Thursday, 26 April 2012

Next birdie suite - Oystercatcher

Just about halfway through my next print, which is another Pembrokeshire picture with birds in. This time Oystercatchers instead of Chough. Oystercatchers are such a linocut bird. They have lovely bold black and white plumage and big pointy red beaks just perfect for a bit of a focal point in a linocut seascape.

This is the tracing I use to transfer the image to lino, after which I coloured it in to give me a rough idea what I was doing and to work out the what and where of the graduations.

During my last course,  with Sarah and Bob, we were looking through the work of an American Woodcut artist called JJ Lankes, who did lovely atmospheric black and white work. We were after inspiration on a background for Bob's bird. JJ uses a signature method for half-toning his skies by cutting fine parallel lines ( See below ) which Bob really liked and thought might work on his print, and he was right.

JJ Lankes 

I was already interested in the way it looked in JJ's prints and after seeing the results of Bob's print thought I should give it a go. ( One of the main reasons for having my workshops is to try out techniques and experiment safely with/on other artists work, that and steal any nice ideas they might have, of course. Thanks Bob ) I also wanted to try it out because I could use a darker toned blue for the first layer, giving a darker sea, without the sky, hopefully, being too dark as it would be more of a halftone due to all the cutting. This will negate the need for a second graduation being used mainly to darken down the sea and save it for the foreground. I also liked the way it gives a bit of body to the clouds without using the second colour.

First layer graduation.

First layer graduation. The sea has come out a bit greener than I would like due to the yellow in the foreground brown mixing with the blue in the background colour for the hills. Think it will work out okay as the sea will lighten as the following colours go on. Happy with the waves and do like the linear cutting for the sky just not sure if it works with the rest of the picture. It seems to instantly date that part of the picture as old and make it more woodcutty. Which may then clash with the rest of the print. Although again it will lighten up and should become more subtle and tonal as the darker colours go on around it, especially the birds. 

Detail showing sky & Oystercatchers

The second colour graduation. Much happier with the colour of the sea now the hills are darker and the crashing waves are building up nicely. Sky still a bit forward but I think once the last black colour goes on and the birds are a nice dramatic black and white it should, should, look okay. 

Second layer graduation

Do like the big billowing clouds though but could have cut a bit more white away from the tops to make them lighter and fluffier. ( My next print is of the Happisburgh lighthouse in Norfolk which, being Norfolk, has a very BIG sky with lots of fluffy and angry clouds filling more than half the picture so I will try this method again with those but really go to town. )

Tomorrow I print the third colour. Although I need to first finish the cutting of the waves and decide on the texture/patterning of the rocks as well as which sections of the wet sand in the foreground to cut away. Not even sure which colour/s/graduation to use. I'm hoping inspiration will hit overnight. I'll also put up Sarah and Bob's pictures in the next post.

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