Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Three Woodblock Acanthus Prints

I'm continuing to work with the print block I carved.  Here are three paintings I've done with it.  First I worked up the backgrounds, which often contain a number of layers of ink.  Each time I add a layer, I have to wait for some time between applications to add another layer.  Because of the nature of YUPO, when I do add paint, it needs to be done quickly and with NO mistake.  There's no going back with this stuff.  Any error will smudge off all underlying layers, down to the white.  Trust me on this one, I toss a bunch because the process is so tricky.  That old adage about artists producing 20 paintings to come up with one they like is pretty close to the mark.
I like this one because it's really bright and cheery.  The photo doesn't really show that the blue of the acanthus is a really stand-out color.  Of course, because blue and orange are complimentaries, that doesn't hurt, but the blue looks quite bright in person.
I added iridescents and bronzes to the paint for this one.  When you view it in person, it has the effect of floating on top of the background, for which I chose colors loosely representing a night sky.  I painted in some minimal shading to further the effect.

This one particularly shows the qualities I'm searching for in the details of the print.  There are spots without paint and spots that show the grain of the wood, which gives it an antiquey (is that a word? ... it is now!) flavour.  If I'm going to take the 40 hours to carve a woodblock, I want people to know when they view the prints!

This last one is called Acanthus Rising, and is my youngest son's favorite.  Once again, I built up many layers to give it a three-dimensional effect which, desunfortunadamente, does not show up online.  You can get a feel of some of the reflective qualities, though, and the bright spot on the top left is where the bronzes were reflecting light.  Because of the wildness of the background, I handpainted in more of the details of the flower to bring attention back to it.

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