiple prints while I was still cutting so I stopped in the end and just printed what I had. I can see bits where I cut what I shouldn’t and other bits that were left that should have been removed. Still the images look ok.
The photograph I started with was (blurred line through the middle is a telephone wire):
I made three prints. The first in orange, second in black and third in purple. The third looked much like the second so I’ve left it out. The first two were:
I’m really pleased with these. I enjoyed the work, love the type of image produced and am sure that this and monoprinting are the way I’m meant to go. This week is hard ground etching, which I’m less sure of. Still need to decide on images to take along.
One lesson I need to remember is to allow more time for carving, which should be okay since I’ll probably work on the carving at home and only take the lino in when I have a few to print. More important is to properly mark out the cutting areas on the lino. Using carbon paper is not good enough. As I was cutting, my hand was erasing other parts of the tracing. Nichola suggested going over the tracing with permanent ink which I’ll do in future.
Also need to use any photograph only as a starting point. I need to trace the photograph onto paper (or not even that) and then compose the image I want using black pen and brush.
Line of clouds along the steep banks of Lake Manapouri.
The whitish lines on the hills behind the clouds are where the trees have slid into the lake.
The soil covering the rock of the hills is only a few inches deep and this is all the trees are rooted into. When trees high up lose their grip, they fall into lower ones, causing them to fall and so on resulting in a long slide into the lake. It’ll then take hundreds of years for that strip to regrow trees.
Another, closer shot.
Typical of the Southland region of New Zealand, these windswept and salt damaged trees really do demonstrate the nature of the area. This was taken on the drive from Manapouri to Riverton.
The stark bright greyness of them against the clear skies is quite arresting.
Almost as if they’re scrambling over each other to get away from the wind.
Missed yesterday as I had an early appointment to get my right eye examined. Had drops added to both eyes to dilate them and then right one was also numbed so I wasn’t seeing too well for most of the day.
Back to trees and their bark for today’s photograph. Still in Riverton and Mores Reserve, but this time on the Coastal Lookout walk. It was a brighter day so less motion blur on the photographs.
This type of tree had seriously flaking bark (I wonder if that is some sort of evolutionary advantage). Lovely texture.
I’ve boosted saturation and vibrancy quite a bit. It looks all right in Lightroom and the browser but less good in Windows Explorer.
Quick update on the tree painting. I thought of creating a wash (using water) from the background in the last stage of the painting (see previous post) and adding more and more yellow ochre to this to create and deepen a green that I could apply over the background to bring it up to the right colour and shades. It half worked.
I added raw umber and phthalo green to the mix in the last couple of washes to deepen the colour. Wasn’t happy with the result. I then washed the background with matt medium to try to get it to recede and the foreground with gloss to bring it out. Bah!
I’ve decided to finish with this painting, take it to my new teacher in a couple of weeks and see if he can tell me how I ought to have done this in the first place. Not sure I’m that interested in the image itself that I’ll try it again. Ah well, on to something else.
I’ve not posted any art work for last week. Our classes at Gallery 18 are finished; I’m starting another in a few weeks but the interim is me working on my own. Or not, as the case more accurately is. I will post an in progress painting that I’ve been trying to get looking right for a couple of months. It is of this photograph taken in NZ:
and the work to date looks like the following. I started laying on rough colours, messed that up adding white (which always happens: I’ll learn one day) so overpainted the whole sheet and redrew the tree, adding some more bits to improve the composition, painted in the tree with a yellow ochre (I think) then tried adding actual colours and detailing.
The last version is after trying to put a faint purple wash over the background of the last one to lighten it and ending up with a complete mess. I simply painted over the whole background with a light blue and am trying to figure out how to darken it and put in the hazy detail without making more of a mess. I’ve been trying to figure it out for two weeks!
I quite like the dark edges around the tree and the way it now stands out so I’ll need to add the detailing without, perhaps, dulling the background too much. The tree needs to look like a tree as well. Lots to do. Will hit the books I’ve got out the library to see if anything there strikes me. Hope I figure something out before I run out of paint (or patience).