Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Printmaking Begins! Experiment #1

Here we go, I had a very productive day last week and am pretty pleased with my first trial.  I definitely learned a few things, and as students of mine know from classes I teach, have given myself a healthy bit of self-critique.  To coin Martha, "It's a good thing" (critiques, that is!)

As my inspiration was wood block printing, which I am still planning on doing, I thought it very efficient to try the block carving and printing using a much easier type of block to start.(mostly at the moment my spare time is so limited I am purely thinking of efficiency)  So I used rubber blocks.  They are super fast to cut and I can do the preliminary technique trials on them and then get into the wood idea - that pulled me into this new (but not foreign for me) medium - as I feel more confident.  In all color theory classes I teach I always encourage students to get to know the color range of your medium; watercolors, dyes, fiber, oils, pencils, whatever the medium, do some sort of color trials.  This is to know where your tubes or tubs of pigments will take you.  (I look for restrictions too, can I get my favorite brights?  Is color clean? and if not I try to find a different brand or do some more blending)
So things I tried and learned.  First was don't forget to flip your tracing (to reverse it)  While this scene looks basic, for many folks it really is an actual scene on Monhegan Island.  oops!  But for my first trail no big deal. Second, I tried brushing the color, watery, onto the block with brushes, but it was too soft -and while that can be pretty it was not the look I was going for.  So since I couldn't find my brayer, (I have one, just where it was? well you know how that goes) I used a sponge. 
Third is, find all your tools!  I don't mind the spongey quality of the inks but also not the look I am going for, so I went out and bought another brayer.  I plan on using the same block later in this week to try more color blending, so I will post the next grouping.  I also want the stamping elements (the little red flowers) to be more opaque.  I am using all water based inks and acrylics, so we will see how this works out.