Saturday, October 26, 2019

Linocut in Progress: After the storm, the lino!

Well.. it's been an exciting week and a half! In the wee hours of Thursday, October 17, a nor'easter crashed along coastal Maine. It knocked down the power pole coming down my road from the main line and took the 21st century with it. We lost power, water (no electricity to pump the well), telephone, internet, and I lost forward momentum.

Luckily the town of Damariscotta got power back fairly quickly, so some computer work could be done at the local coffee shop and showers could be had at the YMCA.. but everything else pretty much ground to a halt. I did go on a nice hike, and I spent one very long and exciting day surveying storm-petrel burrows on an island Downeast, so I certainly found ways to enjoy myself.

We were four days without power and water, and another two without phone or internet. But we've finally shed our pioneer ways and everyone on the peninsula is settling back into a more "normal" groove.

With all that time to sit in the dark and think, I came up with a solution to the problem of the current linocut in progress! As a reminder, here's where the print stood at the last step:

Step 5 recap

The issue for me was the shapes of the large clouds in the upper portion of the image. They were too clunky overall, and the three little white "fingers" that trailed out to the left bugged me a LOT. I had hoped those shapes would be less prominent with the hatch marks around them, but they remained stubbornly awkward-looking.

Of course every area in this image that appears white had been removed from the block at the very first step... before a single color was printed. And by the time I made the first color pass on the trees ALL of the sky material had been removed. It was Just. No. Good.

After some hemming, hawing, and general head-scratching, I decide that the best thing to do would be to cut a second block. But not a complete second block... just a partial one!

The "fix-it block" in place on the press

Here it is in the registration jig. Unfortunately everything is upside-down to the viewer, so harder to understand what's happening, but at the time I took the photo the light was horrible from the other direction. (So, yes. I'm now asking you to think inside out, backwards, and upside-down. Terrible!)

After the "patch" block

Here's a another look at the small block just after the whole shebang has gone through the press. You can see that the top and sides align with the top of the registration jig, but the bottom edge was cut to follow the shape of the lower cloud.

I put a lot of "activity" in the mark-making on this new partial block. I hadn't done this originally because I thought it might distract from the trees... but that didn't turn out to be the case. In fact I think it's better this way... improving the suggestion of wind-tipped trees along the coast.

Here's the result:

"Corrected" linocut in progress, Step 6

Whew! Now I can turn my attention back to the trees and get this image wrapped up in the next few days. Time to start thinking about what's next, too.

But here's an interesting aside: This image is already historical. The middle of these three trees also came down in last week's storm... leaving a gap and a memory. And a linocut.


  1. its does create more movement with the second block :)

    we tend to forget how reliant we are on electricity. if the grid goes down everywhere, people will panic and not just because they can't look at twitter lol

    1. It goes down at least a couple of times a year here, so it seems like most people just take it in stride. (And others have gas generators, so they kind of cheat. ;-) )


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