Linocuts again, briefly

I decided to take a short break from the speedball pen architecturals to refresh my eyes. I find if I work on the same kind of art piece repeatedly, at some point I start to feel stale and uninspired. These little projects help prevent that and give me variety in my etsy store.

Choose kindness

Choose kindness

Recently I read a young adult’s book named “Wonder” for my book group and there was brief use of the phrase “choose kindness” in it.  It struck me as a good way to live life in general.  I have never done a linocut using words before and thought this might be the one.  It actually took a lot more effort on my part to create this than I anticipated.  Originally, I sketched out the words horizontally.  I played and played around with the background and nothing was happening for me.  Then I went into the bathroom off of my studio to wash my hands (dark chocolate isn’t enough inspiration you say?), and looked at the shower curtain. It had vertical flowers on it and it suddenly occurred to me that the orientation was wrong.  It needed to be a vertical piece, not a horizontal one.  Sure enough, after I resized the words using the computer copy feature, I was quickly able to finish a design.   Funny how long it took me to realize what I needed to do.  I definitely don’t have the skills of a graphic artist who probably could have decided a lot faster what to do.  In any case, I’m happy with the results, and it’s off to list it.

I have two more Germany photos I can use for the speedball art, so that’s probably what is up next.

Printed linocuts

Black and white print

Black and white print

I worked on the linocuts yesterday.  I like the way the black and white print turned out.  There are not really any decisions for this print, just ink and go.  Still, the reverse print always is a bit of a surprise after looking at the block.

Colored studio print

Colored studio print

I had to think somewhat for the watercolored version.  How much and how dark to make the colors is always the main decision.  I varied the green some to add depth and added some maroon/pink flowers.  The real question I had was if I should color in the studio building at all.  I left it yesterday with all of the vegetation done, but the building the stark paper white.  It appealed to me that way somewhat, but I knew I’d want to look at it again later with fresh eyes.  Today it seemed a bit much so I lightly added color for a stuccoed effect.

Red dogwoods

Really red dogwood flowers

Really red dogwood flowers

Thursday, I printed up the dogwood linocut with my red ink. If you remember, I considered adding some white to the red to vary the color. However, that would require that I had some white.  I thought I did, but I did’t.  So much for that idea.  Anyway, I am not unhappy with the solid red.  It is quite vibrant in its own right.  I am thinking of making a companion print for this since I don’t think I’ll make one with the added watercolors.  I’ll have to think about another red flower to use.  Or maybe I’ll print up the dragon in red. Take a peek at my etsy store linocuts and please make a suggestion for a different color for the black ones.

 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ruthsartwork?section_id=12221408&ref=shopsection_leftnav_9

 

Spring flowers

Dogwood block

Dogwood block

In the blush of the first warm temperatures of the season, my daffodils have finally started to bloom.  We are in for a lot of rain over the next couple of days, so I expect that the under story in the woods and  the rest of the wild flowers will burst onto the scene very quickly.  It is already late into spring for most of them to make their appearances.  Right now it is thundering outside  and the rain is sheeting down.  With the droughts of the last several years, I am not going to complain.  Any rain is good rain for us.

I decided to make a dogwood linocut today, in honor of my mangled little red dogwood tree.  One of the deer thought that all of the flower buds on it, except for one, would make for a nice snack.  Alas, it will be next year before I can see the red blooms again.  I have had quite a hard time keeping a red dogwood alive and growing in this particular spot.

I am thinking that I will print this in reds and pinks with the variation directly on the brayer.  I’ve only tried that once before with some green and yellow inks.  This one might be a good one to try it again.  I don’t plan to make one to watercolor then unless I decide a green background would add to it.  I think I need to see it first.

Goldilocks’ dragon revisited

Multicolored dragon print

Multicolored dragon print

I studied the failed dragon prints for a few days and decided to see if I could watercolor the light print into acceptability. I went for a modified red background to help him stand out more and colored his scales with a yellow ocher. I am pleased enough with the red pattern behind him that I may use a variation of it in future prints.  I had to overlay the ocher several times to get the depth I wanted, but I think it looks much better now.  He still seemed too washed out so I added my mossy green to his flanks and upper forelegs and his face.  I used a little bit of ink to sharpen around his eyes.  Evaluating him now, I am much happier than I was when I pulled him.

Dragon bookmark set

Dragon bookmark set

Ultimately, I didn’t think I could salvage these darker prints for sale as they were.  One had the red background added to see if that would provide enough help and the other was left all black.  Still not what I wanted.  It had occurred to me that if I cut them up as bookmarks, I could sell them all together as a funky set.  I ended up rather liking the way this idea turned out.  Fortunately, the dimensions of the original linocut made the sizing easy

What do you think of my choices?  Do you like the watercolored print  as it now stands?  I know it’s vastly improved, but is it enough?  And what do you think of the bookmark set idea?  They need to be laminated because I don’t think the printing ink would stand up to use.  I haven’t laminated anything up in quite a while so maybe it’s time to take a bunch of them in.

I have started prep for the next work.  I stretched a piece of watercolor paper yesterday and am going to throw watercolor washes on it today since it has fully dried. Tomorrow I would like to do an abstract architectural in ink over the washes.  And if it doesn’t work out – more bookmarks.

Fish Linocut

fish linocut

Fish linocut

The linocuts were talking to me midst the tile debacle and I did a few quick sketches of animals for kid’s room art. I settled on a fish cut, a rooster, and a rabbit. Here is the first one – a stylized fish. I am still debating if I should cut out the head portion. I wouldn’t do scales on it, just a solid cut.  I have sketched in a few lines on the upper fin, but I am inclined to leave the rest of the fins as they are.  For the colored print I would use a dark yellow on the body and make him a fancy goldfish.  The three framed together would make a good tryptic artpiece.

As an update on my tile tribulations, I found a library book that gave me a few helpful hints and as soon as I can print up a few more transfer sheets, I will try again.  Evidently, I have been ironing them too long and that contributes to the smearing.

Rocking horse print

Red rocking horse

As I suggested in my last post, I made a lino print from another found object from my house. I have a little decorative rocking horse that has spent its entire life adding a bit of color to a shelf in my guest bath. I found him several years ago at one of the box decorator stores and bought him because I liked the size and the primitive aspect.

After I cut the plate and printed it, I added some red watercolor.  I had always meant to color in the saddle and bridle, but after I looked at it, it seemed necessary to add color to the rockers.  Since I made this print, I have removed some of the background around the rockers to help delineate them more. They seemed a little lost unless I painted them.  I also made one up in yellow accents instead of red.  I rather like the effects of the added watercolors on all of the cuts I’ve done so far.  Maybe when I have a better feel for the positive/negative spaces the reverse cutting makes I’ll be more satisfied with the monotones.

I have one more block from the set I bought, but I haven’t decided what to cut yet.  I think I like the bird the best so far, but we’ll see.  My next piece on the board is actually an architectural of a stone grinding mill with a waterwheel.I have been thinking of doing it for a while and the time seems right.

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