Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Linocut in Progress: Problem solving. Which would be less necessary if I didn't create the problem in the first place, but I did.

For a variety of reasons, the progress of the current linocut has been a long, drawn-out slog. Slow drying times. Lots of travel that kept me out of the studio. And stalling. Yes. I've been stalling.

But before I give a full confession, let's catch up to where things stand now.

I finally felt that the blues and the green were on track, and thought perhaps I'd wrap up the water in one more color pass.

Reduction linocut in progress, Step... um... 12, I think.

Yeah. Got that wrong. It still needed a little more oomph in the darker shapes. But there's also the problem of the shadowed side of the bird being way too light. After much hemming and hawing and significant amounts of denial and stalling I finally conceded that I was just going to have to use a second block.

I've done this once before when I thought the shadow too pale... on a backlit image of a chipmunk. Fixing it was a pain in the neck, but it was also the right thing to do. I hate that.

But here I am again with the same problem, so I squared up a second piece of lino and got it ready. On the chipmunk piece I used a paper mask to avoid having to cut away aaallllllll the areas of the block that don't need to print... hm. I'm not sure that will work here, so I decided to do an offset transfer of the current block to the new surface. Let me see if I can explain it...

First I prepped a piece of clear acetate larger than my block, using the same pin and tab registration jig that I'm using for the print.

Clean acetate sheet ready for offset transfer

Then I inked up the current block... the one that's largely carved away... and put it in the jig. I placed the acetate over the top, just as I would a piece of print paper, and ran it through the press.

When I removed the sheet of acetate, it had the image of the cut block on it.

Image transferred to acetate

Are you with me so far? I removed block #1 from the jig and replaced it with the fresh, uncarved block #2. The now-image-inked acetate sheet went on top (lined up with the pins and tabs) and I ran everything through the press again.

Inked acetate over fresh block #2

Peel back the acetate and voila! The image is now transfered to the new block.

I've set the new block aside to dry (Oh dear... how long will THAT take?) and returned to the prints in progress. I printed one more sort of dark transparent blue-green-gray and I think I can finally walk away from the background water.

Reduction linocut in progress, Step 13.

Now here's the kicker. Regular Brush and Baren readers will know that I always start with a few extra prints so I have room to experiment with color. Since somewhere around step 3 or 4 I've had a "tester" print at the front of the queue that was pulled out because the violet color was too bright. Horrifyingly bright. But guess what?

I kept it in the rotation and used all the same subsequent colors on it and now I like it better than the rest of the edition. The shadow tone in the bird is pretty good, and the color of the wave is richer. Oh, well. There's only one. But perhaps I can bring some of the things I like about it back in to the edition via the second block. Or not.

It's so close now. One "fixit" pass and then one... maybe two more... and it will be done. This one has been unexpectedly challenging, but I hope it will all turn out to be worth it in the end!


  1. the colours on that print of one do stand out a lot more, but you are a master at this so the rest of the prints will turn out the way you want (just might take a few extra steps to get there) :)

    1. Aw, thanks for the vote of confidence. I'll definitely get *something*...eventually.... ;-)


Linocut in Progress: The Third Act

Time to wrap up this linocut ! And we are wrapping at warp speed (see what I did there?)... because there are deadlines. Exhibition deadline...