Monday, May 28, 2012

Printing in earnest: Maples again

Barens are covered. Paper has been cut, sized, aged, dampened, and placed in plastic bags to keep damp and printing has begun.
This is a shot in progress: about midway finished--9 impressions so far (and I think I'll need another 6-7).
Japanese Maple--print in progress and detail

Don't know if I am stubborn or just stupid but I keep hoping to get some finished copies of this print--I'm printing on 5 sheets of Magnani incisioni (using these as proofing sheets to confirm registration/color) and 15 of my home-sized Japanese paper (some with heavy size, some with light).
But I'm feeling optimistic as this is looking pretty good so far.....I still have some color decisions to make (the yellow background will mostly disappear) so there is still ample room to screw it up (color isn't my strength).

I've definitely invested more time and energy (and more paper) in this print than anything I've done so far (mostly due to proofing/registration errors) but I'll tally the eventual final "cost" when and if I finish it. All I know is that the stack of bad copies up to now has been getting taller and taller.

But there is hope. Printing is going well. Registration errors are fewer since I started using a carry sheet to carry the thin Hosokawa paper to my block and set it into the kento--this has been crucial as the damp paper is thin and floppy and has to be reliably placed for multiple impressions. It is tolerating lots of impressions and is picking up pigment and not shedding paper/or sticking. My re-carved background block is printing in-register--(although it too has a seam that is printing...(a thin horizontal line is visible on the yellow ground) but this should disappear when I overprint with the old background block.....

One of the reasons this is taking so long is because I am still making decisions as I go along and there are still some unknowns ahead.
That's why it's still fun.

Temporary maple print work station
Paper delivery system is on the left; upper shelf holds paper to be printed; once printed it is moved to lower shelf. I had to improvise to be able to work with a big sheet of damp paper (paper size is 15" x 16" (41cm x 42cm)).


  1. Andrew ~ this is absolutely stunning! I am impressed by your persistence with this print. I believe it has paid off.

  2. Thanks L.
    This is still only halfway there so there is still ample room to mess up.
    Hope to end up with a back-lit/late afternoon glow to the leaves with a darker background--the big unknown is the last block had the seam that I don't want and I am going to try and print it unevenly to get some background texture...
    I don't have the skill nor will the shina permit an even, flat ground color if I wanted one. This photo is one on the Magnani etching paper and some of the background speckling is due to the cotton rag paper; the copies on my Japanese hosho are thinner and more evenly printed (I'll save pics of those until I declare it finished).

    And it is a lot of space to leave just "empty".
    But getting the color and balance right will be tricky--I still think I need to get the cooler red of the leaves deeper/richer and that will mean bokashi printing to those leaves individually......
    Wish me luck.

  3. Good luck Andrew! It looks great so far. It's a lovely print. Little bokashi on each leaf -- the Kyoto method! You can do it :) Like Linda, I admire your persistence.

  4. Delicious colors! Beautiful line quality too. I think it's coming along great! The more bokashi you do, the richer it becomes I think.