‘The Pain Face’ by Shane Neilson…

One week stretched to two weeks and now it’s been three since I last took stock of things here.  Since last time, the snow has pretty much gone from around town here, although I am sure there is still plenty back in the woods (if you can find any woods to get back into), and the river, although still high, has dropped at least three or four feet.  along with it, the subsidiary rivers and streams and brooks have also dropped, making it good for fishing — in fact very good as evidenced by the brook trout my next door neighbour caught yesterday morning.  He caught five and gave me one which was one of the biggest I’ve seen…

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…The back yard is clear of snow and is greening up but needs some warmth.  However, our post apocalyptic(Renovation) rhubarb remnant is coming alive….

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It is Spring in name only, staying cold and overcast with only the odd sunny day.  Nonetheless, Gertie and I have been taking advantage of sitting on the back step sometimes and she is especially spending lots of time outside and, thankfully, not going to far afield for too long.  She’s hanging around pretty good and spending the nights inside…

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As far as the printshop goes, I have had a couple of projects on the go.  The front liner has been a poetry broadside for Shane Neilson of Guelph, Ontario.  It was on the back-burners for a while as I tried to come up with an image that would not be too corny alongside what is a serious poem, ‘The Pain Face’ —one that to me is thorny and razor sharp.  So it took some time as it tapped into my dormant creative juices, and actually came together on Good Friday.  So, from there I tried to use the ‘cheat’ method of transferring the image to a block with furniture stripper (which did not really work so I had to draw it on in the end) and then proceeded to cut the image in and then cut the block for printing. I also set the type with the title in 36 pt  and the poem itself in 24 pt Bembo handset from the type foundry of Michael and Winnifred Bixler in Skaneateles, New York.

Next I tore the paper to size and dampened it.  I used  300gsm Hahnemühle German Etching Paper which I had been saving for something special.  It was the first paper to jump to mind when I read the poem as it has a slight yellowish colour to it.  It is soft — a waterleaf — and takes a really nice deboss and, as I said, I dampened it for the main reason of easing the pressure on the press, which in this case was the Vandercook SP15.
The first step in printing was to do the image.  I wanted to pull some variations as proofs for Shane to choose from.  I ended up with five that offered a range of no tinting to some tinting of both the paper and the image.  I used a yellow acrylic wash wet into wet for the paper and for the image a bit of graphite rubbed onto it in the area of the face — just to add a hint of shadow. I did two of each and numbered them and sent one of each off to Shane.  His choice, or I guess he gave it over to his son.  From there, I tried to consistently match his choice for an edition.  After a slow drying of things, it has been sent and received and is ok, having talked with him this evening.  The end of a great little project.  Following are some pics of ‘The Pain Face’…

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    It all came together pretty good…..I think.  While doing it I received Shanes book of short stories, ‘Will’ — I haven’t had a chance to get into it yet but will do so soon.  Thanks Shane.  Published by Enfield & Wizenty, it is a very nicely designed book that feels good in the hands…

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