I started this linocut inspired by some of the marks that I had made in the previous exercise. I particularly liked the more experimental and unpredictable marks made by rocking the curved blade, which to me looked like fern leaves. In my sketchbook I had made some sketches of palm trees and architecture in the Algarve, and we have a large tree fern in our garden as inspiration.
I initially worked directly from the sketches to make some markmaking studies in backdrawn monoprint, and a small test linocut.
From here I made a composition sketch in pencil and played with the idea of incorporating patterns from the architecture as a border. In chalk and using A5 format, I felt that the composition was too crowded and didn’t really work. The chalk lines were too broad, and for that reason I switched to Neocolor II watersoluble crayon in white on black paper for further sketches. I explored using contrasting leaf textures and getting the balance right. I found these sketches too busy, and instead I included a smaller fern with a less fussy unfurling leaf design. I filled lost areas with overlapping rocking lines and hoped that the similarity of the two tree trunks held the composition together.
I am not sure how happy I am with the final print, although I am getting better at getting a clean print. I find I struggle with larger uncut areas being sparsely inked no matter how many times I rub firmly over the reverse using a large wooden spool similar to a wooden spoon in weight and size.