Bamboo linocut

Bamboo linoleum block

Hooray!  My linoleum blocks came in the mail today.  I have been eager to cut out the bamboo idea that I had last week when I couldn’t find my last one.  I penciled it out based it on a little sketch I had done, and then adjusted it as I cut.  Sorry about the flash sheen, though.  I got a late start this afternoon and was not able to photograph it outside.  I tried four different ways and the flash just bounced off of every one.  If you click on it, however, the enlargement is a bit better.  I upped the contrast some, so it actually looks a lot like the print will.

I think I will once again make both a straight black ink print and then add some watercolor to a few.  I really like the mossy green that I used before, so I probably use it and maybe something else.  It is so hard to decide before I see an actual print.  That will be tomorrow’s task.

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The perils of being me – my inner klutz strikes again

Colored flowers

I had a chance to work on the flower picture on Friday, getting myself into a nice working groove.  I had spent over an hour putting the watercolors on over the ink when, to my horror,  I looked at the lower right portion of the painting, and I saw that I had inadvertently brushed my sleeve in the bright yellow paint and then smeared it on the paper.  Yikes!  I spent the 20 minutes trying to scrub out the yellow from the board with moderate success.  The board is a crisp white so anything shows.  I will try again today and I am going to buy an eraser sponge from an on-line art supply store on cyber Monday since shipping is only a dollar then.  At this point, it can’t hurt to try.

I am afraid if the eraser doesn’t work miracles I won’t be able to list it for sale and will end up just using it for prints.  I think that photo editing program will allow me to remove any visible yellows for the print process, but it is still discouraging after putting so much time in on it, not to be able to list it.  Oh well, at least it was not a commission piece.

I do like the combinations of the yellows, golds and greens and the composition pleases me.  All in all it was a nice break from the large architecturals and if I hadn’t made a mess of the substrate, I would consider it a success.

Daisies in ink

You know, sometimes when I put something in a safe place, the only thing it is safe from is me. I had been looking at my reference photos for my next project and found one with some bamboo in it. I though that it might make a nice linocut, but when I looked for my last linoleum block, it was nowhere to be found.  Sigh.  Off to order some more.

Daisies

I had bought a small bouquet of daisy-like flowers at the grocery store for $5.00 and decided to base a quick painting on them.  I made it in the proper ratio for the print company, but  just a little bit smaller than the recent architecturals.  I penciled it up quickly yesterday and without too much thought, inked it up today.  I changed the placement of  a few lines and increased the number of leaves, but it basically is the same as I drew it.  I have found that usually my first instincts for a drawing are the best, provided that I make no major error.  I have a tendency to over think these things, especially with something that has an abstract quality to it like this.

With any luck even with the holiday, I will have it finished over the weekend and ready to post.  I am taking inspiration from the little black-eyed Susan painting I did earlier in the year.  I would have submitted that one but alas it was too small for their specs.  I hope this one turns out as well.

A boy and his dog …. and a lollipop

After working on three rather large (for me) architecturals, I felt the need to do something else. I debated between using the last linoleum block I have, an animal portrait, or something floral but in the proper ratio for the print company.  The boy and his dog won out.  Its reference photo has been sitting on my table since I did the portrait of my daughter and ding-dong dog in July and I decided to do it now.

A boy and his dog

I am still playing a little bit with the ink on Brandy the dog.  I made her darker (and truer to her color) this time and perhaps lost some definition, so we’ll see. I’m pretty happy with my son’s part, but of course his face has its own issues.  I find portraiture to be one of the most difficult things for me to do.  Our brains are so hardwired to see faults in a facial depiction, that finding a good balance is hard.

I’ll bet that sucker was good at the time, though.  He had quite the nose for candy, especially if it were hidden.

Let’s compare my Nashville streetscapes

Pastel Nashville

So, here they are.  I have now finished two Nashville streetscapes in different materials. I have decided to put them up together so that they can be compared directly. For sure, they are totally different.  The watercolor is a bit more ethereal than the pastel.  The pastel has more depth and richness of color.

Watercolor Nashville

I can’t really say which one I prefer.  They actually took about the same amount of working time, although the pastel was probably slightly longer.  Everyone is always amazed that I can put in the color much more quickly than I can lay in the ink.  What I’d like is an opinion of which one you think is more successful.  I’ll be happy to listen to any and all thoughts.  When I look at them here in the studio, I can’t decide.

Nashville in pastel – preliminary

I put on most of the pastels yesterday afternoon and then let it sit overnight.  I think I masked the errors in the middle building some, but of course I can see it.  It is still in the “dull” phase but I like the combination of the reds, browns, and greens.  I may soften it some  with yellows later, but right now I am fairly satisfied.

Pastel Nashville

I am hoping this afternoon will be dry enough to spray so I can continue.  No outdoor photos or fixing due to a misty drizzle. It’s a nasty damp cold.  I still have to work on the shadowing, but the basic colors are there. I will use some colored pencil to help me in the smaller areas. The pastel sticks are not made for really fine work and I don’t like to waste them by shaving to an edge.  It should be done soon.  I think I might try something a bit smaller but in the 3/4 ratio next.  Then I will have enough to send to the print company – if I can ever figure out how to make the high resolution photos without it costing me an arm and a leg for each one.

Nashville 2

It’s not quite finished, but I think it is far enough along to show. The middle, tall building is the one that has been giving me fits. All of the work and it still isn’t quite right. The center sets of windows are a little bit too far to the right and of course I didn’t see it until after I had put them in.  That was about par for the course for this picture.  I think I’ll be able to disguise some of it with the pastels, but of course I will always be able to see it.

Black and white

I will ink in the street on this one so the bottom will be a lot darker. The unfinished upper area of the center building is brick, as are the visible sides. The lower store fronts are predominantly green which should contrast nicely with all of the brick.  It will be interesting to see the differing effects of pastel versus  watercolor in the finished pieces.

And an update on the buck from the previous post.  After no sightings in over a week, this afternoon I saw him crossing the driveway in the front of the house.  He is still limping pretty badly, but he is alive so who can say what will happen.  He seems to be spending the evenings in a narrow patch of woods west of the house, so we try to stay away from it.