Project 8 – Reduction Method Linocut

I have had a couple of false starts with this project as I have been practising the technique. I have wanted to keep the design bold, but large areas are difficult to print evenly without the ink becoming too thick, particularly as you add layers. I have since had advice that multiple very thinly inked prints on top of one another can be an effective way to overcome this.

This attempt was based on a sketch in my small sketchbook.  It has its merits but I’m afraid I lost faith in it half way. I preferred the design at the 3 colour stage, but some of the colour decisions don’t quite make sense without the final layer. The ink got thick and gloopy after this and looked awful. I also think the image would have benefitted from more rigid ruler-straight lines rather than the freehand approach I went with. It may be horrible but I learnt from it!

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I really like the appearance of the block after printing though – the copper brown against the oxidised copper green looks great.

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In my final print, I used a picture of Hatchett Pond in the New Forest as inspiration. The sketch was made with watercolour and aquarelle pastels, and sepia ink painted with a dropper, credit card and a toothbrush. The photo has sentimental value as I took it whilst stood with my late father towards the end of his life.

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I planned the design and cutting by tracing elements of the sketch onto layered tracing paper, and used these to transfer the design to the lino. I have been looking some more a Japanese prints, and wanted to evoke the calm and majesty of these landscapes. I thought I’d take the opportunity to experiment with blending colours as I have blogged about before. To do this, I made a dabber as in the course handbook, and used this to apply colour at the transition point. I then used the small roller to blend by rolling from one edge of the block to the other, moving fractionally up and down the image each time. It was interesting seeing the effect on the overall image when the blended junction was moved slightly up the print. The colours were carefully planned for maximum impact, and the final black layer was half and half with red for a richer finish.

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I inked the block quite lightly overall, resulting in a slightly textured sparse print, though hopefully in a fairly evenly distributed fashion across the print. I printed eight copies of the final design to give me enough choice for submission. I think there is one stand-out success amongst them, and two reasonable prints.

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I also printed a version with just the final two layers, which takes on a whole different mood. It looks more like a woodcut, and somehow a more austere feel.

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