I think it is that fact that I get very intense when I am completing a plate and running the first test prints. And this is what this is. My test print of what will have to be my final Norwegian print as I have run out of lino. Well I actually still have a small piece (A4) but I really find for the detail that I wish to achieve in these prints the A3 size is the absolute minimum.
I am really satisfied with the development of my technical facility for cutting these printing plates. Although this one has taken me days to complete. It was extremely intricate and I did not want to rush it or be too rough hewn about it. However, the length of time was not entirely the fault of the lino as there were other things that came up in the past few days which held me up too.
I will be hand colouring this print also - like my fern frond - but that said I actually think that I may do a couple without colour too - it seems to work. I am pleased with the different gradations of shade achieved. In fact, as I think about it I may keep the colour washes very neutral, very thin washes of sepia perhaps and some green. I still think that there need to be some shadows you see. If I was considering one colour only from the start I would have cut it differently. Something to put into the back of my brain for the next one.
So, today I was running those first test prints. Rolling the ink, taking a hand rubbed print on my thin japanese paper. Then I had to check for areas that still needed work. Then I had to do a little more cutting, thankfully not very much at all. Then another print. Another look. And of course there was just a tiny bit more to cut and then I took the final test print which you now see before you. It is really intense, you find yourself all bent over the table looking for flaws and mistakes. Also as I was doing more cutting and the plate was all sticky with ink so I ended up with little flakes of lino stuck in the ink and they of course do so destroy a print - so they had to be picked off first. They have to picked off individually and you get ink all over your hands as well as squinting at the plate against the light. Are you getting the picture?
I love it though. there is something magic about printing. I cannot explain it. I think it has something to do with all that process going into it, from concept to sketch to cutting the plate and finally the whole print taking and then you peel the paper off the plate with your breath held, hoping for the perfect print. As of yet, none of them have been perfect, but I believe it is only a matter of time and I will be able to run them off one after the other until the run is complete.
Well, we have three months left now until we leave Norway, i feel myself winding down a bit I must say, losing momentum at this time as my mind turns to the usual feat of packing. Of course I still have work to do, but I will not be pushing myself as hard now. After all, my energies will now have to go into organising my exhibition at the end of November. So the work I start now has to be completed. The ink on those prints takes several weeks to dry so that is another reason why they have to printed tomorrow and put to dry. i will then turn my attention to some more painting - with a few ideas fermenting as we speak. I can paint right up to the night before the exhibition actually, so there is no urgency now for those.
There will be catologues to produce then and posters and flyers to advertise the event and then to decide what day to have it on and then just hope that everyone turns up with their wallets open and ready to buy.
That is a funny thing itself. Of course I love to sell my work. It is the reward and it is the recognition that the work is appreciated by others. But there is always a part of me that hates to say goodbye to my 'babies'. They have so much work in them, so many hours and so much thought and planning and then I sell them to strangers when I would so very much like to have them hanging on my own walls. It is an eternal problem with art and the artist.
Anyway! Enough for now! I have mused on enough about my problems and passions. I have a print room to clean and a dinner to cook and a bit more packing to attend to also.
Sometimes it is quite challenging being a multi-tasker!