Monday, April 01, 2013

Print Play

I want to thank those of you who left supportive comments about my frustration with the linoprint class I'm taking. Last week's class was minimally better, but only because I now know how the teacher operates and did not hesitate to get in her face with my questions. She was to show us how to cut a stamp from an eraser, but true to form, she added that if we didn't want to do that, we could cut another linoleum block, set out supplies, then sat at her desk engrossed in drawing and cutting her own design. Since I've cut stamps from erasers before and wanted to cut a mirror image of the s-curved block from the first class, that was fine by me. I actually had time to do both. I hoped to get some tips on cutting the eraser, and was quite awed watching the teacher cut her own block (yes, I went up front unbidden to watch), but struggled cutting my own. That flower design is based on  one I sketched a few years ago. The small points were difficult to cut - I'd forgotten whatever trick I knew and didn't have the patience to keep at the teacher. Just test print and move on.

Although not a perfect mirror image, the new block worked as I'd hoped with my original s-curve block. I was hoping that the flower (which the teacher really liked, seeing much potential) would fit in the negative space but it is way too long. I'll have to come up with a different motif. Some of the students got colored printing ink to play with and I borrowed my neighbor's stamps and yellow ink since her designs fit perfectly in my negative space. Yes, this is one of the reasons I wanted to take a hands-on class with other students.

I  know that you're supposed to use your block or stamp to try out placements, but I was finding the constant inking and small size of the paper frustrating. Why am I so impatient with this? I'd mentioned to the teacher that one could make multiple photocopies of the block design and play with arrangements using the individual pieces of paper. She just looked at me like I was crazy and said, Welllll, you could.  Maybe that was a bit crazy because it dawned on me I could scan them in and play with them in my computer software. And since there's no class tonight (spring break), I decided to spend some time on my own trying that idea out. I started with my Electric Quilt program. It allows you to import bitmap images and set them in quilt layouts as if they were quilt blocks. You can make your layout as many blocks as you want and save each layout before changing it to a new arrangement. It is an easy and addictive process. In the screen capture above, the "sketchbook", which is the file that saves all the quilt blocks & layouts, is open in the center. The layout I'm working on with the diamonds is open in the background.

The s-curve stamp with its mirror image has lots of design potential. The diamond one is pretty limited. Although EQ has a custom layout so that you can place blocks anywhere rather than being confined to a grid, I don't find it as easy to work with as my Corel program which I am more familiar with. And it won't allow you to rotate a bitmap image. (I copied the EQ quilt layout to Windows clipboard and pasted it as a new image in Paint Shop Pro then rotated to get the orientation in the picture above.)

So once I'd exhausted my options in EQ and wanted to try off-setting and rotating the designs, I switched to Paint Shop Pro. Above is a screen capture of some of my play. Click on any picture for a larger view.

And this is just for fun, a Zentangle I did over the weekend. Our temps finally got into the 60's and even broke the 70 mark today, so I am thinking spring and the flowers to come.

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