My work in acrylics has been dominant in the last half of last year and I've been moving towards bigger and more detailed, though not necessarily better work! I'm always keen to try out new things, and this has resulted in a new medium for me - linocut prints. Did you used to do that at school? I know I did, must have been in junior school in the 1950's - crickey, that seems an awful long time ago!
The first two goes that I had at lino printing were abysmal. Chunky, stark looking images with little detail made me give up in disgust for a couple of months. Then I came across one or two linocut images on the internet which looked amazing. What was I doing wrong then? Like the proverbial poor workman who blames his tools, I put it down to cheap shoddy tools and incorrect ink. So I bought a selection of acrylic printing inks, synthetic lino and a set of better quality tools and with the help of a marvellous book that I put on my Christmas list (never expecting to actually get it), I set about the task with renewed enthusiasm.
The new kit worked!
I decided to go the whole hog and do a three colour 'reduction' or 'suicide' print - well if you are going to do something, might as well think big, or that's what I thought.
|fig.2 second print run|
The picture above has sort of given me a crash course in lino cutting! For a start, the new lino that came turned out to be dark grey. This meant that after carefully drawing the image on paper, transferring it to the lino by tracing became impracticable - couldn't see my lines, and carbon paper didn't leave a mark on it. I ended up chalking the back of the paper, then tracing it that way, which was extremely messy but gave me enough of an image to use a white acrylic pen to draw over the fast smudging lines!
The next problem was that I didn't have a light enough blue for my needs, so ended up adding some normal titanium white acrylic paint to my blue ink and mixing it in - bad decision, as this altered the viscosity of the ink which was difficult to roll out smoothly and dried very quick, but I didn't want to wait another week for more ink to come through the post or the expense of it, so ploughed on.
|fig.1 lino after 2nd cut|
My first real foray into lino printing produced a few mistakes but was in the main enjoyable and really interesting. Registering the colours during each stage of the printing was no where near as hard as I thought it was going to be, thanks to the book. There are endless possibilities and techniques to explore for future works, so this is going to be an interesting little project between paintings. So a promising start to 2014 it is!