"The Water Gourds" ~ Gum over Palladium
For those following my blog from the blogspot posts you will notice I am posting this image again, for this site. The new gum over palladium print is finished, finally. As time goes on I find myself taking more time with each gum print, with much thought going to tonal range, how far to print down, color choices for each layer, color values in the image, and several other variables and aesthetic factors that guide the choices all along the way. This print commanded over a week to make, as do most, and I am happy with it, overall. I would say the colors came out as planned, but the truth remains, I don't don't probably most of the colors in the print. Especially those in the lower light spectrum of reds, pinks, oranges and the like. That includes greens, being I'm mostly color blind to the red/green spectrum.
As I've noted on several occasions I print theoretically, using the principles of subtractive color theory. The stacking of sheer layers of watercolor(s), which then combine into different tones and shades of color, dependent upon the tonal range of the image. The middle tones of the image showcase color(s) more than shadow tones or black. Same with whites, which don't absorb any color, unless they are printed long enough to remain when floated. As always, one prints to zone 7, the textured whites, also the last tone to print in, first tone to float off, if done right.
The "highlights" of this image are of course the gourds, which are the focal point of the image, also the foreground of the image. The setting was under a thatched desert roof at Tumacacori Mission, south of Tucson, Arizona, in late morning sunlight. The overall setting is not dark, but soft lighting from the more brilliant sunlight outside the desert palapa style covering. No sides, just four sturdy posts holding up a thatched roof made of long limbs of Ocotillo. They are thorned of course. Desert. What I was after, ultimately, was the feeling and mood of a darkened area surrounded by sunlight, with the textures showing the effects of light. Brilliance I suppose. The color scheme I kept to what would be seen in that setting, of dobbed adobe, dirt, and one of the corner poles with the hanging gourds.
I applied most of the color layers locally, not the traditional method of adding one layer of color over the entire image, each printing. I began that way using CYMK printing, in variations of which color came on which printing, but still using those four colors. Now, I probably have two or three dozen tubes of watercolor I call upon as my palette of use. Slowly I am moving away from "realism" as it were. Where I think I want to go is something akin to Impressionism, as much as that is possible in a photographic process, even hand coated. I simply can't fully imagine what that might look like, or how it would be accomplished. The shadow area in the print "The Portrait Stool" is an example of using several colors to represent one area.
Gum over Palladium Print
"The Water Gourds" ~ 8x10 ~ 1/3
Tumacacori Mission, Arizona