Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Lighter Side of Graveyards

As was the case for the last print, I had to overcome a very oppressive darker color to allow the brightness of future colors to show. The second color on "Memorial Day" was a very dark shadow gray, and the next color is a bright pink. I printed a buffer of plain white, which brought the color down to a more manageable shade.

The method at work here is called "reduction printing," in which one block is used, and areas are cut away for each color. The drawback to this method is trying to maintain the brightness of colors; you can usually tell a reduction print by the darkness of the colors; I have had prints start of with explosive, bright color, only to end up a muddy mess. A few talented printers out there have somehow beat the system (I recommend Gordon Mortenson as a prime example). I intend to be in that small crowd.

As you can see in the above photo, the white has buffered the dark gray back to a very light gray. This should accept the light pink very easily. It is hard to get an idea of where the print is going in this view, but in this backlit picture, you get a better idea of what I'm going for.

The next challenge is creating a vibrant pink and presenting it in a way that is going to breath some life into what at this stage looks like a very cold print!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hidden Gems

My wife and I are road trip junkies; every weekend finds us lost somewhere in the hills and valleys surrounding Buffalo. This is a great time of year, full of freshly mown grass, bright blue skies and roadside stands bursting with nature's bounty.

Our artists' eyes dart along the landscape, looking for interesting ideas and compositions. This work in progress, "Memorial Day," was a happy accident. As we were driving around the village of Cuba, we missed a turn to a wildlife management area. I turned around by ducking into a small cemetery, still decorated with flags from Memorial Day the weekend before.

The aged stones agains the bright flowers and lush greens of the lawn and surrounding trees left a mark on me, and I knew I would have to mark up some paper when I got home.

This is the first two colors, a very light gray and a dark gray. I'm very nervous about this one, as I need to create bright colors over the very dark gray. Please stay tuned as I try to navigate this one without it ending up in the print graveyard.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Autumn Camping

Last night I finished this print, still untitled, and I have to say that I am extremely pleased with the result. I apologize for the picture quality (camera phone, poor light). The colors really seen to come out with the addition of the brown and black.

For those in the know, this is the second print I have done of one of these small vintage trailers. The first, "Little Camper" (2009) was a favorite at shows. It was never my favorite, believing I could do better work. That years ago now. I'm more confident with my style, I'm working in a larger format, and I have become far more knowledgeable of the subject. We see these beautiful little midcentury gems all over in our travels, and while I wasn't looking for a "trademark" subject, I can guarantee you will be seeing more of these in the near future.

"Little Camper" (2009) Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Dean


Monday, June 10, 2013

What Can Brown Do For You?

I'll admit to being a little discouraged following the printing of the last color. It's sort of a curse with reduction printing -- you just don't know how the finished product will look until it's done. And I will admit to being more than a little surprised when the brown layer seemed to bring the whole picture to life.
There is one more color -- the black -- which should really give everything some definition. The brown really brings out the reds and oranges of the leaves, and enhancing the warmer colors really brings the cool turquoise out.
I was about halfway through with the turquoise when I almost trashed the bunch. Artistic temperament, I guess. Luckily, a deep breath, and some soothing tunes from Bob Dylan's Tempest CD, and I continued.
Uncle Bob has seen me through a lot of tough spots.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

And We're Back

Well, I sure do need to focus, don't I.

There are two more colors to go on this one, but I'm very skeptical about how it's all going to come together. I guess I'll just shut up about it until I'm done.