Saturday, October 20, 2007

Progress and Fun

I received two wonderful postcards for mail art swaps.
They are both so different and so accomplished.

From them I learned that I could use the stamp as the jumping off place
for the image.... okay, I guess it always is...but their use of color
bothe very different, both exciting.....

I would love to show whast I'm nattering on about, but I would have to
get permission to present them in this context.

They were instructive in my creation of the Autumn postcard....
I hope I have enough energy to make them for more than
the swap.

I use colored pencils and wrote a haiku. My trip to Walmart has resotcked me with colored pencils
a medium that is new to me, too. And red pens--- i was using some discarded red pens
the points thicker than i liked. So now i can write a bit more elegantly on the remaining postcards.

I've transferred the new angel to the inovart smoothcut that just arrived. yes i don't like the material but i
needed and block lareger than my 4 by 5 these are 4 by 6 which still cut off some of her wings....

meanwhile i've drawn a bunch of faces toward creating some face carvings and created a double fairy image to carve.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New Tools

The Flexcut micro palm set arrived today and wow! what ease--- 2 1mms , one 1.5 mm and one 2.5 mm...

Where I'd been using the Speedball knife and an exacto, now I have tools that can make the squiggles and remove the tiny bits with a lot less effort.

I've used them immediately to work on one of my angels! So glad I read about them in the Carving Consortium archives. They have made the little locks I was carving, easy.

Lovely little wooden box for them and I like how the wwood feels in my palm.

Assessing Materials

I want them to last, I want to use them up.
I read that linoleum doesn't last long.... and
this cache of 5 by 4 linoleum blocks, arriving as they did with the ancient
speedball materials, are just perfect. Firm, defined, easy to carve.

I'm told that this is how linoleum used to be... the best.
This linoleum I lucked into is the best of the materials I have tried:
the Dick Blick's Inovart Smooth-Cut Mounted Printing Block (weird, shredding kind of action)

Nasco's mounted linoleum block, ( really hard to work)
Nasco's Safety Kut circles (too wobbly)

Art Gum erasers (okay but very small)
Staedtler Mastercarve Artist Carving Block (also a bit too soft).

foam on boards ---- ewwww dented, marred by mere leaning on it the wrong way... and yes you can just scratch into it but that means it shows fingernail scratches.....

I've been using Speedball gouges, linozips and knives...
all ancient it seems, based on the lettering on the boxes and the prices
in the the literature eg. Baren for $3.70, cutters and handle $1.70,
block printing press $14.95 (! it is now around $65)
Based on conversation in the Carving consortium archives, I have blades from the golden
era of Speedball in terms of sharpness. My challenge is to keep them sharp.


I am digging my autumn scene as the image to use in the autumn swap, more than the three leaves.
Thus far I've benn using Brilliance archival ink... It occurs to me that if i had the lip/eye sized pads i could apply color discriminately on the stamp.

I did use rocket red and copper on a couple of pressing... on cardboard and on HMP. The hmp, didn't pick it up that well. So i moistened it. then on that stamping it blurred.... it's impressionisitic but not the stamp....

The warm weather is encouragin and almost overstimulating, so I may work up my courage to roll out ink on the benchplate i bought.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


So I've neglected all-- well nearly, I don't get to be as in the flow and neglectful I as used to be. I had to shop when the shopping bus came, had to place an order for the cat food, which means having to rise the requisite two hours before, be ready the requisite ten minutes before... etc. But I just had to carve a teensy bit before rolling downstairs and carved again this afternoon.

I comforted my failure with the fall scene by:

1. Changing the positive and negative
2. carving my leaf drawing
3. carving my other fall drawing.

Now I feel better, LOL.

I love the leaves and the other fall scene. I finally figured out that I need to reverse the horizantal in the carving, so I scanned in the autumn road scene and then had photoshop flip it, printed it out and then rubbbed the back with pencil and redrew it on the block.....

Sadly the tracing paper i purchased works not at all on the lino blocks...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Waaah! First Failure

I loved this scene.

It reminds me of a picture I took for my nephew Kent to show him what fall looks like in a place where we had hung out in summer-- Spence Crest Nature Center.

This scene though, is more horizontal. And is shows the road, not a path... both more compressed renedering of distances....

and I formatted the picture to my block proportions and then derived a drawing from it. that took a lot of thinking..... how to render those leaf masses.

I just had my first failure--- I tried some foam and the result is muddy and weird
and the same image on lino.... still isn't doing what i wnat it do do..... wondering if
I should make the trees negative vs. positive and leave the leaf mass as the positive... or vice versa--- make the leaves, since they are light, negative... leaving just ribbons of lines to suggest them....

I joined an Autumn Swap and spent the past week also working on the drawing of my angel for an Angel swap.
Then I realized I have a simpler and more lovely angel that i drew last Chrstmas, but not in time to use for Holiday cards.

I haven't found an easy way to transfer....I bought transfer paper and am disappointed that it is less effective than pencil on the back of my drwaing and then redrawing on the lino......

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A New Journey Begins

I started carving in August for an exchange called Fine Art Valentines-- 2 by 2 inches to be printed on 4 by 4.

I drew several images and won an incredible auction on eBay that equipped me with a half dozen handles, a bunch of gouges, a block printing press, paper, ink and some wonderful mounted-on-wood lino blocks.

I didn't know they were wonderful at the tiime.

I went on to buy some 2" by 2 " mounted lino blocks from Nasco that left my fingers sore and bruised.

Last week I tried Art Gum erasers and some white stuff mounted on foam called Inovart from Dick Blick ( didn't like either of them).

I wish I knew the manufacturer of this old lino. The new 2 by 2's I bought are mounted on press-chips vs wood, like these lovely blocks. Since I've made about 16 carvings since starting, I think I'm hooked....

I need to find tools for registration and inexpensive drying racks.

I've yet to ink up the benchplate I bought--- I'm nervous about
making that kind of mess. I've only used Brilliance inkpads,

I look forward to tackling multicolor printing and trying " suicide" or reduction printmaking.