Friday, November 05, 2021

Fever Dream part 19


A few days ago I pulled the first proof of my latest block.  In general I was pleased with how it turned out. Much like my piece Trance from 1996, it was a test to see what I could do in a new situation.  That older one was my first piece without being in school, and a test of if I could still make prints without the comforts and demands of being in a school program.  Turned out I could.  With my new print I was dealing with a whole lot of changes- a new home, not having my good tools, and following multiple brain operations, leaving the question could I still make art as I always had.  Again, turns out I can.  I can draw on wood, carve the drawings into wood, and print the results, getting what I expect.  As a bonus, I also learned I can still cut mats and frame, but that was a different project.  So all that was cool.

I brought that proof home, and have studied it.  I like it, but it could be better.  This is not an unusual situation in woodcut, sometimes you miss a few cuts, and don't know it until you print what you have.  Perhaps that is why it's called a proof.  You can't uncut things, which is why I always tell students to be sure of what they want to do- you can always cut more, but you can't put it back.   Most of what I wanted to change was little spots that weren't cut as expected, or a little ink I would draw back on with a scrap of mat card where a splinter had come out, or even a spot or two where I decided I wanted to remove a little more, to improve the balance of white, black, and gray in the composition.  I decided the ink on the proof was fairly dry, so my blotted block wouldn't be too messy.  I had nothing on the schedule for today, so why not take advantage of my cleaner table and go make some changes.

I left a little earlier than usual today, by around 10 am, so I could get an early start.  I left the proof at home, but had my student tools, and the block was up at the Studio.  I had my printmaking bag in the car, so I just had to grab my backpack and my paper, and I was ready to go.  

I had brought the rock/pop discs today and started with some Pixies, the disc I put 3 records on and you  can read my write up of that disc on this blog back at October, 2019.  While that played, I looked at my block (mostly dry, so no wet ink, just smudges of ink from what remained), pulled out my tools, and got ready to go. Using those tools, I cut some more out of the hand holding the keys (making the fingers a little better), the Disney castle (flames stood out but the castle cuts had filled in, so they became wider), the pizza slice in another hand, some bits of the comic book fan to clarify parts of him (jacket, face, Batman symbol on gray t-shirt), the two helicopter nurses in the Studio (made the helicopters a little clearer, a few defining lines), the central post, and Tinkerbell.  I guess I had a lot to cut.

Now time to print.  Old disc ended, so I put on a new one, the Tom Waits album Beautiful Maladies,  a greatest hits collection form his Island years.  Crazy stuff, and you can read about it back at February, 2020.  As I expected, printing this second proof went a lot faster than the first, one hour verses two for the first one.  I credit this to the block having been inked once before.  All of my cutting improvements showed.  I also took a few minutes to add a few bits of ink using small pieces of mat board.  You can't build complex shapes this way, but you can fill in splinters along the edge of the block, gaps in broken lines, etc.  I brought this one home again, but unless I find a significant flaw, I'll print another without making any changes to the block. Cleaned up my tools and space, made a few stops, and went home.


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