Saturday, April 19, 2008
The Strawberry Roan!
The Strawberry Roan has arrived! I am surprised at how well this print run has turned out. This is my first attempt at multiple color blocks and registration on top of a gradation. I had an image in my head of how the colors would turn out and which ones I would choose. Though I chose accordingly, like always, the image in one's mind is always different from the outcome. I actually like the product better! The kirin block project began as a spin off from another project. I was invited to participate in a beastiary making project and had come up with several sketches of different fantastic animals before ultimately deciding on my signet, Harvey. My kirin image was not truly new. I had designed a kirin for a book I was working on called "Murphy's Wife" and the animal struck me as a very entertaining subject. The traditional chinese kirin is usually rendered as being covered in scales with a mane of flames. I wanted to work on trying to design an animal that would in theory be able to exist. To balance out the body of a horse visually, I blended the bone structure of a horse skull and dragon head. Noting how the pelts in the equine world are extremely diverse, I softened the look of koi scales into a dapple effect.
I could have kicked myself when I started printing as I forgot my camera when I printed the salmon colored skin block, the green mane and tail block. Doh! After that, I was tired and went home with the intention of coming back the next day. Well, I didn't make it back and in total, the kozo was damp for two and a half days before I returned to it! I printed the cadmium hooves and horn and then made the executive decision to dry the prints and let them rest. The paper was beginning to shed fibers and I was afraid that the cadmium was going to offset as I stacked them back in the humidor. It turned out to be the right choice. I dampened them again after 3 days and set about making magic!
The colors really complimented each other well and seeing the gradation wick into the paper was real eye candy!
Lastly, I pulled the key block in a plum color.
I like this image of the initial key block print in sumi and the finished color print. The title for this edition struck me when I pulled the first scale pattern gradation off. The color and arrangement reminded me so much of strawberry seeds and there does exist a coloration in horses called "strawberry roan." What better way to celebrate spring?