Wednesday, January 20, 2010

White Breasted Nuthatch- Reduction Linocut

First reduction linocut of the year! Do you remember my bad streak of reductions from last year? It went like this:




But it's a new year, time for a new start, and first on the docket was a White-Breasted Nuthatch. I really want to do a series of linocuts highlighting the animals of Upstate NY. Two weeks ago I went x-country skiing at Beaver Lake and saw one of these guys, a little gray and white puffball, trying to keep warm- and I thought, "that's it-! That's my first subject!"

This was my first reduction of 2010 AND the first time in years I tried a piece of linoleum with the wood already factory-glued to the back. I had a bad experience with this backed-linoleum years ago (it was REALLY old and hard to carve) so I've avoided it, but cutting lino yourself, finding a backing board, cutting the board to size and gluing it yourself is a PITA and I was having problems with my self-glued boards going through my press adequately. I decided to give the pre-backed lino another spin, and bought a 5x7 piece at the city art store. It was really nice, a bit more crumbly than some battleship lino I've carved but not bad at all.

I carved away all the parts of the print I wanted to keep white (the paper color) and inked up a with a mix of very light grey (black, process blue and titanium white)...'s always so fun to see the picture start to emerge!

Second reduction meant carving away more of the block, and printing in a slightly darker gray...

I was a bit nervous here because this came out much darker than I wanted... But I had to trust it.

Finally, last reduction! I carved away even more and then printed in a dark gray/black:

YAY! I loved the way it came out. Unfortunately I forgot to carve my chop in, though. Can you believe it? I tried adding it later as a stamp but it came out really badly, so I nixed it. I think I'll have an edition of about 10 on this.

Here is the last stage of the block:

And the press my Dad and I built! It printed these pre-glued lino blocks BEAUTIFULLY.

I bought another pre-glued lino block for my next (I think either a landscape or woodpecker) but first I'm going to tackle another greyhound print. I've picked out some reference material and sketching begins tonight. I signed up for a Valentine Challenge* on WetCanvas, and so my print is going to be Jack and Lucy snuggling together on the couch. I'm not a romantic person in the least bit so that's as far as it's going to get with me. It's KIND of valentine-y, right?


*The best parts about Valentine's Day are the profusely-filled aisles of candy at every store you walk into, but I'm trying to eat healthy now so no chocolates or conversation hearts for me. Well, not my usual load anyway. :oP


Sherrie Y said...

Jen, congratulations! Not just on a successful print, but on having the gumption to try again after so much frustration.

And a hint for the crumbly lino, if you don't know already: if you keep it warm, it will be softer and cut better. I've had old lino that responded well enough to a damp cloth and warm iron to get through the carving... it's not optimal, but it can help!

Jen said...

What a great tip! THanks Sherrie. :o) And thanks for your kind words, too!


Maria Peters said...

LOVE the Nuthatch!!!! Interested in purchasing. Way to've found your muse.

My fav bird is the plain ol' house wren.

Read you all the time and send good thoughts your way. You are so talented! I do feel quite guilty tho' about not walking my dogs when it's "cold" here in GA...Clif, Lucy and Jack look like they have a blast in the snow!

Life at Star's Rest said...

I absolutely love pygmy nuthatches! They run around in the pine forest like a little troop of circus clowns and I'm always so glad when they show up each year. Beautiful portrayal of a nuthatch!

Amie Roman said...

Such a gorgeous little print, and you've really beautifully captured the spirit of the nuthatch, well done!

Anonymous said...

This is a very nice piece. What is your method of registration? Have you ever built a registration bar into the plate?

(i just stumbled on your reduction linos, so i don't have a blogger ID name)

thanks for sharing your stuff!

ps. as a linocut artist myself, i'll be back to keep up with your linos!