Gourding it up, part two

Last week, I showed you the preparatory sketches I did for my gourd projects. This week, we'll be printing the plates.

For this project, I decided to use marbled paper because I've become interested in the dynamic between order and chaos, the well-planned and the random. Marbling paper is always somewhat unpredictable for me (as is printmaking in general, in spite of all the preparation), so it was a natural foil to my highly planned compositions. I always like having wiggle room when I print, so I took several sheets of marbled paper with me to the press in case I botched something. Since I imagined the composition as a diptych, I picked papers that paired well together.

I initially started by printing on white paper in order to see how the images actually looked. I'll save these for some other project.

I then switched to the marbled papers.

The press didn't have enough pressure initially, so this first set is a bit faint. These are perfect for layering with monotypes, however, so they're not failures. Nevertheless, I did increase the pressure on the press in order to get stronger images.

What I liked about this pair was how the marbling seemed to echo the shapes going on the composition. The bulk of the black marbling in the image on the left, for instance, is concentrated around that main gourd and the big leaf in the bottom corner. The image on the right, in turn, has marbling that roughly parallels the arc of the two big leaves at the bottom of the page. It was a serendipitous occurrence, and I won't do anything else to these two prints.

This pair also turned out well, and I could leave them be. I'd like to hand-color at least one set though, to see how it looks against the marbling, so I'll probably use this set as opposed to the previous one above since the marbling is more intense here and won't be overpowered by the additional color. 

So now we've got three marbled sets, each of which will go in four different directions. Stay tuned.