This is an unfamiliar medium for me, so I am practicing with a familiar image. We went to Intaglio Printworks in Southwark on Wednesday. Paradise for a print maker. Amongst many bits and pieces, I bought three sheets of Japanese plywood for woodcuts. This cuts beautifully with my Pfeil lino tools, but it is so different. Grain to cope with, plus splinters. I painted the wood with red ink to start, to highlight the cuts. Then started work on a copy of my copy of Manet’s portrait of Berthe Morisot, one of the world’s greatest paintings in my belief. Had to photograph it and reverse it first.
Looks good as a red carving. Then I inked it with water based ink and printed it first on textured Somerset print paper. Really bad, I just threw them away. Then on some Japanese paper, which was much better but still too thin for my liking.
Then I tried the oil based ink which I also bought. It is so different from the water based. Much thicker and stickier. After a lot of working I printed another proof on Japanese paper, which was better, and finally onto a spare sheet of Zirkal paper which was missed from an earlier run and that was at last something worth while. I think the block still needs some work, especially around her mouth, but that is for later. Cleaning up the ink is not a lot of fun.