Trying something new out on the ol' blog after a long hiatus - I've been more active with my own art projects lately, so I thought I'd try out a few posts on the processes using specific mediums and take the opportunity to show off a few of my own pieces at the same time.
This spring, shortly after my last post, I took a trip to Nicaragua and Costa Rica to visit a dear friend, learn how to surf, and just bum around Central America for a couple of weeks. One of the places we stayed was a little eco-tourism farm on the island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua. The farm had a small herd of skinny red cows that roamed about pretty freely - on the first afternoon we stayed there, I saw the entire herd troop down to the beach to drink from the lake - an especially surprising sight given that the lake is the size of a small sea, and the beach had white sand and a large tiki umbrella.
I took a few photos of the cows, and came home thinking they'd make for a great woodcut.
Now, read the rest of this with a word of caution: I am no great wood-cutter. I use linoleum sheets and rudimentary, large tools, and the result is often pretty rustic. But for this particular piece, I really liked that effect.
I generally start with a drawing, and make a few practice runs at how I'm going to do the actual cuts - where highlights and shadows should be, and what types of line I'll use. Lesson #1 of print making: your final product will be the mirror image of the object you use to make the print, which I usually forget completely. If I were more dedicated, I'd use tracing paper to make a reverse image from my original sketch.
Next I move to the linoleum itself - this is by far the most time consuming process for me, because I'm still only making prints with one color. I usually work out a basic outline, then go back and make deeper, wider cuts into places that should be highlighted. Here's how this linoleum turned out.
When I'm near satisfied, I start making practice runs, sometimes just using paint to save my ink. Once I've made all the tweaks and changes I can handle, I use Speedball ink (I have in red and black) and a roller and wooden spoon combo to make the print itself. I use a medium-quality archival print paper.
And here's the final! I like a few things about how this turned out: the rustic feel of the lines, as I mentioned, with their uneven quality and literally rough edges, the head-on stare of the cow's face, and the impact of the ears - I tried to emphasize them by increasing the size slightly and widening the lines outlining them.
I made copies in black and red, and framed four of them together.
If you really, really like it, I'll send you a copy. $20 for one cow, $30 for two, $50 for four, unframed. You pay shipping. Leave a comment or send a message via onsugar to request.