I've been pretty obsessive about my prints lately. I've got lots of them floating in my head, and I'm trying to take advantage of the momentum and get as many as possible out and carved and onto paper. So there are currently three that are in various stages of carving and final printing, but here are the first two in the series.
The actual printing is my least favorite part, trying to get a goodly number done in a quality control kind of way, and I didn't want to dig myself too deep a hole by having a whole mound of them still needing printing. So I settled in one afternoon, cut paper, and printed final copies of the first two in the series.
Both of these first prints are just single blocks but with multiples colors of ink rolled on at the same time. It's a looser form of printing than I've done before (I played a bit with it in my Psalm series, but this series is the full flowering). I like several different versions of these prints, color-wise, so I decided to print on a variety of tints of Stonehenge papers. The top one I printed on natural (shown), light blue, and light grey.
The second one I printed on all three of those plus a slightly darker grey. I also varied the amount of value change in the sky. Some have a more vivid change to light blue (above), and some are a subtler gradation (below). I'm not sure if my printmaking professors would approve of that. Editions are supposed to be a sheaf of identical prints. But I come out of a painting background, where it's all about the image you get, so I decided to go a little looser than the tradition in this series. I'm just having too much fun playing, and I think different colors will appeal to different folks.
In spite of three more in progress (one is thankfully in final printing), I drew out a seventh print in the series today and will transfer it to a block and start carving tomorrow. I've got another trip at the end of the month, where I'll be doing very different work, so I want to get these done before my focus shifts. Or at least get them all well on their way, so I can pick up the threads when I get home.
Hand modifying the inking for subtle effects in the color makes each print unique, one-of-a-kind and so makes an edition something other than just more or less identical prints. I love the power of your forms and the skies take on a life and movement rarely seen.
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Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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