Friday, July 17, 2015

The Ewe

Meet one of the new ladies in the Farm People line up!  This is the fastidious little Ewe.  She has impeccable style and can be found in her boudoir primping and preening so that she'll be the talk of the soiree. She prides herself on being on the forefront of the farm fashionista movement. From her peacock feather down to her little satin frock, she's the perfect decor for your powder room.
I think it's important for people to see my process.  Pencil sketching comes easiest to me and that's where most of my work begins.  I've found that several small warm up sketches help me to get the general structure.  It helps me to get a better idea of what I want instead of blindly committing to a concept and then figuring out after several revisions that it's not going to work out that great.  I still really like the image of the fat little sheep stuffed into her dress and clutching a handbag as if she's waiting for the bus.  That's the nice thing about getting these little ideas out; I can always go revisit the concept at another time.
Next comes the carving job where the image is transferred down onto a block.  Although it appears to be a minor accent, I think the peacock feather is actually compositionally one of the most important parts of this piece.  I picked this as the starting point for the initially carving.  If I couldn't get the feather right then I'd bale then and find another design to suit the block.  Thankfully, the feather was a success and all carved well.  Note that the text is carved too and I had to do it backwards!

Here she is all finished.  I have found with linoleum carving that as of late I work with a permanent marker close by.  I used to carve without a contrast color and I think you can really see it in the work I had done before.  The contrast color allows me to carve better detail.  I had always done this with woodblock carving.  I don't know why I never adopted this sooner.  Ah, well.  Learn something new everyday!

Here's the army of Ewes coming hot off the press, literally.  As I've said before, it gets hot in this window but the heat is worth it because the little caste iron press gets warm.  This allows the grease in the joints to flow better and lubricate all the moving parts.  I'm printing in oil based ink and the warmth helps disperse the ink as well so even though the operator is drenched in sweat, the press is happy and the prints look great!

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