Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Great Finally Finished Friday - NO! Wait, it's Thursday!

 That's right!  It is Thursday.  I had these blocks done last Saturday, but in typical Brenda-Fashion, I procrastinated on the backgrounds.  I had a heap of time and motivation to get them done today though, so here they are...

Sorry for the paperclips on the owls!  Wind is not my friend - ever! - when trying to photograph my art.  Then I accidentally learned that the wind wouldn't knock them off of the support rail.  Live and learn I guess!

In case you're wondering how I did it, here's how:

I picked up a Speedball Block Printing Kit and a Speedball Speedy-Carve Block for this project.  The assignment called for an Xacto Knife and cardboard.  Me being me, I just couldn't do that - plus, I'm super duper clumsy and very dangerous.  I use Xacto blades to my peril. 

The kit came with a lino block, black water based ink, a brayer (I didn't even know they had a name, I'd always just called them ink rollers), a foam tray, and a cutting tool (with blades #1, #2, & #5).  The owl was done on the 4x5 lino block that came with the kit.  The flower was done on the Speedy-Carve block and then cut out.  There are all sorts of tutorials for tracing and transferring your sketches to blocks and I won't go into those here.  I just used a simple pencil to sketch directly on the block.  Then I carved!  Be careful and go slowly - those cutting tools are super sharp!

Since the ink was water based, I knew I would need to do the background before I printed since I wanted a water color effect.  I used watered down craft paint (Blue: Americana Whispering Turquoise, Indian Turquoise, and Turquoise)(Green: Americana Sea Glass, Folk Art Aqua, and Americana Bluegrass Green)(Orange: Folk Art New Leaf Green, Tangerine, and Americana Vivid Violet) and painted wet into wet - I drenched my watercolor paper in water and then let the colors bleed into one another.  I didn't let any dry and apply another layer.  I wanted fun, but uncomplicated.  I used my heat tool to dry - because I'm impatient.

You could use an oil-based ink or even straight acrylic if you want to do any kind of water/wet effects on top of your print.

I then rolled the ink on my blocks and pressed them to my papers.  The faded out prints are "ghost prints".  If you don't know what a ghost print is - it is a 2nd printing without applying more ink.  I really like ghost prints.  It's almost like they're distressed or layered without even trying.  A note on the Speedball block printing ink - it is very think and can be very gloppy.  If you're using it, use it with very bold designs and/or think lines.  It tends to glop in the fine lines and they disappear.  They can still be seen some however because the ink will peak when you pull the block away, so you get a little bit of a relief effect.  So word of caution there.

That was it.  And then I printed and printed and printed and printed!

To wash the ink off the blocks, I just washed them with warm water.  The actual lino block is adhered to a block of wood - so don't get that wet... it will warp.  Use a stiff brush to get in the nooks. 

I will definitely be picking up some more blocks - probably the Speedy blocks as they are truly super easy to cut and will even try my hand at stamp making.  But more than likely, I'll just leave the stamps to the pros!

This project is kind of a sad one for me because it is my last one for the semester.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to take any studio classes next semester yet.  (The problem being that I go to a small campus, not the main one, and so it would require a commute.  We'll see how things line up closer to August.)

Just a great big paper and a Final Exam left in this class.  It's been super fun and I've totally enjoyed it.  It has made me try a few new things, get back to basics, and truly sparked my creativity.

Y'all have a great rest of your day and I'll see ya later!

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