Monday, December 9, 2013

Interstices & Intersections: Cube Design for Euclid's Proposition viii.15

Last week I finally finished printing the twelve color design for proposition viii.15 from Interstices & Intersections. The print bleeds off three sides of the sheet and covers a total area of 11 x 13.5 inches. Ten of the plates register across the entire area, a fact that has been tormenting me since I first painted the design back in April. I have never tried to register two colors over so large an area, the thought of ten froze me in my tracks. I procrastinated for months before finally re-drawing the design in separation. Even then I tried to cut corners. In the lead up to printing I tried everything I could to find a more expedient approach to the printing, fooling myself for a couple of months that I would be able to get away with a mere six plates/colors. I would mix and remix colors but every proof looked flat and lifeless. When compared to the original painting the proofs were completely discouraging. My solution was to draw a series of pencil drawings that would be printed over the flat areas of color. I began by printing the outline in a purply black and the four principal flat colors in subtle tones of hand-ground inks: Venetian red, Bohemian green earth, yellow ochre, and burnt umber. I then printed the pencil drawings on top of these in darker inks of a slightly different hue. After these nine plates the white tops of the cubes took on an unsettling fluorescence which I toned down with a subtle cream, before filling in the center gray background with a warm putty overlaid with a bluish gray.

 The original watercolor painting.

 One of the six color proofs.

 The final twelve color print.

 A video of the state and progressive proofs leading to the final print.