I think I may have thrown my back out over the weekend printing the giant pear print. My back was so sore on Monday that I didn’t go in to the atelier. Today after some physical therapy I was feeling better, so I printed the giant pumpkin for the first time. The print looks great from a distance, but has a few soft edges because the paper was too damp. I think it is probably still a keeper. Hope my back is ok tomorrow.
Today I made my first production print from the giant pear plate! It took me about an hour to create one print, but it is beautiful.
The print used Akua Intaglio carbon black ink on damp Rising Stonehenge paper. Since the plate vastly exceeds the dimensions of my humble etching press, I went old school, resorting to the Akua pin press and a baren. I had to peel pack the paper many times in order to reapply ink in areas with pinholes. Given the amount of work involved, I am expecting this to be a very limited edition.
After another cutting session, the 24″ x 30″ pumpkin plate is ready to print. I probably spent about 4 hours cutting and sanding and filing and then another hour on the plate assembly. Can’t wait to print this one!
I am making slow, but steady progress on my white sphere. One of these days I will actually finish it. Here’s the update.
My son’s Frederic Church mastercopy is humming right along. Due date is this Friday!
Here’s an update on the Keechelus print design. I’ve added more detail in the foreground and clarified the left riverbank. The silhouetted mountain ridges work well, but I’m struggling to get a more three-dimensional form along the riverbank and in the landmass on the left. I also need to make some decisions about whether to simplify or go for detail in the mass of sticks and branches in the lower right – not sure whether the details add or detract and I probably won’t know until I get some more detail in the lower left corner for balance. I’ve also experimented with cropping – using a panoramic format allows me to zoom in quite a bit without exceeding the width of my etching press. Can’t wait to start carving!
Bouyed by the success of the giant pear print, I began cutting the 24″ x 30″ pumpkin plate. Before starting I headed out to Lowes to pick up some safety gear, including an N95 dust respirator and face mask. I already had good ear protection.
I finally got some time to finish up and proof my 24″ x 30″ plate of the three pears. FPVC seems to work pretty well for plates, although I was surprised to find that the plates absorb a bit of ink. The material does give very crisp edges. The main problem with FPVC is that the cutting process produces a huge amount of plastic dust. I will have to decide whether to cut the large pumpkin out of FPVC or try another material like masonite or MDF. First I will try a print on a real printmaking paper to be sure the FPVC really works well enough.
I’ve started working on the design for a multi-block linocut print of Lake Keechelus. For now, I am mocking it up in Adobe Illustrator so that I can get an understanding of interactions between the shapes and colors and layers. The image below shows one idea for a sunrise color scheme. This is a work in progress, and the bottom half is still at the block-in stage.