Monday, February 13, 2017

unicorn body and branch

A cold and snowy week in Artlandia. The upside is that I was inside carving - a lot. 

I finished the 18 x 24" block of a branch for the life scale tree (thumbs up.)  

Then...I decided to make (another) life-scale unicorn. I know, I have one...but I feel like I could make an even better one now.  I couldn't stop thinking about it (trust me, I tried.)
Print of  the head and horn blocks from the first unicorn.

Some of my supplies are low right now so carving a small block, scanning, and transferring to polyester plates to print on the block as a template isn't the best option at the moment. I started to get frustrated about this, but, then remembered that I can still draw just fine, and this isn't' my first big unicorn or creature block at this scale (the fox). I decided to draw what I want directly on the block and go for it.
24 x 30" block with underdrawing

Then I carved and carved and carved

These have a lot of scraping in them for woodblocks (the block for the head is softer.) I kept it nearby to try and keep them stylistically consistent.

The composition on the block is 22 x 30" because that's the size of the paper I'm using (Stonehenge). I could carve bigger and switch to a bigger paper, but for now that's about the maximum size that I can handle easily both during carving and printing (larger than that and it's hard for me to move the block around.)

With the first three of the seven deadly sins collages, I used the 22 x 30" paper size to set the composition size (also, I made them for the Zea Mays Flat File, where 30 x 22" is the maximum size O:) ). Now I want to shift gears and use that as the maximum size per block...which would lead to making the compositions much bigger.  I'm starting to have enough pieces to work with (the tree, the fox, the phoenix, the unicorn), but I still haven't figured out how to build the rest of the composition. (doh.)

One thing I've learned from dealing with "adhesive issues" is that like things adhere to like things (paper to paper). If the support changes, then a physical method of attachment is probably needed (like sewing paper to fabric or stapling canvas to wooden bars).  I could use bigger paper as the support, but since I don't trust adhesive, I think I want to change the support and use physical attachment methods (hmmmmmmmmm)

I've been studying lots and lots of inspirations - favorites this week, the Medieval "winged stag tapestry," as well as Harry Clarke stained glass and Kay Nielsen and Arthur Rackham illustrations.  I also went back to one of my favorite books - Grand Scale: Monumental Prints in the Age of Durer and Titan,  by Larry Silver and Elizabeth Wyckoff.

The research helps...but I sort of feel like I'm on my own for some of the more technical aspects since what I want to do is specific and unusual. Luckily, one of the great things about working with prints is that because the majority of the labor is in the block, if I try something and it totally fails, I can remake the parts and try again.

One aspect I'm still working out is the ground - I think I'm looking for something between a monotype (paper marbling is a form of monotype) and a relief print - something that has a fixed matrix in it, so I sort of know what I'm going to get, but that is variable enough that it can be expanded without repetition. I'm thinking it might be collagraph (which has the additional advantage that it works well in large sheets so I could have a 22 x 30" plate and print a full sheet in one pass.)... Of course, I've never made a collagraph (haha - not that I'd let that stop me ;) .)  Hmmmm.

Lots of time carving to think about it while I finish the unicorn...

In non-art news
Honey looooooves the snow (the kitties (and human) prefer inside fun, preferably near a heated blanket and/or fireplace); however, I do love seeing the pup playing and enjoying herself.

"If I turn my head, I can pretend not to hear my
Human telling me it's time to go inside"
An activity I call "puppy snow angels"