Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Linocut in Progress: The beginning of the end

To be honest, I have reached the end, but I have delayed writing about it until now. There were a couple of stages in the development of this reduction linocut at which I thought everything might come apart. Now that I know it has been accomplished I am more comfortable with making a public spectacle of it (and myself).

"Fleeting" linocut, Step 10

So here we are at Step 10. It seems so long ago now that I barely remember what happened here, although clearly it was the darker brown. I think I used that same transparent olive green ink again... possibly with a little more brown added to it.

I do that a lot: build a new color from the leftovers of the color before. I find it gives a cohesiveness to the overall color palette and it saves me from wasting too much ink. Sometimes when I'm trying to find the right color I end up with a much bigger pile of ink than I need. Usually I'll scrape that extra ink on to a sheet of wax paper and fold it up for reuse later. Oil-based inks will last a surprisingly long time this way, sometimes even a couple of weeks, depending on the pigment and what modifiers I've used.

But I digress. Step 11 was so quick as to almost not count. Remember that I mentioned there is a surprise in this image? Here it is:

Surprise! It's a bird! Step 11 detail

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's really a bird. Zipping through our aspen grove is a little hawk. Don't blink, you might miss it.

The gray ink was applied with a small roller, and I carefully wiped the excess from around it. I could have used a stencil here, but it wasn't too much effort to just keep the area clean by hand.

And here's where things got dodgy. The image is very "flat" at this stage and I wanted to suggest a little bit of light. I also wanted to suggest that this grove sits in front of evergreen trees. Sounded like some green was in order. But I didn't want to put a light green over everything, so I inked some selected areas and applied a mask before printing. Like this:

What this doesn't show is that I realized partway through that there was another area that needed some of this green, so had to recut the masks. But this gives you the idea. The newsprint mask protects the print from the un-inked areas of the block, which can pull up previous ink layers or cause other sorts of mayhem as the block goes through the press.

And here was the result, also before I realized I needed a little green elsewhere:

"Fleeting" reduction linocut, Step 12
 Kind of scary-looking, isn't it? Which is why it seems like a good place to stop for today!


  1. Ahhh I want the rest of the story. I continue to be amazed at your linocuts. So intricate and so many layers. I can't image doing what you do. Fantastic

  2. Cap-doffing might be premature, Dinahmow! Stay tuned.

    The rest of the story will come... tomorrow! Thanks, April. :-)

  3. not making a spectacle of yourself at all! maybe being a tad hard on yourself tho

    really looking forward to the next post :)