Friday, May 27, 2016

Linocut in Progress: When good demos go bad

For the past month several of the artists exhibiting in the Colorado Governor's Show have been presenting demonstrations of their work throughout the town of Loveland, where the show itself continues through this weekend.

As part of the demo series, I made the journey north last weekend to participate in the Print Day Open House at Artworks. Since it can be a challenge for folks unfamiliar with reduction linocut to wrap their heads around the process I usually like to have a "simple" print in progress before I arrive for a demo, with a print pulled out at each stage so visitors can see how the image evolves.


Simple. Four or five colors should be enough to get the idea across, right? Right. But longtime readers know me well enough to know that the best laid plans... don't actually exist. At least not where I am concerned. The line between creating a print example and making an example of myself is often very, very thin.

To wit:

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3
Step 4: Might be able to finish this in two more steps, except....
Squirrel!* Now I'm headed down a whole other path. Step 5
Step 6 (Which was getting too dark, so I had to go lighter.)
Step 7 (And then was too bright, so time to tone it back down.)

Yep. By the time I went to do my demo I was already at seven stages and nowhere near done. My original intention was to leave the background quite plain, as in Step 4. But then I thought perhaps it would be fun to play with blended, or rainbow rolls... and things started to get a wee bit out of hand.

I rather foolishly thought that after this stage the finish would be simple... but as you'll see in my next post, it didn't quite turn out that way. I did enjoy experimenting, however. I think you can see that Step 6 was a lighter and brighter blended roll than Step 5, and that I toned everything back down with the blended roll in Step 7.

It's my tendency to ask "what if" that sends me off on these printmaking tangents. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't, but I always learn something along the way. (Sometimes all I learn is how to clean up messes, but hey... that's a useful skill, too.)

(* You know... it's that joke about a dog's focus disappearing when a squirrel appears. Printmaker's focus distracted by blended roll.)


  1. Love to see this whole process as you create. Thank you :)

  2. The subtle changes in value are what give your prints such depth and make them your own. Don't fight it. We so appreciate the results, however to get to them. xoxo

  3. yeah I do the squirrel thing a lot too lol

    and I can't remember the last time you only managed 5 steps ;) let alone only 4 ;)

  4. A friend (Hi, PG!) has, from time to time, gently suggested that my inner border collie needs to learn to sit and stay occasionally. I do try, but then... squirrel! ;-) Happy to provide the entertainment.