Thursday, February 4, 2010

10 very productive days in Val David

I wanted to apologize for leaving everyone in the dark during my 10 day retreat in Val David, usually I blog at least every 2-3 days while I am there, about a week before I left my laptop broke, and I borrowed one from school, but safari kept crashing on it every few minutes, it was very frustrating. Therefore I decided to wait until I return and get to use Scott's computer. So this entry is going to fill in the gabs and show in detail what I've been working on during my stay.

Before I left for Val David I prepared the 2nd 2x8ft lino, first I draw the rough outlines of the image on cheap mulberry paper, than trace it into the block itself, and draw in the pattern. After the first lino took me about 2 1/2 months to carve I decided to approach this one differently. Instead of slowly working my way accross the block, i carved by pattern, drew in the first 2 patterns, carved those, then drew the rest, etc. Turns out that was the better approach for me since lino #2 only took me 3 weeks to carve.
Upon arrival in Val David I walked to the local hardware store and bought two 3/4 inch 2x8ft boards of plywood for mounting my lino. When I carve lino i automatically break the surface tension of the material, and once inked up and washed the softer layers below the hard surface soak up anything wet, causing the lino to warp and buckle. Even with small pieces it is important to mount it to something, could be an aluminum plate, wood, masonite..etc.. It stabilizes the block and ensures that I can pull large editions over a long period of time without the running into problems.
I bought a huge bucket of non-toxic "latex" contact cement. It was a different brand than what I usually use and for some strange reason had this ugly mint-green color. ;) For mounting permanently with contact cement you have to cover both surfaces with it 1-2 layers and then let it dry before laying one surface on top of the other. When placing them, you have one chance to get it right, the second they touch that's it. It is a very strong bond. So the first block I mounted it by having two people holding it up and I slowly aligned it and lowered it onto the wood moving from one side to the other. A bit of a pain in the butt. Definitely worth it though.

My linos weren't all that straight either so I had to trim a bit off the sides of the wood, not a problem though. :)

Before I could print the first lino I had to chop away all the large areas that I didn't want to print, since the lino is mounted to wood, it's stable enough to chop away as much as I want without having to worry about any accidental holes.

Seeing lino #1 inked for the first time.

After I figured out the colors I wanted and several proofs, I settled on printing everything with a spoon, instead of the printing press. Hard work but guaranteed perfect impression.

As soon as I finished printing lino #1 I had to finish carving lino#2 since the plan was to finish both and get both printed during my stay.

Again I chopped away everything BUT the pattern.

Detailed shots of lino#2 pattern. It varies from lino#1

One of the proofs of lino #2, I decided it was too dark, so the next one (see below) I tried a different color combination.

The ricepaper is so thin, that when you rub over it with a spoon, the image comes through almost perfectly, this helps to see what spots haven't had enough pressure yet. (See bottom right of picture which hasn't been "spooned" yet. This whole "spooning" work was the subject to many "spooning" jokes. It was decided that I am a Master Spooner. ;).

again the light/hazy areas are the ones that haven't been "spooned" yet.

As I started to finish up with my linos I began working on a small litho that is also supposed to be part of the Box project organized by SPA (Student Print Association at concordia)

After all the carving and all the spooning, my arm muscles didn't even feel the difference when I switched to printing litho, and I ended up printing an edition of 60 in 8 1/2 hours. (This is a lot of prints in a little time, trust me.)

6 of these I printed on Somerset rag paper, the rest was all on Baika Ricepaper. (the cut offs from my large linos worked perfectly for this small format (10x10inch) edition.)

the image on the wet stone.

proofs and the finished edition.

on about 50 of the 60 prints I printed a section of lino #1 (yes, that means 50 times more spooning.. ). Sorry for the bad quality picture. Without my laptop I'm a bit limited in my means.

This is what the back of it looks like.

And this is what happens when you hold it up to the light. :) The lino pattern almost turns clear.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Fantastisch,ich kann es kaum erwarten die Show zu sehen!
Love Mom

Racheal said...

so i jst read all of these posts and the only thing i can say is HOLY SHIT. you are a tour d'force!
i hope your wrists are holding up....but i think it's worth it...this art is amazing

miss you

Maria Doering said...

I just thought about you, I listened to my favorite Jason Mraz song of all time (I think his funniest) "Older Lover Undercover" and you are the one who sent me that cd a long time ago. haha.
I miss you too!!!!!