Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What can I say, I was mad.

I came across this in my paper portfolio; I did this literally as a one-day etching sketch (Etch-A-Sketch?) on July 8th, 2011 — the morning the last Shuttle Atlantis launched.

It's a 3"x5" plate with a deep, 25-minute open-bite etch around the figure. The lady is wearing a live chicken for a hat, as one does; a concept freely filched from astounding (and often hilarious) artist Omar Rayyan's earlier work. (I'm kicking myself for not buying one of the bird-hat paintings from him back at the WorldCon in 2001 when I had the chance, but I have two other original watercolors of his now that I treasure that I bought from him at IlluxCon '09.)

This plate has only a total of four hours into it and was drawn directly into the ground with no preliminary sketch or transfer, mostly using the point of a curved, steel burnishing tool. Who says I can't work fast when I want to...?

The lettering behind her is my angry rant about the sloppy end of the manned American space program I grew up with near Cape Canaveral (I was born a few months before Alan Shepard's Freedom 7 flight), at least as we know it now. It doesn't matter what the text says; it's written directly into the ground, so it's backwards and kind of stream-of-consciousness-ranty and contains various cuss words. Looks agreeably important & mysterious, though, dunnit? ;-)

I kind of like this weird little print to commemorate that morning. Strange day, indeed.

Current linocut color comp

I'm still carving the final block here; my original intention was to have this ready to debut at the Palm Harbor art show this weekend, but I decided not to rush the last few stages. I know it's taking forever, but I'm attempting to do something here with water, refraction and transparency, using five blocks and eight colors I've never attempted before. Plus: this is the stage where I usually do something really stupid, like carving out a section on a block that shouldn't be carved out.

Hence: the Photoshop color comp. If Gustave Baumann had had Photoshop (and was under 60 at the time...), he woulda used it instead of doing a whole gouache painting to organize his process. Not that doing a gouache painting as a preliminary organizational comp isn't extremely cool and something I plan on doing myself...

The black you see in the image is a scan of the actual black keyblock, though not the final carving. Other color added in Photoshop. Each of the five layers has one to two ink colors that aren't touching and are separated enough that they can be inked w/ a small 1.5" brayer, if necessary. The light lavender layer is actually transparent, and reflects that I'll be using a lot of ink base extender to get that kind of transparency on the block. The dark green layers under the boat will be rolled and brushed out to get that gradation for each print.

Yah, this is kind of nuts.

Original image credit: © Michael Jones 2011, photographer.