Thursday, March 31, 2011

Progress is slow

It has been very quiet around here as the carver has been busy plying her trade with her  poor little arthritic fingers. (Play for sympathy, in case you missed it.) They (the fingers) seem to move a little slower each time a new block is started.  But, today was Proof Day.  I don't know how other woodblock people approach this by my feelings are a mixture of pure dread, and curiosity.  Therefore, I seem to breathe rather shallowly until that first proof has been pulled.  This time there was a great letting out of breath and normal breathing quickly followed.  It is not bad!  Here is a photo of the block - from which you can probably tell very little.  I had intended to show where I had to build the block back up because my line peeled right off with a mere brushing of a shirt sleeve.  I don't think that shows very well, so you will have to imagine that part.  It was done with wood epoxy pressed into the spot that needed repair and then carved again just like it was the original thing. McClain's sells this product and it can also be found at most home improvement stores.  It is like a miracle drug.  Fixes even the most egregious errors. (I imagine - since I have never, of course, had any of those egregious errors myself.)   :-/

And, here is the proof on dry copy paper


So, now we are ready to march along with the colors.  Two blocks have the images transferred so I am ready to start seriously seeing how I can combine colors on the same plate... I guess I'll start with the yellow and see what happens.  These things are always an adventure - one step at a time! (Hopefully, those steps are forward...  it is so annoying when they go the other direction...)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mythology 101

OMG, I signed up for another exchange -- something I think I remember saying I would never do again, but here we go.  Anyone in the Baren Forum group who is also in Exchange 48 - in case I have the number wrong it is the one with the mythology theme - and you want everything to be a total surprise, stop everything right here! Read no further.

The myth I have chosen is an old Celtic story about Angus who has gone to visit the Bov the Red, King of the Dannans of Munster, and is wined and dined (in this story I suspect there is a lot of the wined and less of the dined) for three days and nights, during which Angus spills the beans for his visit: he is madly in love with a maiden of whom he has only dreamed.  Bov, being a god himself, knows to take Angus to the the lake shore where there are 50 + 1 swans, the 1 being taller than all of the others and he recognizes the maiden he has been smitten by 6 months ago in his dream.  He demands to have her name, which is Caer, daughter of Ethal Anubal.  They send a message to EA requesting Caer's hand, but he refuses to give her up.  BTW Bov has explained to Angus that Caer spends 6 months of the year as a maiden and the other 6 months as a swan.  Well, Angus enlists the help of other gods and again requests Caer's hand, and again he is denied.  But, her father explains that she is more powerful than he and it is not in his power to give her to him.  However, if he will go to the Lake of the Dragon's Mouth, next November 1, he will see her with 150 other swans.  So, the next Nov. Angus is on the edge of the lake looking out over this sea of swans and he calls to Caer.  She asks, "Who calls me?" (The dialogue in these stories is not real original) Angus declares who he is and he plunges into the lake where he is immediately transformed into a swan, which is a form of acceptance, and they fly off together to the Palace on the lake.  After that they fly to the palace on the Boyne, uttering as they go a music so divine that all who hear it are lulled to sleep for three days and nights.  Angus is a special deity and friend of beautiful youths and maidens.  His full name is Angus Øg, (Angus the young) son of the Dagda and by Boanna (the River Boyne). His palace was at New Grange on the River Boyne.

The image I have come up with will take a bit of time for me to accomplish, but it should keep me busy and off the streets between now and May 1 when the prints are due.

This is a rendering of the design in colored pencil.  The two swans are far from anatomically correct, but that's the way we Irish do things: do whatever is needed for the design.) Now, we will see how accurate it is after I have cursed and cried and screamed hysterically through the carving of the blocks.  The materials I needed  came in from McClains yesterday - I'm hoping to get a bit of carving done before I leave for FL for a week.  When I get back it will be nose to the woodblock, shoulder to the wheel, eye on the barrel of the bat, etc.  And, as long as no one distracts me with a pretty good social opportunity I can do this!