Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Linocut in Progress: In which I call "uncle"

The problem with accolades and the excitement that goes with them is that eventually one must return to the "real" world and face things like electric bills and uncooperative prints.

Although to be fair, it's probably less that the print is uncooperative than it is that the printmaker has been scattered and disconnected from it. But let's see how it all turned out, shall we?

I did, indeed, try to moderate some of the thin hash marks with wood filler. Minor problems here included the discovery that I didn't HAVE any wood filler and the later discovery that the store I went to only had the kind with some sort of "tintable" grit in it. Oh well... try it, eh?

So here I am, mushing filler into tiny cuts and hoping for the best. I did this twice, lightly sanding away the excess in between coats. Seemed to be holding okay, so I put together another transparent olive-to-dark-green ink blend and rolled up the block.

Paintbrush linocut: Step 11

As we say in the business: Hmmm.

It actually worked, but the olive green ink was SO transparent that it didn't really moderate those hash marks very well. They are less bright, but still obvious. The filler also lifted out of a few lines as I rolled ink over the block, and I suspect a couple of reasons: First, that the hash marks were very thin and second, that I probably didn't do a great job of cleaning oils out of them before applying the wood filler. (Jen, that's for you!)

By now I was more than ready to wrap this this up and move on to something else, so I carved a few more lines into the background and inked up one last time with a green-to-dark green blend. Interestingly, the color appears purple-brown and blue when printed over the existing layers.

"Paintbrush," reduction linocut, 7" x 5",  Step 12
This time the hash marks were toned down better, and I liked the addition of the background suggestion of grasses, so I'm calling this one finished. There's a lot of wet ink glare in this particular shot... once the prints dry some more I'll post a better photo.

Whew! That was a ridiculously protracted image birth, but at least we finally made it. I'm drawing up a new block now... something a little bigger, a little simpler (HA!), and hopefully a little faster. But there's major news brewing in the background that could disrupt things again... stay tuned for the next chapter.


  1. Wow Sherrie you ended up with a beauty. I so appreciate you sharing this step by step journey. So many people are going to be better printmakers because of you. Heartfelt thanks.

  2. good to know to pay attention when cleaning off the plate, thanks :D could have also been the grit causing problems, not getting a good seal on the lino

  3. Thanks, Wendy! Always glad to wobble on that tightrope between being helpful and just a bad example. ;-)

    Yep, Jen, I wondered about that, too. The last time I used a filler it was a sort of acrylic and I didn't have problems with it chipping out. That said... it also rejected the ink a bit, so it didn't provide a consistent surface for new ink. I'm sure the issue will come up again some time.. more experiments in order then!