Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Linocut in Progr... Hey! Where did THAT come from?

A finished lino? Where did that come from?
"Homeward Bound," 8" x 10" ©Sherrie York

Surprise! Somehow in the last five days I've managed to crank out an entire linocut, start to finish.

The image should look somewhat familiar to long-time readers because I made an attempt at something similar a year ago, not long after I got Presston (my press.) (You can see the start of it here.) In fact, it was almost EXACTLY a year ago. I finished last year's attempt the same day I started this year's. Didn't realize that until just now.

Anyway. The earlier piece had given me all sorts of palpitations, mostly technical problems because I wasn't adjusting the press correctly, but also some color problems. I decided to try a completely different approach this time– Paper masks.

Unfortunately I didn't take many photos. This darn piece tried to kick my [portion of anatomy upon which one sits] AGAIN(!!) and I was more focused on keeping my bruises down than on documentation thereof.

Second step

This was the second step, the first was a flat blue rectangle. The orange color was applied to the entire block (still uncut at this point) and then I placed a ridiculously complex newsprint mask over the top before running it through the press. Like this:

Newsprint mask

This was the mask for the third step. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but since I could only use a mask a couple of times before it broke down I had to cut several of them. Naturally they weren't exactly alike. And that little loose piece in the middle was hard to get in the exact same spot each time. It wasn't horrible, but it was trickier than I expected.

After the orange I printed the blended sky (Step 4) and then cut the overall shapes of clouds and foreground (Step 5). In this image you can see one of the prints in which I had accurate masking problems. Lots of little white bits showing where they shouldn't be. Ugh.

Step 5

In total I think there were 7 color passes... definitely lots of restraint shown in that regard, anyway!

For a few days I had very little sleep, but now my deadline has been met and I can take a short break. I need one. For the past two months I've just had to plow through images without having a lot of time to stop and think about where each piece was going or whether there might be another way to approach the subject. I think I did some good work, but I didn't have a whole lot of fun while I was doing it.

The good news is that I think I have an image in mind that will be more "fun" again. I've got time to work on it, it's going to be a different sort of color palette for me, and I've got time to think about it before I start. Seems like such a luxury after the last weeks.

Of course there are plenty of other things to do, too... like write blog posts and get ready to hang a show next week. But I think the first order of business will be a book in my lap and a nap in the sun!


  1. This is beautiful!! Will you have it in one of your online shops at any point?

  2. Hi Trend... yes, I'll probably be updating my website this weekend! sherrieyork.com I'm glad you like it.

  3. Just found out your blog and...oh my god! I'm so fascinated by your work!! can't believe that you spoon print them, especially considering the complexity of all of the prints! Amazing skills and taste!

  4. Yowza! I love the contrast and the way the clouds seem to move. I'm in awe that you actually cut multiples of that fussy mask, but the results are worth it from the viewer's perspective, if not from yours! I hope your anatomy is healing and that you're enjoying a bit of a break in the non-stop print production... :)

  5. only 7? tsk tsk, slacking ;)

    glad you were able to get it finished :) and hopefully got to relax a bit :)

  6. Hi Nago! Welcome! I hope you find the Brush and Baren posts useful! I did print everything with spoon and baren until about a year ago when I got a press. Spoon- and baren-printing is hard on the wrists and elbows after more than a decade. Chime in with questions any time, I'm always happy to help.

    Hey, Susan... I had about 36 hours of not having any idea what to do with myself. The to-do list is long, but I had not one iota of brain cell to approach it. Seems to be improving today.. might be back at it tomorrow!

    I knew you'd find seven passes insufficient, Jen. ;-)