Friday, February 29, 2008


This post is about a print I made for a Baren Forum exchange. The requirements for the print is that it be 10 by 10 inches and there is no theme or subject specified.

I did this little watercolor in 2006 which I thought would make a pretty good composition by adding some sky or beach, but decided to have only 3 sets of piling. I went down to the beach and took some photos.

It was a cold day in February and the tide was out farther than when I painted the picture.

I use the Japanese method of printing and learned using Japanese papers. They are made for this kind of printmaking and but the ones that work well are quite expensive. I have tried several much less costly domestic papers and had had good results with Daniel Smith drawing and printing paper until they stopped making it. I decided to do a reduction print using Daniel Smith Lenox paper. I had used it on my Year of the Rat print and it worked pretty well.

I first cut the paper and prepared it for printing by soaking half of the sheets in a tub of water for about 10 minutes and laying each with a dry sheet of the same in between. An alternative method is to lightly brush water over each sheet. I put the pile between dampened blotters on a thin piece of plywood covered with a plastic bag and put another piece of bag-covered plywood on top and put the "sandwich" in a large plastic bag. I need 31 prints for the exchange and would like a few to try to sell or give away and as with all my editions there are lots that are quite awful and I save for collage or proof on the backs. I was able to get 6 10x10 prints out of each of 8 22x30 inch sheets. One of the sheets was an old sheet of "Lenox 100". I also did about 10 proofing prints on shin-torinoko.

The next morning, I pressed the pieces of paper with my etching press, going over each sheet 4 times with roller. This is to stretch the paper so it will not stretch when it is printed. The paper was the right dampness and I began printing. I print with tube watercolor paint, powdered pigments mixed on the block with methyl cellulose and in the final impression, I used sumi ink.. I print with a ball-baring baren.

This is a reduction print using just one block of wood. There were 6 different states for the block and I printed 8 impressions. After each color, I carved off that section of the block and then printed the next.

This picture shows the block as used for my first two impressions. There are 2 kento marks on the bottom (one on the left corner) for registration. I place my paper in to these slots, drop it onto the carved block and rub the back of the paper with a ball baring baren. First I printed a solid light gray. The sheet at the top of the photo shows it. I printed the whole stack before going to the next step. Secondly, I printed the gradation (bokashi) of blue for the sky.

I then carved away all the sky and water area and then printed the beach. I did a second impression on the beach, another bokashi trying for a pebbled look by not pressing so hard with my baren.

This is the block after I had printed the beach. I had started carving out the beach area.
I printed the image upside down. I've turned the blocks over for these photos.

Here the print is after the mountains were printed.

Then I carved out the mountains and printed the trees.

This is one of the prints done on the "Lenox 100". It appeared to be the same as the Daniel Smith Lenox but didn't print as well.... was pebbly, even where I didn't want it to be.

After the trees were printed, I carved them away and left the dock and the reflections and printed my 7th impression.

And now the reflections are carved away

And here is the final print.


Aurora said...

wow! nice print and nie "tutorial" or explaination of the process!!!

Jamie said...

That's a beautiful print, Carole. And I could never tire of looking at your watercolors. They are incredible - so peaceful and calm. Better than I could ever imagine a photograph to be.

I enjoyed looking at your old blog and catching back up since our last emails in Oct. Only a few more days until ArtFest. I'm very excited!

I'll see you on Wednesday. :-)

Are you bringing your laptop?

Annie B said...

Wonderful! Thanks for showing all the steps. I always learn a thing or two when I see how other printmakers work!

Mark Mason said...

What a lovely print Carole, and thanks for the step by step explanation, very clear and informative.

Carole Baker said...

I'm so glad to know my blog is being seen! Thank you Bareners, Annie and Mark, for your kind comments.