Monday, July 6, 2015

still listening pausing

New goodies this week! 2 new, life scale blocks:) :

 and details to show the added drawing:

I tried a new (for me) transfer technique with these, and was so focused on making the portrait, that I didn't take process photos, but I remembered to document the development of the hands block.

So a little background to explain how we got here...these are my hands in the same pose as the polyester lithography plate from a few weeks ago.
ball point pen on polyester lithography plate
So I've been thinking (uh oh ;) )...
One idea was to take this polyester plate and print it onto a relief block as an under drawing. I've done this before (for example, with the raptor), and it works. I could also just redraw the hands on the block (also something I do a lot; it also works). But...

I got to thinking about the small heart from a few weeks ago. As mentioned, I've carved a lot of hearts, but I think this is the best. I got to wondering why - I think one reason it that the tools are well-matched to the level of specificity.

If that's it - great! Just use larger tools for the bigger piece, easy - right? ("easy" ? - hahaha.)

Another reason I think the small blocks are better is a little more complicated.  I think it has to do with the fact that I can see the whole thing at once. Above about 5 or 6 inches, I can't see the whole thing at once, and even though I take photos to see it small on the screen, unless I check very, very frequently (which is disruptive) the sections become disjointed, and I get a little lost in the pattern of the marks, loosing the structure of the thing they represent. So, the problem is not just using larger marks, but how to keep them relating to one another correctly (Hmmmmmm).

These are the small scale blocks from June 
The other transfer techniques work in part because I can check and make adjustments before carving (and also, it ensures that the carving is never a first attempt at rendering the thing - practice is built in).

Even though it works, I'm not sure it's the best way - I loose the drawing underneath and the media don't relate that closely. I wanted to look for a way where the relationship between the media is more straightforward and the computer does more of the work.  I like the smaller head and hands from June, so I decided to try to blow them up digitally, print and xerox them, then transfer to the block.

 It (sort of) worked.

xerox transfer to block - had a little trouble
with getting the paper off evenly without
damaging the transfer underneath (more practice needed)
Once I had the transfer, I used it as a guide - the size of the marks increased with the increase in overall scale, so it helped as a guide for larger marks.

But the smaller scale has less detail than a larger version can accommodate. So, once, I had as much information as I could get from the transfer, I let it go, inked the block, and went back to the source for more information. I added greater detail with the smaller tools around the information that was already there.

This idea of marks within marks and patterns within patterns is appealing to me. After I had the proofs, I tinted the paper a little darker with black acrylic, printed, and then added white and a tiny bit of color on top with ink, gouache, and color pencil.

block on the left - carved with the information from the transfer; on the right, round 2, adding new information
 On the one hand, I feel like I'm making progress (Yay!). On the other hand, there are some other art-things that need attention at the moment (Eep!)

One, necessary if not super-exciting thing I did this week was organize blocks. This always feels to me like a Sisyphian task (oy!), but looking at the photo from last week made me realize just how many blocks were out (the angel of loss figure alone has 8 full-sheet blocks, so, they do start to add up pretty quickly).

Overall, I am very happy with the blocks I use - because they're so thin and flexible, they're almost impossible to crack and can be stored vertically in books instead of needing trays (also - they come in a "classroom" pack - economic quantity is key :) ). Still...sometimes I feel like the blocks are taking over the studio. I thought I was doing a good thing to order binders and put blocks away (gold star!), turned out I needed twice as many binders as I have (Oops.)

books of blocks....
so much time represented in such a small space