Saturday, December 26, 2015

Linocut in Progress: Just a little color

Linocut in progress, Step 6

It's a good thing I made a big pile of transparent gray early in this process, since it saves me time both in thinking and in mixing new color. I added the tiniest bit of blue at this stage, and the printing was quite straightforward.

But for the next step all that changed. These branches sport leaf buds in an early spring stage: Still rusty red, although a few are starting to open. There's also a little "flame" to be added to the wing of the flammulated owl (Psiloscops flammeolus). Two slightly different colors, but they can be printed in one pass with spot inking.

Spot inking. Sorry it's upside down. The light was better from this direction.

Spot inking is a lovely approach when one only needs color in small areas, but it does pose some interesting challenges sometimes. 

All of these color areas are small and much of the un-inked block will come in contact with the prints. I've shown the disastrous consequences of this before, but if you missed it just know that whole layers can be pulled off of slightly tacky prints with a dry block. 

Soooooooo.... Time for another ridiculous mask.


It took a good chunk of the morning to cut multiple masks like this one, but once I had it ready to go the printing itself went smoothly.

Linocut in progress, Step 7 (2 colors)

It looks a little clunky here... the rusty color in the owl's wing looks particularly harsh. Time to whip out that transparent gray. Again.

Linocut in progress, Step 8

I love this pass. So much has happened with another transparent gray. The leaf buds are now two colors of rusty red, but I didn't mix another red! The owl is darker and the branches have a little more depth. The orangey color in the bird's wing is still a little harsh, but with one or two more gray passes I think it will fall back nicely.

Feeling pretty good about this now... methinks it will be done before the new year!


  1. What a lovely print to end the year, Sherrie. Hope you finish and have plenty of ideas to begin to bring in "Sweet Sixteen". 2016 xp

  2. this is looking wonderful :D very wintery looking :D

  3. Lovely print, but why cut multiple masks? Wouldn't one last for a few ? Or maybe it's a big edition? I use photo copy paper but occasionally use tracing paper...what do you use?

  4. Thanks, Patrick…ooooh, I like that Sweet Sixteen idea! XO

    And it was minus 10 degrees F here this morning, Jen… so winter is indeed here!

    Drusilla, I'm using newsprint. This mask held up reasonably well, but the more intricate ones often tear when I pull them off the block. This one had less material on the block to cause problems than usual! I like to change the mask every 3 or 4 prints anyway, just to make sure everything stays clean.

  5. Beautiful evolution of the owl print. I'm with you all the way until you get to the transparent gray inkings. Are you carving more before these? I don't quite understand what you're doing with these. Thanks!

  6. Hi Jan! Yes, each transparent gray layer is printed after more carving. It's probably easiest to see in the branches, although I probably should have uploaded some larger files so you can see it better.

    It's fun to do transparent layers because you can affect lots of areas simultaneously. It's kind of like doing a wash in watercolor.