Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Linocut in Progress: Finishing the geese....

Spoiler Alert: Nope. I didn't finish in ten color passes.

Like all of us, I've been trying hard not to dwell on the challenges of life during a global pandemic. Everyone's got challenges, and everyone is trying to find their way through unfamiliar territory. The greatest issue for me right now is that March was supposed to be the start of my busy teaching season, and of course all my workshops are cancelled for an undetermined period of time. Galleries remain closed, as well... all of which is wreaking havoc with that minor life detail known as income.

But when I can push those concerns aside and focus on today, then I can say that I really appreciate having the unexpected time to do a few things around the house and to work in the studio. Because, hey! It's only the end of the first week in April and I've already finished 3 new linocuts!

When we last left our heroine, she had turned her attention to completing the birds and their reflections. It was hard to call the water finished, to be honest. So simple.... so quiet. Shouldn't I put some big, dramatic... something... in there?

Focus on birds now.

Step 9 ready to print. Spot ink and mask.

So here's Step 9, all inked up in a transparent brown and ready to print. I'm using a newsprint mask here to protect the already-printed areas from any potential stray bits of color. I didn't remove all of the background material on the block, both to hedge my bets about whether I was going to need another color in the background and to support the prints as they travel through the press. If the press roller were to dip down into uncarved background and then have to jump back up on the the beak of the first adult bird.... well. Slipping... crunching... mooshing. All sorts of bad things could happen.

Reduction linocut, Step 9 printed.

This was feeling pretty good. I liked that the birds were starting to show some form and the overall feel was still very peaceful.

So I mixed a darkish, transparent brown-black for what I thought would be the final color pass, number ten. You can see there's not much to print in the birds... and you can also see the material still left on the block that will support the roller. And you can see why I need a mask, since there's so much color outside the bird's necks.

Step 10 rollup (Yes, there was a mask, but no photo of same)

Of course I neglected to take a photo of the mask at this stage, but it was basically the same one I used in Step 9. Here was the print at the end of Step 10. Is it finished?

Step 10 printed

Well... bummer. I don't think so. It's okay like this... but the morning after I printed Step 10 I still felt that the darkest bits of the adults (and maybe a little section of the twigs that have the stray chick's attention) need one last bit of oomph.

Step 11 spot inking. Hardly anything left!

And we're talking little bit... because there's hardly anything left on the block to take ink. This color looks completely black in the photo, but it's really a leftover scrap of the Step 10 color with a tiny bit of black added.

Step 11 masked

New mask to contain the color. Probably one of the easiest masks I ever cut. Amazing.
And here it is, all finished!

"Come Along, Dear..." Reduction linocut, 12" x 18"

The title of this piece was known long before I even drew it up in the lino... in fact I've been thinking about this concept for a couple of years. It's a quiet family outing... the adults are creating very few ripples because they are moving slowly to accommodate the speed of their offspring. One curious chick is distracted by a twig. A parent lets the little one wander for a bit... and then gently encourages the young explorer to rejoin the group..."Come along, dear." 


  1. Wonderful! It is a darling image and title. Well done and thank you as always for sharing your artistic journey with us.

    1. Thanks, Wendy.... I hope you all are hunkering down and healthy out there!

  2. this is so lovely. One of my favourites, and yes, that last pass makes all the difference.

    1. Thanks, Jane! (I love your caterpillar toy! SO cute and and fun.)

  3. Well done! Eagerly looking forward to our heroine's further adventures-
    Staying tuned ....

  4. This is an amazing piece!!!!! WOW!!!!

  5. 11 is still a pretty low number ;)

    looks wonderful :)

  6. I figure anything under 15 is an achievement for me! :-) Thanks!