This little chipper moved into our new stone wall about five minutes after the first stones were placed. Since then he's snuck into our basement/garage to steal sunflower seeds out of the bag. Once he tried to escape Rumi, our kind-hearted cockapoo, by running up the downspout of our rain gutter. Too slippery! So he was stuck there with his tail end hanging out. Rumi just wished he'd come out and play!
I’m trying my hand at chiaroscuro (key-are-oh-scu-ro) block printmaking. The
word is Italian—chiaro = light, oscuro = dark—and it’s used to describe
the dramatic effect of contrasting light and dark areas in artwork. Chiaroscuro
woodcuts originated in the 16th Century and were comprised of three
or more tones—dark (black), light (white highlights), and middle (one or more
subtle colors to suggest shading). "Saving Nails" is my first attempt. It's the cover illustration for my husband Tom's third book of poetry due out this Fall with Moon Pie Press of Westbrook, Maine.
Here's my second chiaroscuro linocut—"Great Horned Owl"—and a breakdown of the process.
Great Horned Owl
Chiaroscuro Linocut 4"X6"
I began with a photograph I took of a great horned owl at Birdsacre, in Ellsworth, Maine. It's a wildlife sanctuary that provides habitats for birds and gives shelter to permanently injured birds unable to survive in the wild.
I used two blocks of linoleum and two colors for my chiascuro owl print.
First I carved the key block, which could stand alone as a black-and-white print.
Tone Block with White Highlights
Then I carved white highlights out of the tone block and printed it in burnt sienna.
Finally I printed the black key block over the burnt sienna print.
First I carved out all the white areas -- background, cabbage veins, fingernails.
Then I printed flesh color.
I decided I wanted the option of printing a colored background, so I had to carve a new block for that as I'd already carved out the background on the first block. I printed the background in four colors -- yellow, blue, green, and silver.
Then I carved out the hands on the first block and printed purple.
I decided that the purple was too dark so I reprinted it in a lighter color.
Finally I printed the black key block.
This is just the black key block.
Cabbage Hands in Blue
Linoleum block print -- two blocks, four colors
8" X 10"
Cabbage Hands in Silver
Linoleum block print -- two blocks, two colors
8" X 10"
Cabbage Hands in White
Linoleum block print -- one block, three colors
8" X 10"
BTW, that's Tom's home-grown cabbage and, of course, his hands!