I wanted to try another single colour linocut, which would completely contrast with the representational precision of my first shell print. My objectives were:
- drawn lines in dark field
- different natured lines and marks, rather than texture
- to see if I could use my press at home (rather than the Albion at the studio) to print lino.
I have recently been thinking about how I might use my interest in astronomy as a subject for art, and developing ideas in a sketchbook. Following on from my first single colour linocut, I wanted to see if I could exploit this idea as a linocut using cuts in the lino to describe how objects might move through space and be influenced by each other. The trick would be how to do this freely whilst managing the crisp nature of lino. My idea was to draw onto the lino with cutters but also dremel bits and a stitch marker.
After a few initial sketches (on paper, my printmaking sketchbook is still with my tutor) I drew a sketch on black paper with a silver marker.
I drew this out freehand on to my lino, to retain the free curves. These lines looked pretty pitiful when cut so I developed the lino with more lines. I proofed my lino in ink and then marked this up again for further cutting.
The cut and scribed lines are more delicate than my marker pen, so I have had to use more lines to get the balance of pos and neg marks. The dremel lines have an interesting character but aren’t very deep so fill with ink in places.
Whilst printing this plate, I received my tutor feedback from my first Assignment. I had not been focusing on the placement of the plate within the edges of the paper. For these prints, I used paper all the same size and marked this up on a back sheet, and then marked my plate area within this. This has given me much better placement.
My test print was printed by hand, but subsequent prints were printed on my mangle. In order to present a plate to the metal rollers, I cut 3cm strips from the long side of my largest piece of lino, to make runners. I saw runners offered for sale at Intaglio ages ago, and had asked them how and why they were used.
My initial efforts produced crush lines around the margin of my prints, but once I realised that the runners have to be outside the paper margins (obvious with hindsight), this method worked really well. The relatively small length of my runners is a limitation at present.
I think this is more interesting printed light on dark paper. The last print here was on sugar paper which is nicely absorbent and has a surface character I like. Unfortunately, it ripples a bit and fades so badly one could almost use it for solar prints (there’s an idea!). The oil based ink marked through to the back on that print and created the impression I liked best!
I really like this effect.
Having put these away for a few days and then looked at them again, I decided to work the plate further in order to emphasis the sun/planet and make the dots from the stitch marker more obvious.
Positive points of these prints:
- simple, abstract design
- printing light on a dark paper
- printing a contrasting colour on bright paper
- the wavy lines produced by the rotating dremel bit
- runners worked a treat
- not much else
I don’t like:
- the plate is rather dull
- I like the idea but I don’t think it has translated well to a single colour linocut.
- in places the wavy dremel lines just look like bad cutting
- because of the relative scales of my cutters and my plate, the bold simplicity of the original design has been lost.
The idea could be developed:
- I think these prints cry out for spots of chine colle in something bright and reflective
- It could profit from overprinting
- I like the shapes bounded by the cut lines, and I could develop these as separate plates for over printing in different colours, further abstracting the idea. It would be a good subject for stencil prints.
- Could the organic effect of the ink through the back of the paper be explored by subjecting the plate to caustic soda etching?
- Could the oil penetrated back of the paper be over printed in a water based ink, repelled by those marks? I suspect that paper which allowed oil through wouldn’t stand up to water based ink.