Block Printing Every Day Matters Watercolor

Lantern again (EDM 95) on frustrating day

New Years Lantern

Block print, printing ink & watercolor, 5×4″
(To enlarge click image, select “All Sizes”)

This week’s Everyday Matters challenge was to make a holiday card image. I thought a lantern glowing in the dark would be a good image for my cards this year. I’d carved and printed a linoleum block a few weeks ago and the ink was finally dry enough to paint with watercolor so tonight I painted three of the prints, trying to find the right combination of colors. I think this is the one.

I actually send New Years cards, not Christmas cards, since I started opting out of the winter shopping holidays over 10 years ago and celebrating the new year is more meaningful to me. Though it sometimes feels a little odd to be so out of step with the rest of the known world, it works for me, and allows me to enjoy the season without the stress.

I had such high hopes for painting and making monoprints today, but even though I got up at 6:30 it just didn’t happen. The morning flew by and then I had to go out to get framing supplies. I needed the Blick store people to cut the giganto foam core board down to size. First there were math challenges figuring out how to cut the 10 pieces I needed from the various sizes of foamcore board, then there was problems with their cutter, a missing screwdriver to change the blade, various incompetencies, long lines, etc. Two hours later, with lots of extra free foamcore board that they cut wrong and had to redo but gave me anyway, I headed to the hardware store for glass. The glass was dirty and hard to clean but finally, the framing that had to be done today was finished. Then it was time for dinner and poof the day was gone.

At least I got to noodle around adding color to the lantern. I have the afternoon tomorrow to paint and I will!

Block Printing Oil Painting Still Life

Good day in the studio

Linoleum block print 4″x5″ DS water-based ink on Arches cover paper
(To enlarge any of the images, click image, then select “All Sizes”)

Yes, I’m back to the lantern image again. This time I drew it on paper, traced it on a linoleum block and then carved all the areas that appear white in the image. Then I inked the block and rubbed the paper onto the block. I’ll add watercolor when the ink is dry.

Doing all the carving gave me a terrible stiff neck from looking down so long. I also tried adding some colored ink designed for monoprinting that was too wet and didn’t quite work out (below).

Linoblock print with DS black ink and Akua Color yellow, red and blue monoprint inks on Stonehenge print paper

Today I also started my experiment with oil paints, although I’m wondering if I should have gone to acrylics instead. I’ve long been admiring Andrea’s acrylic paintings and Carla Kurt’s beautiful acrylic painting here. Both of these artists have generously shared information with me about acrylics that have tempted me to jump right in and try them. But I’ve already got oil paints and love their consistency so I need to give them another go first. I dug out my old oil painting kit from 20 years ago and sorted out the paints and did some color tests. I’m worried about getting oil paint on my hardwood floors, clothes and cats, though I assume the problem is the same with acrylics. I guess I’ve been spoiled by the easy cleanup and low toxicity of watercolor which will probably always be my #1 medium.

I feel so sentimental about my old oil paint kit (just smelling the linseed oil brings back many happy memories of my life back then) so I took a picture of it. Here’s the kit and my paint tests:


(Painting kit, oil paints, flesh tone color mixing chart)

It was a good art day. I also took some photos for a possible still life painting. I put these veges together for my class on Saturday and stuck the setup in the fridge so I could photograph it. But after a couple shots my camera battery died and when it was charged again, the sun disappeared so I wasn’t able to get just what I wanted. I think the one with the white cloth is my favorite except there are no shadows since the sun was behind a cloud. I’ll probably just combine elements from the photos once the veges themselves get funky.

What do you think? (ignore the background–the grass and fence won’t be in the painting).

(Comments welcomed on acrylic vs. oils, photo selection or anything else — but you have to scroll back to the top to click on Comments.)