Friday, 4 May 2012

Robin and Rosie

Had a double date today with Rosie, and printed the Robins red breast as an insert patch with my smallest roller. After cutting out the red breast and the growing tips of the stump.  I then mixed up a dark brown with blue and red for the remaining layer. As the red was only on the cut away part of the print I didn't need to wait for the layer to dry so I could move on to what could become the final layer.

As I mentioned in the previous post, with all the cutting on the Robin and the background I wanted to avoid over cutting the stump as well. So when inking up I varied the ink on the roller and the print to allow some of the background to show through. I also used the very complicated technical trick of wiping some of the ink off with a damp rag to give a bit of highlight in slightly random places.

As usual for an artist, my favourite part of the print is a tiny bit hidden away somewhere, unnoticed by all other viewers. This print is no different. The two small stumps in the immediate foreground on this print are my bits du jour. Dark tipped shapes paling to a lighter fading base, lovely. What do you mean you didn't notice them??

Not quite sure this is dark enough as I was going to do a final black, especially for the little fella's eyes and beaks. Those beady bright black eyes are a signature of the robin, and while I'm quite relaxed about the rest of the print, I'm not so sure I can get away without those black eyes. Any thoughts?

Paper? Well it took the ink well, slight issue with the impressions having a tidal mark but as before that is more of an issue with over liquid inks due to the water soluble vehicle and perhaps a bit of over zealous pressure on my part with the baren. As with any new partner you cannot act with the old ways you have to grow together in a new partnership, find new ways of working together... mmm perhaps taking this tortured metaphor a bit too far. I just got a bit carried away because, as fellow expert printmaker Sherrie York mentioned, the search for the perfect print paper is always there. So when you think you have found it, especially after previous disappointment, it's very easy to get a bit carried away and get a bit gushy!

The paper is...drum roll please...mould made Fabriano Rosaspina. 285gsm two deckled edges of soft well sized printmaking pleasure. Enjoy.


  1. Hi Ian

    The print looks fine, I'd be tempted to leave it as it is without going any darker. Although I may be a bit biased as I'm going through something of an anti-black phase at the moment.

    1. Hi Stuart,
      I did leave it as it is. Understand the anti black thing also, I have just started using black again after feeling that it was too heavy and seemed to kill the colour subtlety of a print right at the end. I started using a darker version of the penultimate colour. Deep purples, chocolate browns etc which seemed to work better. I use black now when I need it as much as a colour as the last darkest tone. BTW I may well be 'popping' up to the Calder Gallery to deliver work for their print show sometime in July. maybe we can meet up for that pint?

  2. I of COURSE went straight to my usual online sources for paper and after moment's panic (my first supplier only carries the lighter version) I did find it. Whew! I'll have to put in a little order and see what happens. (But not until I get back, I don't think.)

    It's good to keep new relationships to oneself until a little confidence has been achieved. Thanks for introducing us to your new gal... I hope she turns out to be a good friend at the very least.

    Oh. And I'm kind of with Stuart on the anti-black thing, only because I'm trying to wean myself from relying on high contrast images. But then again, you have such juicy contrast already that a little extra dark won't likely look out of place.

    Not helpful, Sherrie. Not helpful. Cheers!

    1. Hi Sherrie,

      Hope you had a good trip and I will look forward to seeing the new prints that come out of it? Also be great to hear how you get on when you try out the Rosaspina? I shall be buying some new sheets to try out on a full size landscape soon so watch this space. I would also like to try out the bigger size on a print twice the size of my usual as I have been looking for a paper strong enough for the extra size.

      Again with Stuart I agree about the high contrast. Sometimes a nice subtle range of similarly toned colours can be really attractive.

      Helpful as always Sherrie, helpful as always. Cheers