Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Linocut in Progress: Stumbling along

Oh, SO bad me! I have continued to work on this linocut, but have been extremely remiss in the documentation arena. To be honest, the process of this entire piece has been weirdly uncomfortable... I think because the color palette is so strangely monochromatic for me. I haven't felt at all certain of my decision-making. 

But here's how it's been going:

Step 7! It was a "simple" transparent gray over the entire block, mostly building up interest in the water and undertones in the birds. Did I photograph the rollup? Apparently not. But here's where the piece stood after printing...

Reduction linocut in progress: Step 7 printed

Things started to move a little faster after this step, as I started taking out big swathes of lino. Step 8 was another gray pass, although I think it had a little blue in it to keep things in the cooler realm. These are winter-plumaged birds in an overcast winter sea. 

Step 8 printed

At this point I realized that I had potentially let the female bird get a little too cool, since her overall plumage leans more into the brown range. Plus I had let the grays at the bottom edge of the male birds get too dark. Eek! For step 9 it was time to cut a newsprint mask and do some spot inking.

Here you can see an opaque pale gray and a semi-opaque light brown ink... and two little 1"-wide brayers ready for action.

Inks for Step 9

Here's the block on the press with the two gray areas and one brown area rather sloppily inked. But never fear....

Step 9 inked it is with a newsprint mask in place. This mask will protect the prints from stray color and/or marks from the un-inked portions of the block coming in to contact with the surface of prints. 

Step 9 mask

This seems like the precise moment at which I should reveal a strange-looking photo of the prints after printing Step 9. But did I take one? Apparently not. Again. Yeah. I've been a bit unfocused lately. (Read: A lot unfocused. For a while now.)

So... all I can say is... yep... they looked strange. And in the next post I'll hopefully wrangle them back into some slightly less-strange state. Because that's what I do! Stay tuned.


  1. Can't wait to see the finished piece. I have just started with Reduction Linocut (my background is watercolor), and just love your work. Do you use water soluble or an oil based paint? I am using water soluble because I like that it cleans so easy, but really struggle moving quickly enough before everything starts drying. Maybe it's time to bite the bullet and accept that cleaning is part of life LOL. Thank you for sharing your amazing art.

    1. Hi Tammy, welcome to the club of crazy people! I mean, welcome to the club of reduction printmakers! ;-) Yes, I use oil-based ink (not paint). The clean-up isn't that terrible... I use mineral oil (and a natural citrus cleaner on glass surfaces). No solvents. You can do it!


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