Monday, March 28, 2011

Croton reduction linocut 6, final print

Croton reduction linocut, final print
This was done a couple of days ago, the prints are dry and packed away already. I'll take it out and look again in a month or two. I'm not sure if I prefer the last one with the brown-red ink, before the black was added. I toyed with the idea of stopping the run and letting it stay as it was; then went ahead, thinking that's what I planned, let me see it through. With future prints I will a) improve the registration system to reduce the number lost during the process, and b) when in doubt keep a few back at the penultimate stage. However I doubt that this exact situation will arise again.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Croton reduction linocut 5

Croton reduction linocut, fourth colour

It's not perfectly registered but I was pleased with this when lifting it off the block. The process is quicker now, the inking is less because so much has been cut away.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Croton reduction linocut 4

Croton reduction lincut, the third colour

This one was disappointing. I lost the first four (out of twelve) because of mis-registration and took ages to figure out what was wrong. My system consists of a sheet of the same paper that I'm using for the print run taped to the work surface, with an outline of the block drawn on it, and with narrow strips of lino acting as guides. The guides stayed in place but the tape holding down the paper became unstuck allowing movement to take place. In a nutshell, the block shifted in relation to the guides when burnishing the back of the paper. I now know that I need to devise a better registration system.

After figuring it out and securing the base sheet, there was considerable improvement but it became evident that slight shifts had taken place in the earlier colours. So none of them will be spot-on perfect.

I'm not too cast down. It reminds me of a time some years ago when I was drawing a friend, a successful businesswoman. It didn't go well and the friend commented that she would never choose to do something with such a high failure rate. It made me stop and think ... I'm still thinking ... it's true, in art the failure rate is high but it's one of those things that one accepts as an artist, it's part of the job. The rate improves over time, with practice and experience, this I know for sure, my rate is far better than it was ten or fifteen years ago. Definitely a long term prospect though, no quick miracles in this field.

Right now I'm relatively new to printmaking and expect glitches to occur and one did and no harm, it's good experience. I will continue with this linocut (two more colours) and will be happy if I end up with three or four passable prints.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Croton reduction linocut 3, the second colour

Croton reduction linocut, the second colour
This colour didn't print as smoothly as the yellow, the ink was a different consistency and was tending to separate in the tube. I blended it as well as I could on the glass with a palette knife. I'm hoping the slightly mottled effect won't be a problem, maybe it will have a charm of its own. So far my registration system is working reasonably well. This was actually printed several days ago, I'm only now getting round to posting it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Croton reduction linocut 2

Croton linocut in progress, the yellow block

Supplies arrived yesterday and the yellow is printed (hand-burnished) and hanging up to dry. Now to cut the same block for the next colour. I'm expecting to lose a few to mistakes during printing, I hope not more than one per colour. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Croton reduction linocut 1-- high hopes

Croton, first cut of the lino block, 12 x 9"
This is one of several small projects I have going on at the moment, some of them involving printmaking. It's a reduction linocut with five colours planned -- too ambitious, maybe, but I can't see a way of doing it with less. It could go horribly wrong at any time, a slip of the cutting tool and so on, but right now I'm hopeful, and keen to see it taking shape. I've used markers to indicate where some of the colours are, it's too easy to cut the wrong bits. I'll be printing it by hand unless I can find somewhere in Port of Spain with a relief press or etching press. 

There was a lot of preliminary work to get to this point. I didn't like the first drawing (which took hours) so I ditched it and started over, and a gouache study didn't look promising for making a painting. The strongly variegated foliage suggested that a linocut would be worth a try, so here goes. But of course I won't know until the end. 

I will update this as it goes along. I may have to stock up on paper or ink before printing the first colour. With a reduction linocut you get only one chance.