Monday, August 10, 2015

Adventures in linocut

I just completed my first ever reduction linocut. Here's the plate with the image drawn on in sharpie and just the areas I wanted to be white cut out.
And here are the first two colors I printed.
The pink was first, then I cut away more of the block and printed with the blue. I had quite a bit of trouble getting the pink to print well and in the end found out that I hadn't sanded my block enough.

I added a lighter green, cut away more of the block and then did the darker green. The colors dry lighter so at first I thought I might stop at this point, but later decided to go ahead with black as I'd intended.
This is the final print. I learned so much doing this - about the right viscosity of the inks (I used a mixture of Akua intaglio inks and Speedball block printing inks along with a couple of different mediums), about the importance of precise registration, about my chosen brand of lino and about the press at Makers' Mill in North Adams where I did the printing. It took a few days because of waiting for the inks to dry completely between stages. Here's a shot of the great drying rack they have over there. 
It's a lot of fun as well as a little nerve wracking not being sure how things will turn out in the end. I came away with 11 prints, but they're all a little different from each other.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Painting how-to

Early this morning I rode my bike to this spot and took a few pictures.  When I got home I made a quick black and white value sketch, stretched some watercolor paper and when it was dry masked out the areas I wanted to keep white. 
I then poured liquid watercolor over the paper. First yellow, then red and finally blue.

Here it is with the mask removed.
I then painted in the tree trunks and created more textures in the foreground and the bushes on the far side of the river. Unfortunately I didn't take any more process pictures, but here's the final result.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

What I learned

At the end of 20 days of posting new art work every day I learned:

1. I can do more than I think I can
2. Ideas come. I may have no inkling of what I'll post in 2 days, but when the time comes so does the idea.
3. Even the rather limited accountability of telling my small online world of my plan makes it more likely to succeed.
4. Modest goals work better than huge ones - I couldn't have kept this up indefinitely.
5. Promising to do something daily gets people coming back to check and see what's next.
6. I even sold something.
7. I'm happiest when I'm creating (unless it's when I'm singing). I know this, but it can still be hard to get down to it.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Subtractive watercolor painting

The basis of this painting was done back to front! I painted two layers of cobalt blue and then one of indigo before I started, adding more water as I moved down the page so that the bottom would be lighter. The cobalt blue is easy to keep smooth and even, the indigo much less so. I used a circle of masking tape to keep the moon white (and later softened its edges). I then removed color with a wet brush quickly followed by mopping with a paper towel. You can get almost all the way back to white paper with these two pigments (other colors are much more staining). The white on the fox's face and tail were not masked first, but just had their color lifted. I then added color to the fox, but the underlying blue helps keep him in the same moonlit spectrum of light - he doesn't show up quite as red in the actual painting. I added a little definition on the trees with indigo paint and a fine brush, but whereas I'd originally intended to make them clearly birches, I found that I preferred the softer focus of the subtractive process rather than defined markings. I also worked the middle section of the background so that it looks like a more distant hill.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

O little town

I enjoy the work of Lisa Congdon although her work is much more graphic designy and modernist than mine. Anyway she's done a number of pictures of little towns and they inspired me to try one. I decided to use gouache as I wanted the rather chalky colors that can provide. I liked what happened at this first stage and was a bit afraid of losing it as I added detail so I recorded it. I had originally thought I wanted flat color but ended up liking the variation that happened when I used the paint quite diluted.
I then went ahead and added black marker and white acrylic ink lines.
It's a little hard to know where to stop with the details...

Monday, April 21, 2014

My daily painting

I realized that followers of my blog may wonder what happened to my challenge to myself to create a new piece of art every day for 20 days. It looks as thought there are quite a few gaps, but in fact I've been posting my daily piece at my Facebook page, Alison Kolesar Illustrator. I've just used my blog to talk about pieces that needed a bit more explanation. Anyway here's today's piece.
It's a straightforward watercolor that needs no explanation other than that the blossoms are not painted from life - we don't get leaves or blossoms on the trees around here before May! And the bird's colors are made up, so if it looks like a kind you recognize that's just by chance.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Inspired by Norman Rockwell

I was thinking about Easter bonnets (as something to draw - I won't be wearing one), which brought to mind this image by Norman Rockwell
although I know it's just called "Walking to Church" and isn't specifically Easter.
This is the drawing that resulted
Then I wondered about superimposing these three on an old photo of a street and it turns out that this one is in the archives of the Norman Rockwell museum as a reference photo used by Rockwell himself.
So I had to put them together.