Plant linocut

We got a taste of spring this week with temperatures reaching the lower 80’s briefly.  My daffodils have continued to bloom (and I to pick them) and the red dogwood has finally come out.  I bought a blood red dogwood last year from the big box store and I am pleased to say that it has a multitude of  dark red flowers. I also saw a coyote scoping out three deer in the shallow end of the pond, but by the time I had the telephoto lens switched over on my camera, he was gone.  I am sure the does were more than a match for a lone coyote and he only stopped to make sure no one was weak enough to merit more than a glance.

Still life linocut

Still life linocut

In a week of sporadic studio time because of out of town family travel, I managed to make up another set of linocuts. I recently sold both of my dragon prints out of my etsy store, so I was able to combine replacing those prints with doing something new.  I am happy my dragons found another home.  Those were two of my favorites art pieces.  I had in mind cutting some kind of potted plant this time around.  I was inspired by the jade plant I have in my garden window in the kitchen so I hope this is somewhat suggestive of it.  I didn’t bring it down while cutting the linoleum block, but just tried to create a pleasing positive/negative space with the leaves and the pot.

Colored linocut

Colored linocut

I knew I wanted to color the second one with a light mottled mossy green.  The trick is, how much to do.  I like to start small with the thought that, for these, less is more.  I think leaving some white helps highlight the colored leaves and doesn’t make the whole thing too dark.  I am relatively pleased with the result.  what do you think?

Just a touch of color

Shore bird

Well, when it comes to the block printing, I have a ways to go.  I feel all thumbs just yet and still have to get better judging the amount of ink to roll on.  Add to it the fact that I DON’T like to get my hands dirty, and there  are still some technical difficulties.

I printed both of the linocuts and I think I am pretty happy with them. I decided to make several copies at the same time and take the ones that weren’t quite as crisp and add a bit of watercolor to punch them up. I made it minimal to start but I decided I liked it that way.  They look a little folk artsy to me so I didn’t want to get too detailed.

Turtles

Thus far I have used both the mounted and unmounted blocks and have decided that while the unmounted blocks are a little bit easier to cut on, the mounted blocks are easier to print from.  Since the difference is not that great and I need all of the help I can get printing, I probably will replenish my stock with the mounted type.

I already have the next one decided so keep tuned.  Once again the inspiration was just a knick knack from around the house.

Back to the linocuts

shore bird linocut

After I finished the commission I decided to try a few more linocuts. I bought half a dozen just to experiment with and I think so far that the 5×7 size was a good choice. I was searching for inspiration so I grabbed my little sketchbook to draw a bit and see what happened. Well, what happened is that I saw that the last sketches I had done were of my wooden shorebirds. I had an aha moment and decided to use them as inspiration.  The birds are more like folk art and are not finely cut or painted but are pleasing to look at on the beam ledge as I walk up to the second floor.  I chose one that was standing erect and had a long beak.

Turtles

I also had a turtle in mind but the sketch I had made on the block didn’t please me so I had let it sit for a few days.  When I went back to it today, I decided to add more.  I had the image of a group of hatchlings making their way back to the water.  Compositionally, it seemed to work out better when I redrew it adding more.

I have no clue what they will look like printed up because I don’t have enough experience yet.  I do think I will add the watercolor again.  My only concern is how much the printing ink will bleed into the watercolor.  The printing ink is water based and responds to the watercolors.   That will be tomorrow’s job.  I am actually looking forward to it – after I clean up the mess I made the last time.

Midnight musings 2

Once again I was awake when I was supposed to be sleeping – and once again I was thinking of the gift tags. Plus, this week I didn’t get past the pencil drawing of the newest entryway  for many reasons, not the least of which was an all day road trip Tuesday to Ohio with John. What time I did have, I spent exploring the possibilities of making digital prints of some of my original aceos/gift tags. I chose these mostly because all of the little gift tags already had the ribbon hole punched and I didn’t want to have to work around that. I also selected a few un-inked watercolor blanks.  I really liked the unusual color patterns they had and didn’t think inking would improve them so I put them in as is.  In any case, I scanned a bunch in using my printer scanner and then was actually able to find where they were sent onto my computer. No mean feat for me as this was the first time I had tried to scan with the new printer.

Digital tags

Unfortunately, I wasn’t happy with the print out from my computer. The colors weren’t even close to true when compared with the original. This left the box stores as the only option. I actually thought that this might be the case anyway, given the cost of home printer inks. So I decided to try one box store for a color print out with nine and the other store with a print out of 16. Both actually worked out well and were rather evenly priced so it’s a tossup.  I’ll probably go with the closest store in the future.  I spent the rest of the week cutting out each tag from its sheet from a total of 18 sheets.  Rather mindless work but necessary.  Then I had to punch the hole and insert the ribbon.  I opted to also put a hole reinforcer on this set just to see if I felt it was necessary since I was using 120 lb cardstock.  I may not in the future but I haven’t decided yet.  They actually look pretty nice.  The colors turned out quite vividly and I am pleased with the combinations. 

 So what was I thinking about in my midnight musings?  Probably the hardest decision of all.  Pricing.  I am thinking of selling them as a set of nine, just to make it easy on myself.  I have given myself a day or two to think about it.

Happy Father’s Day to all.