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[River in Spring - 10] : This should do it ...

Posted by Dave Bull at 2:50 PM, May 3, 2009 [Permalink]

Continued from [River in Spring - 9] | Starting point of the thread is [River in Spring - 1]

So, going by the comments in the previous thread, it seems as though people think the extra 'reflection' block is a good idea, and yes, that was my feeling too of course, so this morning I did the rest of the batch. The paper is now drying under the pressing boards.

But I have to say that I smiled when reading a few of the comments ...

(Please understand that what I'm about to say is not 'shooting' at anybody, or critical of the comments ... This is just for fun ...)

Three or four of the commenters used phrases that praised me for doing this 'extra' work, or 'taking the trouble' to make the change (carving another block, re-wetting all the paper, doing the printing, then drying the paper again).

But I have to say that I think this attitude reflects a kind of misconception about my work. When I was thinking about whether or not to use that reflection block, the only factor under consideration was the result in the finished print. There was no thought at all that this would be 'extra work'. When making a print, eight blocks is not better than nine blocks. Taking 27 days (or whatever it has been), is not better than 29 days. Carving a new block is not a 'chore' ... for a printmaker!

And the 200 or so copies of this print that I am going to make are going to be around for a very long time, remember. What's a few extra minutes per sheet, in the long run ...

As I said, I'm not trying to reject your praise; indeed, I'm happy for it. But I do have to wonder what kind of society we have built, if we let ourselves carry the assumption - without really thinking about it - that 'doing more work' is somehow a negative thing. What would be the purpose of increased 'efficiency' - maximize my time lying on the beach, and minimize my time at the workbench? Who wants that?



Following comment posted by: Terry Peart on May 4, 2009 1:36 AM

I heartily agree! "What kind of society we have built..."
I remember years ago I was lamenting all the pieces I had to make to go into a quilt (very repetive, non-cerebral work) when a friend asked, 'why do you make them, if you don't enjoy the process?' It took me aback!
I realized, I do enjoy making quilts, and alot of that has to do with the 'words in my head'.
Every since, I have made a point of enjoying the process - every step is part of the process and every step should be enjoyed to some degree, or why bother? The longer it takes, the more fun!
Thank you, Dave for allowing us into (and enjoying vicariously) your 'process'!

Following comment posted by: Sharri on May 4, 2009 2:19 AM

Maybe it was not so much that it was extra "work" as it was the idea that you had finished and then it was not finished. More the disappointment that you had misjudged. I'm not saying this very well, but I know that when that happens to me I am more disappointed in myself that I did not see the extra thing the image needed before I let myself think I had completed it. Does that make sense? However,I always immediately launch into congratulating self that I saw it at all and get on with what needs to be done. ;-)

Following comment posted by: Dave on May 4, 2009 10:15 AM

... the idea that you had finished and then it was not finished ...

Yes, this is also an ever-present consideration.

I think most of us would like to think that nothing we make is ever 'finished' in the sense that it couldn't possibly be improved somehow. It nearly always seems possible to do just a 'little bit more'.

But there's no escaping that, so the only recourse is to try and be as objective as you can, and then at some point, just stop worrying about it and chant the printmaker's dictum ... Cut! Print!

Of course - once some time has passed - hindsight then makes it very easy to see how it could/should have been improved. But that's life ...

Following comment posted by: Kevin on May 12, 2009 12:47 PM

I must be guilty of staring past the trees and wondering where the forest is. Ok that makes no sense. As a lover of images, I'm not so in love with the process, even in my own work. The process simply has to take place to realize the image. Number 10 (The River in Spring) is, to me, a very beautiful composition and treatment purely from the point of view of the image alone. I know that process is everything to you Dave, and that the product is in some ways an eventual outcome of the idea of making it. I just mean to say that you don't seem to place an over-emphasis on the print for the sake of the image alone. I love the look of this piece.

Following comment posted by: James Mundie on June 8, 2009 4:15 AM

Having come late to this party, I am pleased to see that you had a rethink and added the final block. To me, the original 'final' state was lacking. It was a pleasing image in many ways, but also a bit too flat - which is a funny thing to say in regards to Japanese-style printing! What I mean was there was a certain dimensionality to the ripples that was missing.

Curiously, this wasn't the case with your keyblock. Those series of lines were completely convincing as an abstraction of rippling water, but each subsequent color block tended to obscure that.

This all points to the importance of real-life observation. I wonder now how this print might have been different if it had started with you tossing that pebble?

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