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Printing Sandhill Cranes

I spent a few days of printing at the Ann Korologos gallery for the end of July. I was situated by the front windows, working at a large table where folks could sit to watch and chat. Lots of fun stories about the Roaring Fork Valley.

I did get some printing done on the Sandhill Cranes woodblock between all the chit chat about the Japanese print process. The background mountains were complete and it was time to start on the cranes and foreground. I wanted to establish the base colors right away and so printed a cool gray and a pale ochre using two different blocks.

After the fourth color run that day, it was time for some carving. The first question is what to carve. I draw onto the block with a black permanent marker what I want to print. Drawing on the block is a positive procedure, meaning what I draw is what will print. This makes it easier to visualize what the printed layer will look like. All I have to do is carve away the areas that are not drawn.

The image on the block is reversed from the printed image. I find setting the print and the block side by side helps me keep track of the reverse and where I am when drawing on the block. Once the drawing is on the block, I don’t need to have the print as reference.

The drive home was over Independence Pass, always a dramatic drive. I squeezed in a few watercolors but was being chased by the rain. As soon as I would settle into developing the sketch, little drops would start to appear on the paper. A little drop here and there is not a problem, it’s just when those big drops that obliterates a nice passage that is a problem.

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