Thursday, January 21, 2010

Working out the Ideas

  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!


  1. I'm so pleased that you are updating your posts so that I can follow along while traveling. Funny you should mention the street lights down below. They seem saw alien to us as we look out our diningroom window or from the patio. It's creeping in but I know you will do everything in your power to prevent it from getting too close. Keep up the good work, Renee. It is all so wonderful

  2. I like your idea of white on black. That should be interesting. And I love "horror vacuuii". ;->

  3. This series is going to be very interesting, I'll enjoy seeing it progress.
    I agree about the studio filling up! I've been in my 600 sqf studio for several years now. I thought it was so huge to begin with. It's getting smaller every day. I keep telling myself "I don't need anymore stuff"...I don't listen.

  4. Nice to watch you work. Will you be using reduction method?

  5. Thank you all for following along.
    Kevynne, I am glad I can be traveling with you to warmer weather especially -- well, at least my postings will! Ellen, one of my favorite sayings --Horror vacuuii!
    Terry, I use the stacking method of organizing things -- even stacked there is not a lot of extra room! Annie, Because of all the textural effects, lines and patterns, I won't use a reductive method, but the second color will be printed on the reverse side of the block. I am trying some different ideas for the borders now. Thanks for your comments!