Monday, February 22, 2016

Linocut in Progress: Going from dark to light

Most of the time in the reduction printing process I apply color layers from light to dark, but not always! It's true that darker colors cover lighter ones more readily than the other way around, but sometimes it's desirable (or just plain neccessary) to put a light color over a dark.

Enter the female buffleheads in this image. Overall the females are brown, but on their breasts and bellies they are light gray, almost white in some places. Up to this point every color pass has been very much on the blue end of the spectrum, and I want to warm things up a bit. I could have, and probably should have, masked some of this blue out in earlier stages, but I was so involved in thinking about the water that I just let it slide.

Now I have to contend with that decision.

I cut a newsprint mask that would cover every part of the block except the two female birds and the beaks of the males. I inked only the birds before printing, but the mask helped to keep extraneous color from going where I didn't want it, AND it protected the prints from the uninked areas of the block.

This pass was a solid white.

Bufflehead linocut in progress: Step 7

You might be saying to yourself, "Um... I thought she said she printed white?"

I did, but I didn't want to apply the ink too heavily (I've got at least three more colors to put on these females) so the thin layer of white looks gray. I thought it would be okay, but I was out of the studio for a couple of days and when I got back I decided it was a little too dark. And still too blue.

So I hit those same areas again with a white that had just a little brown added.

Bufflehead linocut in progress: Step 8

THAT's the tone. Not much of this will remain, except in beaks and the breast of the lower female, but it's a good undertone for the light brown bits that will come next.


  1. it picks up the warmer tones in the water and makes the various colours in the water more expressed, to my computerized eyes anyway. Hope this is true in real life too because it's beautiful to see the difference.

  2. Thanks, Anna. It's challenging to get decent digital photos of an image that's so blue. Hopefully once the birds get a little more resolved I'll be able to get some more accurate shots! But the warm was definitely a move in the right direction.


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