Sunday, March 28, 2010

Valley of Fire II - Key ready for transfer

Working on the second image from the Valley of Fire series. This one will highlight the ruggedness of the rock formations and the contrast with the valley floor. This place is really amazing, if you ever visit the Las Vegas area, it is just a short drive away and worth every mile.

In any case, here is the key block in progress with my arsenal. All my knives now hang on magnetic holders. For a long time I struggled with boxes and cases and canvas rolls...this arrangement allows me to readily see all the knives and grab just the right one. Putting them away is a matter of placing it near the magnet and letting it "grab" it back. Efficiency is one of my life obsessions.

Next a detail of the progress...

And the final key block, ready for printing on hanshita paper and transfer to the color blocks. At this point, I have a vague idea that I will need five more blocks, but I always print at least two more than I think I will need just in case. That's tomorrow's task.
Also, I might point out that usually have creative interpretations of the reference photos. I often take the photos to remind me of the place, then I let my memory take over. I guess I feel this way I can be more creative without worrying too much of what the place "really" looks like.
The close-up glasses hanging on that clamp are a, eye-opener! I started using them about five years ago (sigh...or should I say, sight!) and they really make close up work less tiring and more accurate. When I really want to work on details I have a magnifying lamp with a light, but use it mostly for engravings and very small works.
Next, the color blocks, I better start thinking...


  1. Cool, I love the way you carve. Everything looks so fluid, something my too analytical mind doesn't allow me to do.

  2. I agree with Daniel. I love your free way of carving and the confidence with which you wield your artistic license. I also have a serious case of tool envy.

  3. Yes, I love your method of carving, too. And thanks for the peek at your work station. I'm envious of your set-up. Very nice.

  4. maria,
    I remember the Valley of Fire and how amazing it was. I loved seeing it with you and one day hope to take some of my family there. It was just as amazing as your prints show. You always amaze me with your ability to catch its essence.

  5. Thanks everyone!
    Annie, you and your HUGE chisel definitely should not have tool-envy! I still crack up every time I see you and your evil grin with that huge tool.
    Dan, I always hated to work in a school setting because everyone but me planned out everything prior to starting. I don't sketch much, mostly I think about what I want to do and then just let go and trust my hands to take over. I figure the right brain is guiding them and any interference from the left will just frustrate me.
    Thanks Barbara, welcomed here any time!!! Free room and board for you.
    And thanks Terry, my set up evolved with the years but this really works for me now. I usually either stand in front of the bench or I sit on an adjustable height chair (like an office chair but taller). I can reach my tools, have light overhead, and my ipod-player has a remote so I don't have to get up and change CDs anymore!

  6. Hi Maria, thank-you for sharing your working method and a peak at your work area. The print is going to be so different from your reference photo!
    Regards, Lisa

  7. Hi Lisa, thanks, yes, usually my reference photos are just to remind me of color and texture. The image of being above that valley peeking through the rocks and desert bush is more in my mind. I snap haphazard photos almost on purpose so as not to "contaminate" my mind's eye. Always worked that way, I guess!