I’ve been making prints –linoleum block prints, to be precise– for three years now. I absolutely am in love with the whole process of printmaking: the planning; the puzzling-it-out process of converting images to black and white, or of making a reduction print; the craftsmanship of laying ink on block and pulling an impression. And given that my last printmaking class was over thirty years ago, in college, I’m pretty much self-taught. I’ve learned a lot from online sources, especially the Baren printmaking site and email group, and have also been gratified to find that a lot of what I figured out on my own is standard practice.
But there is so much more to learn! So many printmaking processes! So many nuances of paper, and ink, and press! So this semester I’m taking an etching and intaglio class at Cabrillo College.
I felt like I was going to my first day at school all over again. I bought a notebook, sharpened my pencils, decided what outfit to wear, and studied the bus schedule. Kindergarten at fifty!
Now I’m working on my first homework assignment: six related drawings, any topic, any style or mix of styles, just some theme or idea tying them together. I had hoped to go out hiking and sketching this weekend, but have suffered (along with Sarah-Hope) a return of the flu bug, so have had to stay inside. Still, I chose “trees” as my topic, since I can see a fair number of them from my windows, and have a ton of drawings of them in my sketchbooks and reference photos on my camera’s memory card.
Here are the first two. The idea behind this one is the redwood next door silhouetted against a foggy night sky that’s lit from below by the city lights.
The second one is also of a redwood tree. I took a photo of this on one of my recent walks. I liked how the tree dwarfed its cousin the telephone pole. I’m also looking of late at how human activity bisects the landscape, for instance the grid of lines across the sky caused by telephone wires.
I’ve recognized a lot of my habits in creating these. First of all, I tend to sketch in waterproof magic marker or ink pen; I could not find my good drawing pencils. (I later did, but after doing the pencil drawing. A better, softer pencil would have helped!) Second, I tend not to draw for the sake of drawing, but to take notes for future prints or paintings. It’s fun to just sit down and draw for its own sake.
Now back to the drawing board, literally, to tackle the next four. I think palm trees are calling.