Sunday, June 30, 2013

Totally worth it

“Your mind is a canvas, 
your experiences are the paint colors 
and your actions are the brushes that show the art in you.”

-- Louise Philippe Dulay

Self portrait 6-29-13

"I search for the realness, 
the real feeling of a subject, 
all the texture around it."

-- Andrew Wyeth

Linoleum block for self portrait 6-30

Inked linoleum block for self portrait 6-30

These are the linoleum block prints that I shed my blood for.
There is something about this low-tech, hands-on, gouging out process that is immensely gratifying.

Unlike a photograph, which is a one-step process, a lino-cut self portrait happens in several stages.

First I shoot a photo, then pare it down to it's barest shadows. 

With carbon paper (yes, it still exists, and yes, it's still as much fun to play with as when we were kids) I transfer the image to the un-carved block.

Then, with a really sharp set of carving tools, I remove the material that fills the negative spaces, one little curled shaving at a time, until the image is revealed. This is the part where I am prone to cut myself. I almost always do. Sometimes it's just a little nick. Other times ... well, see yesterday's post about the other times.

Finally, I ink the block and press it onto paper. I can make as few or as many prints as I want to from the same block, and every one will be slightly, uniquely different from all the others. The flaws become assets -- character.

The ink is thick, so the print has texture that I can see and feel. It seems "real-er" than anything that comes out of my computer printer.

Yeah, my finger still hurts and is going to take a long time to heal, but the prints were satisfying enough to take away the sting. It was totally worth the pain.