Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Trains trains and more trains.......

The goal of all this woodblock carving and proof printing is to get more time in behind the carving tools and to get better at thinking in Black and White. This then helps develop a sense of how far I can push my skill, tools and the material.

The more that I do, whether the print comes out right allows me to get more time behind the wheel, so to speak. Using only Black and White areas and lines make you think far differently than you would when working on a painting where there are so many more options to express your self.

Doing double time by working on two plates at the same time. Here is a new state of the "The Flying Scotsman" 15 x 10 inches.

Also started working on a new BIG Train print "The Comet", 11 x 24 inches.

Just an update on the Comet. I had to stop working on this one and give it up. I just could not resolve it to where I liked it. So.... I flipped it over and used the back side to do the "The John Wilkes" train instead. RIP "Comet".

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Flying Scotsman

Working on a new print. "The Flying Scotsman" 15" x 10" inches.

Here is the plate inked up.

"The Flying Scotsman" - 15 x 10 inches.

"The Flying Scotsman" - First Proof

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

More Trains.....

Opps! Forgot to reverse the drawing!

Fail! Now to get the KiwKwood out and fix this one. :-)

Union Pacific 4466 - 16 x 6 inches - Block Print
Break out the KwikWood to fill in my mistakes

Cut off a small slice
Kneed it up till all the same color
Use your thumb and smear the Kiwkwood into the bad areas
Use a palette knife to scrape off the extra. Leave it a little high and you can sand it down when dry.
Fixed the writing and it just needs some clean up. That's a job for tomorrow.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Boats, Planes and Trains.......

Boats, Planes and Trains, I wonder what might come next?

I had a small piece of MDF left over and thought that a train would fit. Art Deco Streamliner steam engine and train. C&O 4-8-4 streamliner 490 built in Jan 1947.

Here is the block in its first state inked up and ready for paper.

Streamliner 490 - 11x8 inches

Well I worked some more on the block Did not like some of the lines so I used KwikWood to fill in the lines and then did some final work and DONE.
Streamliner 490 - 11x8 inches

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January has been a VERY busy month

I did a woodblock holiday card print and my hands were cramping from the cheap tools that I was using.
Here is the 4 color card of our dog "Boo" with antlers on.

So with my arm in a sling (Joke)went down to Rochester Art Supply and got me a new set of wood carving tools made by the E. C. Lyons Co.. WOW! They cut the pine like its butter. 

I decided to experiment on what wood would be better, solid pine board, pine plywood 3/4 inch or MDF.

First one to work on is the 
 passenger steamer "Perdita" from Puget sound Washington. I found that the quickist way to get an image on the block is to use my large format ink jet printer and 11 X 17 inch paper and Elmers "washable School Glue Gel". Spread it on the block with a bayer and then place the printout on top and use a clean bayer to roll it down and get all the bubbles out.

When you are done carving you can then use warm water and a scrub brush to get the remaining paper off for the first proof

Glued down the design of the Perdita on a pine plank

This is how far I've gotten in an hour

Moving along

First proof

These things are getting addictive! 

Next up is the Martha Foss, Steam tugboat Seattle WA. on pine plywood.
Design glued down and carving started.

This one went fast.

Block done with carving

Inked up

First proof

The new tools are amazing, no hand cramps and cuts like butter. I do not use a sharpening stone but a piece of leather to hone the edge of the tools when the get dull.

Working on the "City of Aberdeen" steam boat using 1/4 inch MDG. 
Design glued down and carving started

Carving done and block inked up

First proof

These three prints are experiments to see what material works best for me. 

"Perdita" was done on a pine board, "Martha Foss" on pine plywood, and "City of Aberdeen" is MDF. So once this is all done the quality of the fine lines and the ease of working will dictate what I will stick with for a working medium.

I then ran a small run of "Artist Proofs" on good rag paper to see how they would hold the ink and their fine lines.

Going to be using MDF for the woodblock prints. It cuts easy, no knots or grain issues. Holds a good thin line and you can patch it with Kwikwood epoxy for repairs and mistakes really easy. The MDF is also very stable and holds the ink very nice. You have to give it a coat or two of gesso before using it but that's no hardship.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

November - December 2012

Well the  RoCo 2012 Members show required that I submit some new work so started to think about doing kinetic art that you can hang on the wall. Wanted to do some wooded gear work so this was number one on my list.

Only problem was that there was only one week to get it done. Yikes!

So I purchased a gear drawing program from and using the idea that money makes the world go around (Thank you Cabaret and Joel Gray!) the brain started to work.

First idea only used a few gears and I wanted more action so this idea of using the seven deadly sins came to mind.

Just having text and letters did not seem too interesting. But! The elections were going on here in the US so.... my brain just took off.

 Here was the first idea laid out in the max size of 36 x 36 inch space.

 Well I then cut out the gears and started to put the back board together so that everything would have something to spin on.

Its all together and here is what it looks like in action.

So some more thought and I came up with the idea of using the Republican Party members for fun. (Some others did not see this as funny BTW.)

And now a video of the whole thing in action. BTW I had to rework things a bit before I hung it at the show to make it all work right. Felt like Turner, he used to still be working on his painting the day of the show as it hung on the wall. 

October - November 2012

Work is never done.

Worked up a bottle cap mermaid idea. Drew it out on a piece of plywood from the scrap pile and cut it out. Then started with the sheet metal top and of course being a guy I have to embellish a bit. 

I will finish this one next year in the spring when I go back up to open the cabin.

Then we had Canadian Thanksgiving with all our relatives and headed home. 

Mary and I decided to continue our day trips in Rochester but the woods were so far away from the house in the city so we went to Letchworth New York State Park. 

Nice panoramic with Photoshop. 

HDR of Upper and Middle falls.

September - October 2012

At night worked on the prints and during the day work continued on making the cottage studio more work friendly.

New front deck on the art studio. Had spare wood and 1/2 day so... air nailers are the BEST!

Then after that I started work on some new recycled "Guy Stuff" trophies. Since I was re-reading "Moby Dick" for the fifth or so time, all that white sheet metal from my neighbors Sears shed was calling me.

Using some old boat seat backs from the dump, I cut out a right and left "Moby Dick".

Cut the scrap metal out to cover the wood form.

 Cutting and hammering.

 Detail of the mouth and how the metal was attached to the wood blank.

 Right Moby.
 Both Moby's hung on the studio.

You may notice that the solid wood door on the studio has been replaced with a glass one that I also found in the dump. Since the dump is nearby all the neighbors go shopping at the dump using ATV's. I had to call in some help to get this door back. It was really heavy.

So with the Moby's done I decided it was time to work on getting some more light into the studio. Out came the Saw's all and instant hole in the wall.

Then using glass that I saved from old wall of the cottage from the renovations, I made a frame and added it to the studio.

Then it was time to move things around on the inside of the studio to make it easier to work. 

My drawing table on the left folds down against the wall and leaves tons of room for painting etc.. Added new working space on the right and more shelf's for all the junk that I seem to collect.