So, since I first began hand pulling prints about a year ago, I knew right away that I liked carving the blocks. I also knew I had a lot to figure out about ink and paper, because I wasn't having much luck on that front. I tried dry paper, damp paper, wet paper, thin paper, thick paper, cheap paper, expensive paper, all without producing anything close to a satisfying result. And the same goes for the ink... Speedball water soluable ink out of the tube, and in various stages of thinned out using a variety of methods to get it on the block. Next I moved on to watercolors. I liked them better from the start, but I was still having problems with the pulling prints process.
Now I'm not saying that I haven't made some prints that I like, because I have. But there's always something kind of disappointing about them. The reduction prints seem to start off well, but by the end it seems like a struggle to find the enthusiasm to finish them because there's something I've done that I wish I hadn't. The paper was too wet for one impression and crinkled. The color was wrong on one impression and threw off the whole image. The registration was off. There was a big line outside the printed area where I missed wiping off excess color and didn't notice while printing. The list could go on and on.
But yet I've been compelled to go on. Half way through a print I'm already thinking about what's next and what I'll do differently to make it better. It's like an addiction, and I can't get enough of it, even though the printing process itself had become frustrating.
Then I tried using oil paints. My first attempt is to the left. I could get nice, intense, vibrant colors that were transparent, with texture. I could brush on the paint and thin it out and work with the paint on the block. And I could use dry paper!
My first reduction print with with the oils is below. The printing process that has been taking a week or more to end up with maybe a couple of decent prints took three days with little to no frustration. And I enjoyed the process. And I have the next one planned.