Split Circles, ink on Sansui SH8 paper; image size 10 x 6 3/4 in., paper size 19 x 10 in.
Sometimes we're helped along in a new endeavor by happy chance. Two things happened with with Split Circles that were unplanned but proved to be very useful. When I was mixing the color for this print, I pulled a proof on a long narrow piece of paper left from tearing down the sheets. I tacked it up to check the color (I wanted it to balance the slightly greenish tinge of the paper) and was surprised at how much I liked the format. I had planned this image to be printed on the usual rectangular formatted paper, but this scroll-like vertical seemed to suit the image very well. I would never have thought of it if it hadn't been for that serendipitous proof.
Split Circles, proof detail
On that same proof I'd inked the plate too lightly, so I got this more transparent effect on the shape, and I liked it! I haven't been able to reproduce that, but it got me thinking about the consistency of the ink, realizing that I needed to thin it more.
Forest Green, ink on Gifu Green Tea Medium paper; image size 10 x 8 in., paper size 16 x 14 in.
I took that understanding into the next print session the following week. It is a water soluble, oil based ink, so I keep a spray bottle of water at the work table, spritzing and mixing until the consistency seems right. I was finally able to pull prints without the annoying ridges of ink on the surface. This print is smooth and glossy.
Forest Green detail
Because the image has a lot of flat dark––I'd thought of it as opposite to Split Circles, with its very open form––I wanted to try getting a painterly effect to alleviate that flatness. Using a brush, I added some painterly marks of a lighter yellower green on top of the dark ink that was rolled on with a brayer. Each print is slightly different, and I like how they came out. This print too has a slightly different format than previous ones: I've been tearing the paper down to a 4 inch border around each image, but Forest Green seemed to need a tighter cropping; at 3 inches the border becomes part of the conversation of shapes, larger it looked awkward. I'm trying to keep the print process open so there's room for these learning moments.