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Layer Upon Layer

Have started work on a new woodblock of a nocturne scene in the Rio Grande Gorge.

I print light to dark using the reduction process of carving between each color run, reducing the print area of the block with each printing/carving. Nocturnes are different as the mid-tones in the image are on the darker side of the value scale.

For example, on Viejo San Acacio, the mid-tones in the image range from #3 to #6, with the accents on the #7 value range. This is of course in a value scale of 10 moving from white to black. I use this progression of light to dark values to define shapes and form in the image.

On a nocturne, the light end of the mid-tones is a dark #4 value moving up to a #8 value with the hi-lite accents being a #2 or 3 instead of a #1 (white). So, when printing those first few colors, it is easy to be too light, as the color looks so dark on the page by itself. But, once the subsequent color/values are printed, what looked so dark before now looks much lighter.

The first image shows the print with four color runs. The brightest color is a #1 value which is the moon and the overall value at this point is about a #4 which looks pretty dark without a dark to compare it to.

The paper is registered to the inked block which is then burnished with the baren. During the burnishing, the ink shows through the back side of the paper which is a good sign that the image is transferring.

The image seems to appear through a mist, gaining more and more definition with each value/color layer printed. With just one color run, the atmosphere of the image begins to take shape and that color that seemed so dark before now is a light in the composition.

There are two carved blocks on one wood panel, aligned head to toe. Both blocks will be printed and carved to develop the image through the value progression, printing darker and darker color layers.

The left block was used to print the newest color. The right block, upside down, will print a grayed out blue green, continuing to develop the vales and bring the image into focus. At this point, the clouds and sky are complete.

Be sure to watch for more blog posts as the image progresses through the print process.

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