Thursday, April 14, 2022

Linocut in Progress: The image is done, but the adventure is just beginning!

Reduction linocut in progress, Step 9 revisited

In my last post I tried to explain my concerns about the visually too-light appearance of the bird's heads.  

I'd been watching (and, let's admit it, agonizing over) this phenomenon of visually-changing value since the first stages of the print, and at this point I decided something needed to be done. But the portions of the block that created the birds' head shapes have long been carved away. To make an adjustment to the value I either have to cut a second block for just those shapes (tedious, time-consuming, and difficult to register) OR... do a little pochoir action. 

Pochoir it is! 

Pochoir stencil

I placed a sheet of clear acetate on top of a print and traced the shapes I wanted to ever-so-slightly darken. I cut these out with a sharp Xacto blade, and used this stencil to "pounce" color directly on to each print. I don't seem to have taken a close-up photo of the "before" and "after" stages, but I think when you see the final image you'll be as relieved as I was that the heads did not disappear. We'll call this brief, undocumented, side trip into another technique.... hmm... Step 9 1/2, shall we?

So! Problem solved (hopefully), it's on to Step 10! 

Step 10 rollup

The nice thing about there being so little material left on the block at this stage is that I could do some spot inking with two different dark values. The shadows in the rocks, sand, and birds' legs are a lighter, warmer, more transparent color than the details of the birds' faces, which are not-quite-black. 

Ready to roll. The final pass?

Step 10 printed

Hmmm. I do not have a sense of triumph here. It's nice, but something is missing. Some little bit of oomph or sparkle or... something.

I think the birds need some bling. Something small. Tiny, even.


I know. 

How about some tiny, tiny bits of bright orange in the legs and beaks? Yep. I think that's it. Pochoir to the rescue again! 

Tiny pochoir bits, Step 10 1/2

Did I mention these bits would be tiny? So tiny. But in the end, so necessary.

"Companions," reduction linocut, 12" x 12", edition of 12

Yep. NOW it's finished. And the intended recipients for the first print of the edition have seen it and approved, so I can tell you now that it's an image to celebrate a wedding! This pair of plovers is headed out on a new adventure... sometimes across smooth sand, sometimes tripping along rocky shores... sailing through gentle waters or holding on tight over wind-swept waves. Wherever the path takes them, they'll travel it together, and I wish them success and delight every step of the way! 


  1. it looks great! 😀 the tiny orange addition def helped
    (oh and happy late birthday!)

  2. Wow. Those tiny bits of pochoir really make a huge difference. You have an amazing eye, and your technique is just superb!


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