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.