This week I spent my class time working on a final sketch of what my block would be, transferring it to the block, and carving away the area of the block that in the final work would remain the background color. This is where the true meaning of a "reduction print" became clear to me. I am literally "reducing" the block by carving away material each time I add a different colored area. The finality of this seemed a bit daunting. And although I have always heard and thought I understood the term "limited edition," I am not sure that I ever confronted the reality that it is not limited by a choice to make no more, but by the very nature of the process: there can be no more. I made six background prints. That is all there are going to be in the end, at the most, assuming all goes well.
For details about process and specific materials, see my Works in Progress page on this site.
I'm finding it a bit hard to work with the reality of a limited edition because I love to experiment and reinterpret different images in various color ways, compositions, orientations, and even techniques and media. The good part of this is that it forces me to deeply consider my options a head of time and then commit. A different way of working for me, but always good to work on new skills. All this being said, I was thrilled when my teacher said that we needed to also begin a relief print project. This is to insure that there is always something to do basically during the extended drying time of the oil based inks (up to a week!). So below you can see the sketches of a project I was considering for a linoleum block project. The kingfisher, with its barred patterns and strong crown and beak, I thought made an excellent subject. I have worked with this subject in a different composition in silk painting so I am hoping that experience will inform this one.
Lastly, you might recognize the herons from the coloring book project. I believe I will be making them into a relief print as well. However, I will be experimenting with the composition in order to create interesting negative spaces within a symmetrical composition. I find it a fun challenge since symmetry can be static and boring. My hope is to find a way to enhance movement through line and the negative spaces, yet maintain a symmetrical composition.