Thursday, May 31, 2012

Proofing the Curl Snout

I had such grand intentions.  Tuesday I remembered to put some paper down to soak before I went to work so I could pull some proofs of my Chinese New Year Dragon.  Wednesday morning was literally a goat rodeo as we gathered Odin up to get neutered.  I had intended on packing up my supplies to go to the Virginia Artist Book Center and pull some proofs of the block.  I had such grand intentions.  I barely drug myself to the meeting at VABC but was glad I went.  So many exciting ideas and concepts were discussed.  I'm glad I didn't skip it.  Fast forward to Thursday and when I went upstairs to check my email my foot bumped against my paper humidor and I had one of those Oh, yeah. That's right. I was supposed to do that wasn't I. moments.  A flare of procrastination drifted over my mind but it was swiftly dispatched by the kraken mentioned in my last post.  I tossed my brush into my water basin and set to work. 

I've been trying to use up my bokuju.  It's great stuff but I have a whole other bottle to use after this one is gone so I might as well use it now.  It really has a richer color to it than regular sumi.  

Looks like a good impression so far.  It's hard to ink up a freshly carved block sometimes because it looks so pristine.  The kento needs to print up as well for accurate registration.  You can see the triangle and the trapezoid in the right hand side of the paper.

I stalled on using this piece of wood but I've been hanging onto it for years.  Kraken to the rescue!  Slather the nori on and ask questions later.

I really like this method because I don't have to deal with xeroxes or smelly chemicals for transfer.  There's no extra tools or supplies besides paper and nori that you already are using for printing.  Plus, it's like working from the original because it really is a copy of the block and registration.

I'm saving space by carving two colors and their registrations on one block.

I have an idea also for the concept of an "onion dragon" so I went ahead and made another two potential blocks.  Why not?  The resources are there.

Afterwards, we got all cleaned up . . . as clean as nori stained wood can get anyway.  I love my little dragon's expression.  I love his little curled snout.  It's like he's thinking "That was a good swim!"

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Oh, sketch heaven

It's funny how one can be caught up in circumstances that appear beyond one's control.  Practice delegates that one can be conscientious and remember that there is always a choice if we choose to acknowledge it.  The natural world is the best example of how multifaceted and diverse life can be.  It is in these ruminations that I realize, "Oh yeah.  That thing I do that no one else can do.  That place I go where no one else can follow.  Yes, let's go there and find some peace."  

After going through 6 years of art school, I am amused and comforted to find that my sketch book musings are still the source of what drives me.  Yes, I am thankful for the polish and infrastructure I had learned in school but in the end there was still something missing.  I missed that raw thrill of approaching my ideas with the power of abandon.  I had begun to heavily censor my own thought process.  When the spark of something new would erupt it would immediately go through the "Yes, but will it sell" filter and if it made it past that, over into the "Yes, but will it be cost effective" filter.

Don't get me wrong, being rational often helps head off more than a few disasters, but my working process was soon becoming a downer.  After experiencing my first ocular migraine last week, instead of filling the Compazine prescription I was given, I did a little spring cleaning in my head and loosed the Kraken known as Tohellwitheverything!  I like her.  We get along just fine.  After a good sleep, I started to work on sketching all the ideas I want to do but "haven't had time to do."

Harvey has been my aid for 17 years.  He's featured on my Facebook avatar and is a wonderful muse.  Seeing that he's 17, I should probably put together a bio.  In the sketch above, I was inspired by the 2012 Year of the Drago post card exchange project at Baren Forum.  There are a few other sources but as I continue with this piece, I'll go more in depth.

Here's a redraw of a tiny thumbnail in one of my sketch books that kept nagging at my mind.  I don't know why this image feels so potent in my mind.  It feels something like toiling to produce something with your life only to watch some asshole slither up and consume the fruits of your labor.  Smell like 99% to you? Oh, Lana, you little buzz kill faerie you!

But, in other updates, YAY!  My Dragon Postcard block is finished and now I can make color blocks! Yay!  Believe it or not, this block will not be used the postcard.  It's a key for the color blocks.  You'll see. :-)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Year of the Dragon

What better than a dragon to get me carving and printing again?  Here is a shot of the block I am carving for my year of the Dragon postcard exchange.  I've had this block of shina for a while and it seems appropriate for this occassion.  I can't lie about it:  Knife sharpening is one of my least favorite aspects of doing moku hanga. I finally made myself sit down and assess my knives and most of them now are back in good shape.  I've forgotten what a joy it is to sit and carve and watch my sketch appearing in a block of wood.  Later, I can write about what a joy it is to watch my drawing come to life as a print.