This has been months in the making and I don’t know if it has been worth it. Last summer I caught a glimpse of a landscape as I drove through Wiltshire. A single bent tree on a horizon of ploughed fields, with sun lit masses of cloud either side. I must have seen it for less than two seconds, but I have been trying to recreate it ever since. Final layer of colour on it today, but I am unconvinced. I may tackle it again one day.
My lino and wood cutting tools.
I want to produce a series of lino prints, and the old question is, “of what?”. I like birds and I like watching them when I’m sailing in Poole Harbour. So I’ve decided to do a series of “birds I like at Poole”. This is not a rigid list, but it will certainly include oyster catchers, cormorants, shell ducks and gannets. I’ve started by sketching gannets from Web photos. It is just the loveliest thing. It also christens my new sketchbook.
I spent the weekend on a two day linocut workshop at the Ardington School of Craft near Wantage. It was run by Laura Boswell, who is a wonderful artist and, as it proved, an equally wonderful tutor. She is a dedicated printer, specialising in linocut and Japanese woodblock printing.
I did a print of a bird of paradise first. This is a reduction process, so you cut away the block for each colour, ending up with a fixed number of prints and often a totally useless block. In this case, the final block was still quite a good outline of the bird (see the header image) which I might be able to reuse.
The second image was meant to be a Dorset seascape, but was rushed. I liked the colours, but the drawing was terrible.
This was a very quick linocut I did fit my wife for mother’s day lady Sunday (here in the UK at least). The first pull was directly onto a card and I thought the ink was too heavy. I rubbed on a piece of Japanese paper without re-inking the block. It is a bit faded, but far nicer. There are two colours of ink more or less mixed on the block.
This is one of the completed prints, with seal of approval and a little neck bling. I’ve done six copies so far, on Japanese paper. Need to decide how many to do and what to do with them.
Had a second go at a lino cut. I have looked at some videos on the web, which are of mixed use. One had a very good idea of gluing the lino to a plywood blank. This makes it much more stable and easy to use.
I worked on a series of sketches for something a bit more more original this time, working on my usual plan that if you don’t know what to draw, a naked woman usually works. After several sketches I came up with a dancing girl, whose geometry I quite liked. This had to be traced and transferred in reverse to the block for cutting. I have got the lines too thick in this case. I went for a simple white outline for this attempt, which minimises the cutting.
I have run off a number of prints on some strange, thin Japanese paper I have had kicking around for a long time.
Can you spot the block amongst the prints?
Very hard to get a consistent ink coverage. I like the ones where the body is slightly faded. This seemed to happen if I rubbed down the body with my fingers and the background with a hard spoon.