Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Linocut in Progress: Snow Day = Print Day!

My original plan for Monday was to make a run to the Front Range with a friend, doubling up on errands and adding some companionship to the hours of drive time.

But then snow happened.

I'm sort of embarrassed to admit what a mild winter we've had when friends along the east coast have been slammed with one major storm after another. "Unseasonably warm," as they say. Mid-60s in February kind of warm. The kind of warm that makes those of us in water-poor parts of the country very, very nervous.

So it was with mixed feelings that I watched the ominous weekend forecast. The storm's arrival kept getting pushed back, but on Saturday it finally moved in and we watched the white stuff come down well in to Monday.

Definitely not the sort of weather for driving 300 miles to the city and back.

But I've got my borrowed roller and plenty of paper and ink and lino, so our snow day turned in to print day.

Oooh... nice, wide blended roll!

I had to completely clear my work surface to make room for the 18 x 18-inch block and the 19-inch roller. In the end I added a second small folding table to the far end so I had a place to set the roller when I wasn't actively using it. My drying rack had to move to another part of the room because the larger paper wouldn't fit in its usual spot. Definitely pushing the boundaries of my work space here!

As always, there were a few challenges along the way. First of these was that my linoleum block slid as I rolled it up. It hadn't occurred to me that I normally use one hand to steady the block while the other hand operates the brayer. Not possible with a two-handed roller! The solution ended up being a piece of uncarved lino taped to the work table to serve as a stop. (You can see it in the photo above.)

The second was simply the weight of the roller itself. Four straight hours of rolling and printing gave my forearms a fine workout. I began to suspect that ol' Popeye wasn't a sailor, he was a printmaker!

The weight wasn't unexpected... in fact its owner warned me that this roller was significantly heavier than other brands of comparable size. But by print #22 I was definitely ready for a break.

Linocut in progress, Step 1

It all looks a little blotchy in the photo, but not so much in natural light. Most of this will of course be covered up by subsequent colors.

What those colors will be is still a subject of some mental debate. Something in the green/blue realm, anyway. But there's a LOT of carving to do before that can happen, so I have plenty of time to think about it.


  1. Sherrie, you are hilarious. Your are not only inspire my printing, but you make me wish to be wry and witty. I suspect my printing skills will be honed far more easily than my wit. Thanks for the always entertaining and educational posts!

  2. You might try a piece of no-skid underlayment (used under area rugs.) This keeps my blocks from scooting about.
    Nice roll!

  3. you need an assistant to help with all the rolling, one that will work for free :D :p

    and it would give you more free time to carve :D

  4. Well, Karen... your comment made ME laugh. If only I could take some wit and make it skill! :-)

    Elizabeth, I have a piece I use when I carve, but it wasn't large enough to fit under the entire 18 x 18 block. It made the block uneven for rolling... and it still slipped. But I'm going to try to remember to buy another roll next time I'm somewhere that has it.

    Jen, are you volunteering to be my unpaid assistant? ;-)