Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Printmakers Kabuki

The Key Block after proofing.

Among the pieces in progress in my studio is Photobooth Kabuki, first in a series of four that I'm producing based on combining a photobooth strip of self portraits and kabuki costumes. The picture above is the first carved block; the black ink block that forms the basis for the layout of my subsequent color blocks that infill the dark outlines.

Key Block is printed over the Solarpate photogravure made from original photobooth portrait.

From my original design it looks like I'll need six color blocks so to be safe I've printed nine of these Key Block prints (plus the photogravure) that will be glued in place on the blank woodblocks to act as guides for laying out the caving of the colors.

Here's a proof glued in place with a thin rice paste.  I'm using a thin washi paper and I gently rub away the fibers leaving an extremely thin layer with the image very visible.  In the photo above I am preparing  to carve a block with red and a bit of blue on the staff.  There's just enough space between the colors that I can get both of these on one face of the block.

This detail shows the layers of the washi separating. The closeup also shows me I can refine the carving a bit to better mesh the hairline of the photogravure and the Key Block. (a bit of eye brow shaping too)

Two of the color blocks. On the left, the red and blue mentioned above and the right block is for some color behind the black hair of the Key Block.  Another four color blocks to carve this coming week before I can begin  to proof for the right colors.

A final thought for this post is inspired by this demonstration of concentration by Miyoko Shida.

As I watched this performance I thought of the feather as art and the incredible amount of details that must be in balance for that art to manifest.  Not only the alignment of our talents with our material but the balance of our time and circumstance with that gift and the will to make it happen.
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