Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Linocut in Progress: Finished Chipping Sparrow!

Yippee! I've finished my first more-complicated-than-intended print* with the new press! I learned quite a bit along the way, which is always gratifying post-learning. During learning it might be a little less enjoyable.

(*Grammarians. You will note the lack of comma in this sentence. It is not my first, (comma) more-complicated-than-intended print. Almost all my prints are more complicated than I intend. This is just the first one on the new press.)

So here's how the end played out.

No more time to avoid the two little sections of spot inking on the bird's head and feet, it had to be done. But way back in my hand printing days (read: last month) spot printing took slightly less consideration because I could also "spot rub," applying pressure only to the inked areas. But the press will apply pressure across the entire block, so I have to consider that "dry-block-peeling-up-lower-ink-layers" business.

In the end it was a two-mask process. The first, to do the actual inking:

Here's that mylar again, this time cut as an inking mask. Rusty color in the head and pinky color in the feet.

But then, as I discovered earlier, a newsprint mask protected the bulk of the print from the ravages of the block as it went through the press.

Victory! Pleased to report that this somewhat noodly layer went down without a hitch. Although how the heck did I get to Step 13 already? Sheesh.

Originally I had hoped that a single transparent browny-black (don't you love my color descriptions?) could be applied in one pass, but when I tried it it just flattened everything out. So.. two more passes to go.
Sparrow linocut, Step 14
So here is a transparent brown applied in a 4"-wide swath diagonally across the block from lower left to upper right. It's really all for the bird, but I liked tying some of this tone into the fence. Again I used a newsprint mask to protect the print.

One last transparent dark to bring out some of the details in the bird and kick up the value contrast in the fence and it was finished:

"On the Fence," reduction linocut, 10" x 8"
All done! All smiles here. After I finished this yesterday I also pulled 18 single-color guillemot prints to finish an edition I started last winter but delayed completing because my wrists were really bothering me. Not anymore! I think Presston and I are gonna be great pals. 
(I seem to be having some technical difficulties at the moment. This final image can be enlarged by clicking on it.)


  1. oh my! thats fabulous
    what a cracking debut for Presston

  2. Marvelous indeed. Sparrow just hops off the page and the woven wire fence is perfect. Good work.....they say a good artist should be able to make art with whatever materials they have on hand...

  3. Will you have any of these prints for sale? Very interested!

  4. 15(?!?) steps for the print and new press?? well go big or go home ;)

  5. Jen, I just snorted my tea. Thanks. :-)

    Glad you like it, Jane and Andrew.. I'm definitely happy for a first attempt with new equipment.

    Julie... Yes! Pop me an email at sy(at)sherrieyork(dot)com.

  6. This is very beautiful. I don't know how you manage to envision the finished product through all those steps and keep track of what color should go first. this is very impressive.