It’s been awhile. I finished the Fall print, but not soon enough to send as a Fall card. We have a brand new year. And, I have made significant progress on a new print!
I finished carving the initial key block some time ago. There are lots of lines; it took awhile! Here is is before and after I cleaned off the transfer paper.
My hope for this print is that I can move in the direction of the subtlety and detail of some of the shin-hanga prints. This is an open question at this point! I think it is possible that many of the lines of this block may get replaced later by lines on other blocks, and so be carved away. (This is called “mudabori”, or “wasted carving.”)
Here’s an early test print showing the key block lines and a light shading block, printed using neutral tint.
Today I started trying out colors! I’m printing without the key block lines at first, to see which areas work well without them.
One more test print adding some green:
I have one more already-carved block that will add a reddish-brown color. Then I will think about what other blocks are needed, what needs to be trimmed, etc. This one will be long in the making, but I think it will be worth it!
I’m getting ready to print another round of “By Starlight,” this time on the excellent washi I received from my friends at Mokuhankan, for sale in their shop. When I printed the first batch, I didn’t take notes. So I did a small run on Shin Torinoko (machine made washi) to test out colors.
First I cleaned up the blocks. They were carved mostly with v-gouges and u-gouges, so were quite rough.
After the first few impressions, things are looking really saturated and bright:
I did my best to tame the saturated color with Payne’s Gray. Here is a comparison with one of the original prints, which is on the bottom.
There’s too much yellow in the center, I believe, and the water near the horizon is too green. The upper part of the sky and the lower part of the water look pretty good though! I will do another test before the official printing. But I am happy with how smooth I was able to get the printing in the test prints.
This heron is pretty tired of having fish every day.
I’m actually printing the first few colors now, but will need to do some more testing of the final layers. The steak looks best in the one on the left, after I got rid of the line defining the front edge of the upper surface. The yellow is too saturated on the rightmost image and too light on the third; the water looks best on the second; and I like the like brown bokashi in the third image on the topmost and foreground rocks. The blue is required for the water but not working for the rock shadows in the foreground, at the water line and under the bridge. That’s the main experiment that needs to be done!