Linocut (Reduction 7 layer)
15 x 21 cm
This has been a marathon, so grab a coffee and biscuit (I have!) and I’ll tell you a story of distraction, procrastination and avoidance.
I started this print after making a few preliminary sketches. Remember this?
This was October. Then family took over and took much of my attention in October and November. I did manage to get layer one down. Layer two was printed in December and then Christmas came along. January was a complete wash out as I fell ill with a dreaded virus that wiped me out completely for about five weeks. Printmaking is quite a physical activity and I just didn’t feel up to it. I spent the energy I had in January on producing small paintings. So, then we were in February! I’m pleased to say that February has been very productive (in comparison to the previous few months). This is a seven layer linocut so two layers down and five to go. I managed three layers in February and the last two were completed this week (in March). So a small print that should have taken about two/three weeks to complete has taken me a marathon five months – I’m not going to make a living as an artist like this, am I?
Here’s some photo’s of the process. I was going to post these one at a time, but frankly I’d like to move onto the next print, this one was also drawn out in October!
(This colour was great, it was a sort of pistachio colour)
Layers One & Two Together
(I loved this colour, it came out golden brown – one to remember)
I forgot to photograph a couple of layers, sorry. As with all things when you are distracted, there were a couple of “Oh no!” moments along the way, I printed one of the layers out of sequence and was afraid the colour was going to be too dark, but it worked out fine. The learning from that was to keep going until you know it’s not good rather than think you’ve spoiled it. The second “Oh no” moment was layer six. I started this off as a graduated blue colour for the background, representing the sky, but the colour just wouldn’t take and I couldn’t work out why. I think it was due to the transparency level of the ultramarine but I would still have expected the colour to have transferred off the block onto the print. I changed this colour to green (after spoiling a couple of prints) and actually it’s worked out all the better for it.
Here’s a little tip for you if you get to a layer like layer number seven. I needed a tiny line around this print to finish it off but didn’t want to cut out all the unusable lino as it would have become to flimsy so I cut away enough lino to enable me to ink the edge with my small roller and then I placed some paper over the main part of the lino so that any stray ink wouldn’t get onto the main picture.
The print then goes on top of this for printing.This way I’m more confident that there’ll be no stray black ink appearing on the finished print. Just around the edge of this photo you can see my registration frame that I use. The arrow is to remind me which edge of the lino goes into that corner and then on the left hand side you can see the paper registration lines. It’s a neat little registration jig that I made from off cuts of mount board that my framers kindly give me.
Now I’ve finished this, I think I’ll go and lie down in a dark, quiet room to prepare myself for the next print, hopefully I’ll get that done in a much shorter timeframe. If I do, then I know I’ll be back in the groove.
I hope you enjoyed your coffee and biscuits! x