This week I had the opportunity to xerox some of the sketches so that I would not damage the originals while I was tracing them, in order to transfer the images to the blocks. I don't know why I would worry, in the early days of fresco paintings the drawings were pierced with a needle along the main lines so that charcoal dust could be 'poofed' through the paper (from the reverse side) and onto the waiting wall. I really do like these drawings and would rather not put grooves from the pencil into the thick paper. I do want to get the details and textures that will translate with an added interest in the woodblock carving. The carving has an interesting effect on the characteristics of the drawings. There is a slight abstraction from the original which I find fascinating. It has taken the better part of the last week or so to decide whether to make these images 'light' on a dark background or 'dark' on a light background. I like the idea of a light image on the dark background, as it is refreshing to the eye who is accustomed to seeing dark images on a light background -- like these letters. The xeroxes were in a nice strong black, the drawings are in graphite or charcoal with a walnut ink wash in the background.
I made these drawings last winter with the sunlight coming in through the south facing window -- it made a nice 'contra jour' (against the day/light/sun) effect. It was my first winter out in the new building. It's a simple building and the natural light is very pleasant, on clear days (not too many in Oregon) it warms up very nicely. At first I thought I would have a lot of space but it filled up quickly (horror vacuuii). For company I had the sounds of many earthmovers, dumptrucks, giant tractors with scoops, buckets and scrapers, ditch diggers, gravel trucks, back-up warning beepers and many many other loud constantly running machinery. This is the first 'green street' in the area. Here is the view from the west window, the blue building was a dairy farm in the 1940s and '50s, the street runs right in front of that building, it must have cost a fortune. There are street lights still far enough away -- sort of ---to not interrupt the star gazing. There is a' round about' just past the school (tan building on the right). More about that later.
I have inked the first block, this will be the print for January. Let the carving begin!