Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My First Color Reduction Print 1

The local Appalachian Arts Center had a call for submissions for a juried exhibition entitled, Bel Paese, or "Beautiful Country" featuring artworks contributed by local artists in response to Italian art and culture. I decided that I would use the opportunity to try my first color reduction print. I had an idea about a church in the mountains based on my husband's Waldensian heritage and proceeded to design my print with all the color layers necessary to create mountains in the distance and the church on a hill in the foreground. Had I really thought it through, given my lack of experience with reduction prints, I wouldn't have used so many colors! If you are unfamiliar with reduction prints, the name comes from the process of carving more from the block with each successive layer. A new, usually darker, color is applied with each layer. There's no going back and printing more if you make a mistake!

The first layer was easy enough and I printed 12 figuring that at least 1 of them, and hopefully more, would come out well in the end.  Because I'm not using a printing press, I had to find an alternate way to line up the paper over the prints. The erasercarver printmaking blog I follow had just the solution, using a piece of foam board. However, because the foam board was so much lower than the block, I wasn't particularly successful at lining the paper up with as much precision as I should have.

The second color was a light blue for the farthest mountain range. Note that I carved out the church walls, leaving only the windows so that the walls would take on the gray from the first layer. I moved the foam board higher on the block so it was easier to line the paper up, which helped.

The third color was a darker blue for the next mountain range. Note that the layers of color are building up on the print. Due to my poor registration on the first layer of the print, by this point in the process, I knew I was only going to have one print that would come out as I planned. Though the layers of the other prints line up pretty well, they don't line up with the first layer so the windows are not centered where they should be. I kept telling myself that it's a learning experience and continued all 12 prints.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on Thursday!

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