Friday, March 26, 2010

Mylar and run seven preview

After a couple days trying to learn to use a mat cutter and doing some non print related art, I finally went to the studio to start on run number seven. Before that though I printed the key block onto some mylar to see how much changes I'm gonna need to do, because I changed the treetops and a couple other small things.

I was pretty happy to finally get an idea of what it was going to look like generally.  The textures of the street fence and roofs on the key block were experiments to keep or leave, and I'll probably end up keeping everything except the sreet/parking lot.

For the underlying street texture did some anti-stenciling with some coarse sandpaper and ran it through the press-

The lower picture is sandpaper face down
and on the right is the result lot waiting to get inked up with the stencil surrounding it

I got kicked out of the studio right as I was finishing mixing my colors. I was just there for a proof but I spent too much time on the stencil, should have stuck just with the street and sky without messing with the house roof and woman's purse. Everytime that happens I bring one home because I spent all that time preparing for a proof but don't get one. The positive was that I got the sky mostly right as far as shape - I pretty much killed the first color block for some reason, so even though I used a stencil for the treetops on run six, I carved little outlines because i usually overink things and my stencils are cheap adhesives that get dirty and bend and break easily. Getting better with the over inking, but because of the tree outlines I had to go back to fill them with some fake wood, sand it down and shellack it again. It was hard to see the original image from the key block transfer so getting the stencil right was a little harder than it should have been.

At home I have only one roller and no real space and everything is messy. My cat loves to walk on whatever inks I'm mixing on my paper plates and then leave his footprints wherever he wants. Its hard to stop him because he has a lot of determination. I had a good idea of my blue but not sure of the street color, so I did the wrong thing and rolled the street first, then the sky. I got everything rolled and used the wood spoon I got from a kitchen drawer. The gray was too way too light and spotty no matter what I did with the spoon. After a few feet away you couldn't really tell anything was there, and instead of cleaning the roller I just used cut up paper plates like a palette knife to slide on darker gray and respoon it. The texture was kind of intricate so lifting paper everywhere to re-ink things gave me a lot of filling in with paper moving just a little bit. The lighting here was pretty yellow so the first sky color isn't so blue looking.

Spotty and bad street, but I'm happy because it will be much easier to deal with at the studio with a press and all the ink modifiers.
And finally, with the mylar -

Again yellow lookin but I think its gonna turn out good, I'm going to try to finish this run this weekend, adding some advertising on the windows.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Run 5 complete, one print out of run 6

This one's after run 5. Runs 4-5 were both smaller separated areas. Run 4 had some rooftops, and the red S's. A second color to the neighbor's fence, and I think some red on the gas pumps. #5 added a pair of jeans, the A's, the first greys on the pumps and the ice box. One of those two put some more tree's in there. After#5 I decided 6 would be finishing the mulch/sa walls/sa fence.
Color didn't work at all.
Instead of fixing those areas first I decided to start on the trees and then sky color before I can decide how orange to go.

So 14 hours in the studio, one print of one run, which is funny because that was actually my goal. Carving time and planning. Have to work on the colors and transparency but I think the rest will come out all right. Havent been able to find a rhythm in printing, confusing myself with inks. I've been avoiding the people that aren't there yet and more small, close ink areas. Trying to figure out if the base colors will decide small emphasized areas or the other way around. For now, just keep working through and it will figure itself out eventually.
 edit to add - this is the texture I want for the first parking lot color, done by placing a 13 grit sandpaper on a separate block of sheena and running it through the press very hard. The 3 versions are just rolled with with different ink consistencies.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Run 3 (almost) finished

Just got back from being kicked out from the art studio. Security at the U of M ususally kicks you out around 2-3 am if you're an undergrad. Only problem - I only had 3 prints left to go (out of 25 or so), which would have taken 15 minutes if I had the time. I don't mind getting kicked out normally but considering I now have to set up /clean up space with multiple rollers and inks for just 3 more prints, it sucks. Oh well.
This print is about as confusing as it gets, for me. I'm using a key black block and two blocks for color, each with their own areas, and using them mostly reductively. This is a view after my third run (Small reds, blue car windows, and hosta greens).

Not a big difference compared to run 2, but it's starting to get there. Here's some after run #2

I'm using stencils for small color areas before I carve them away and get to the big stuff.

Here's a view of an inked block on the press ready for printing:

I'm getting great advice on how to successfully allow inks lay on top of each other, but I already created a big problem in about half of my prints. On my first run, I printed the (first) sidewalk color, over everything that would end up with that color in it in one way or another. Most of it will be covered up in time. Me, being so smart, decided it would be much faster to over-ink a block once, print with less pressure, and then without inking again print a ghost print with more pressure. It saved time and at the time I was happy with the two variations of the original sidewalk yellow. I'm so good with shortcuts. Unfortunately, printing green over a yellow that's not exactly there doesn't look so good.

Now compare this to a print that wasn't ghosted on the sidewalk run:

So much better. It still looks like nothing, but I know that when it's done the hosta leaves are going to look much better than the rest. I have been changing the colors around all throughout the process, so I have about five prints with a different sidewalk yellow. I say mid-success:

And finally, an in-studio picture of attempted order, and the color blocks as they are now.

Block 2, with orbiting cat

And block 3

So much work and such a slow process. I'm not sure where I'm going next, my gut says go for all the small color areas so I can know how to relate them to the bigger, more important areas. But I'm very impatient and might end up starting to outline the Super America and fill in the parking lot and sky...