September 9, 2014

New in the Studio: Warbler Reduction

        Way back in May we had a banner year for warbler migration, and among our handsomest visitors were the magnolia warblers.  I was quite smitten with them and immediately began picturing a reduction block print to capture that dramatic black and yellow.  But it hasn’t been until now, when it’s time for the fall migration to take the warblers back again, that I’ve gotten around to making my vision real.
        As I’ve explained before, a reduction block print is one in which the same block is carved and printed multiple successive times on the same sheets of paper.  In this case, there were only two carvings and two inkings, first yellow, then black.  You can see each color separately here, although in fact the black never was printed separately, except the once, just so I could show you the  second state of the carved block.  As is always the case in a reduction print, you can see that the black includes nothing that yellow hadn’t covered, because I couldn’t put back any rubber that had already been carved away at the yellow-inking stage.
        I also enjoyed carving the leaves, experimenting with a different way of combining the three colors (yellow, black, and white) on each one.  I looked at a lot of autumn maple leaves to get ideas for patterns of dark and light, and I fooled around with various textures.  Fun!
        Registration (which means getting the multiple inkings to line up on top of each other correctly) is always my biggest challenge, and I was delighted to discover that when one of your colors is bright, light yellow, the registration is somewhat more forgiving.  A little yellow showing at the edge of the black just doesn’t look offensive the way an unaligned edge of some darker color might.  But beyond that, I had built myself a new registration frame and it worked pretty well, so I did better at lining up my printing anyway.  In fact, this was the least frustrating reduction print I’ve ever done.
        I was delighted with the magnolia warblers back in May, and I’m pretty delighted with this one, too!

[Pictures: Magnolia Warbler, rubber block reduction print by AEGN, 2014;
Magnolia Warbler state 1, and carving state 2, by AEGN, 2014.]

2 comments:

  1. Very nice print! Thanks for showing us again how a reduction print works. One question, though, do the magnolia warblers look like this in the fall or have they become one of the many "confusing fall warblers" (in Roger Tory Peterson's phrase)?

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  2. I don't know - I haven't seen them in the fall! But I gather they do look about the same only perhaps not quite as vibrant.

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