Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Mermaid Piece part 13

Feeling a bit worn out from a lingering cold plus working many days each week, but I don't like to waste a good Studio day.  Arranged a doctor appointment late in the day, and had nothing else going on, so I went and did some more mermaid work.

Like I said last time, my plan was to take some prints before I finish and turn over the sculpture to the person who requested it, and I decided to try a variation on the rubbing style I had developed in my Montclair days.  Back then it was all oil inks, but now what I have is water based inks.  Both start the same, put the block face up on a table, place a piece of thin paper on top of the dry block, mix ink on the palette and get a brayer all full of ink, then roll it over the paper on top of the block.  Where there is raised (uncut) wood underneath, ink is deposited, while where the wood is cut away the paper stays relatively clean.  It can be done once, or in layers.  Some interesting effects are possible, but consistency not so much, making true editions a major challenge.  That's one reason I gave it up for a more traditional relief printing technique a year into my time in Carbondale.  In this case, not wanting to have the block absolutely full of ink, I decided to experiment a bit with my old system.  And it is a bit of an experiment, as I'm going from oil ink (where viscosity is used to create the layers) to water based inks.

I prepared two pieces of Japanese paper, and mixed a few colors of ink.  First a skin tone, then a dark color.  The first was used to lay some color where face, arms and torso will be, while the dark color was used on the hair.  On the first one I made an effort not to put the skin tone on her scallop shell top (above), but on the second try (below) I let the flesh color cover all her body areas.

Then I mixed up a blue green and did the tail on the second piece, before repositioning the first sheet of paper so I could put the tail on the first one.  Other colors will come, but I'll add the layers over time.  Partly because I had a narrow window before my medical appointment, and partly because I think I want the first layers to dry before I add more on top.  For example, the dark color on the hair will be mostly covered with lighter highlights, applied with a hard brayer that I hope will result in more of the carved hair texture being revealed.

As I expected, some ink penetrated the paper and got onto the block, but not as much as would have if I did a tradition relief print from the block.  What's there will easily be covered up by what I add later.  As for the prints I started today, more work will be needed, then I'll decide what to do with them.  


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