You asked about how I mix and apply pigment…
When printing very pale colors, I generally add pigment dispersion or dry pigment to rice paste or methyl cellulose, mix well, and then dab that onto the damp block and brush out. For more saturated colors, I mix a substantial amount of dry pigment into a bit of paste and water and let stand overnight, stirring well the following day prior to printing — OR — I use pigment dispersion (a pigment-saturated liquid which mixes freely into water) as I demonstrate in the movie below. I add the pigment directly into a damp area of the block and then brush out until I achieve an even and satiny surface suitable for printing.
In the video, I’m printing the fourth of 12 carvings onto six 77 x 42 inch sheets (image 75 x 40 inches)… I’m clearly very much on the steep part of the learning curve and my printing’s more or less out of control at the moment — even so, this looks like it’ll be a pretty nice image of the dense aspen grove next to my parents’ home in Colorado.
And… It turned out very well in spite of my poor choice of an MDF core plywood — the MDF tended to swell during damp printing so that it was quite a trick to avoid squeeze out of pigment at the edges of carved areas. Still, the press and printing are progressing nicely, I think!