Lino Carving, Fireweed and Robin’s Nest

I am working on some new lino prints. I want to layer several designs on top of each other. I have printed a few plain backgrounds and I’m now working on the second layer lino blocks.

These are three of the designs for the second layer. I have several more designs. Then I have created the designs that will be printed on top of these prints. I still have a lot of carving to do before I can show you any prints.

Here’s a watercolor of a fireweed plant. I thought I would do something for the background but I think I will just do another one with a background. This is done in watercolor.

And we had these baby robins up under our gutter on the back of the house. They have flown away now. When I saw the size of the babies, I couldn’t believe they even fit in the nest.

A Couple of Sketches and a New Project

This a representation of frost that I created quite a while ago. It was kind of dull and Gail Harker (my instructor) suggested that I had some darker values around the whiteness of the frost. It is a definite improvement.

Here’s a sketch of a cone flower in front of my house with the first snow. I used a variety of media including sepia pens, watercolor and acrylic paint. I’m pleased with the result and it looks like a cold, fall day in Montana.

My next project is to try some reduction linocut printing. If you haven’t heard of this before, here is a video¬†that explains one artist’s method of reduction linocut printing. Basically, it means that you carve one color at a time, print all your edition and then carve out the color you just printed. Each time you are carving away what you want to preserve of the color just printed. You work from light to dark with your colors. You can only make one print edition with this method because you destroy the block by the time you are finished carving. If you make a mistake, it is hard to correct. I haven’t tried this before but I thought it sounded like an interesting concept. I asked hubby for the supplies to do this for Christmas and he also kindly made me the bench hook. The photo above shows my table set up for doing the printing process. I actually want to do a large winter landscape print but thought I would start with a small practice piece to see how it goes. I am going to print on Japanese rice paper so I tore 16 pieces into the correct size. I created a registration jig with foam core. You can see it in the front left corner of the table. The uncarved lino block is sitting in place as if it were to be printed.

I drew the steps of cutting on tracing paper so that I know what to cut out with each step.

I am basing the linocut off of this collage that I did of a Caroline Chickadee. I got the inspiration photo from my brother-in-law Lewis.

Here’s the registration jig. You probably can’t see it, but I have marked where the paper lines up and each piece of paper is marked on the back with mid points and arrow pointing up for the top. Hopefully, I won’t make too many mistakes while printing. I made 16 pieces of paper in hopes that I will get a good edition of 10 prints. The size of the print block is 4″ x 6″.

Here’s my inking station. I am planning on 5 colors for this print. I am also trying this Speedball Professional Ink for the first time. I hope I like it since hubby got me a lot! It cleans up with soap and water which I really needed as I can’t really do other chemicals in the bedroom/studio very well.

And here’s the bench hook. It fits on the table so that it locks in and you can carve your block without having to hold your hand in the way of the cutting tools. I have actually never carved linoleum before. I have always used a rubber substitute kind of block. So here goes nothing…

Here’s the first carved out areas. (Click on photo to enlarge) These areas will be white, the paper color. I will ink the block in a mixture of blues and greens. I will then print all 16 pieces of paper and then go on to carving out what I want to preserve in the blue and green colors. I didn’t have time to start the actual printing process yet though. I am itching to get started to see how it goes but alas, it is time for dinner. I really enjoyed carving the linoleum vs. rubber blocks. It is a harder substance but it isn’t really difficult to carve. It allows much more detail but I won’t know how I’m doing until I proof the block. I may need to do more carving if the white areas are too small. Wish me luck and I’ll show you the results next week.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!