"The artist...is also a born adventurer. His explorations, unlike those of a tourist, are rewarded by the discovery of beauty spots unmentioned in the guide books, and with tireless curiosity and an exceptional proneness to wonderment, he will come upon objects of remarkable interest overlooked or even shunned by more disciplined observers."

Augustus John, R.A.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Linocut Step by Step. First Colour.

I know it doesn't look much at the moment, but I thought it might be interesting to show the development of a linocut from the first to the last colour. Although if things start going pear-shaped half way through it might get a bit embarassing, anyway here goes.
Using the painting of Southerness Lighthouse posted earlier as a starting point. I've drawn out the design, reversed it on the Lino block and then cut away all the areas I want to remain white. I've then printed the first colour; a very pale cream. There are similarities in making a linocut with painting a watercolour. Both involve the simplification of colour and tonal masses, and both work from light to dark using the white of the paper for the highlights.
At this stage the plan is to use five colours; the cream already printed, a cool grey, blue, dark brown and finally black. Although this may change if I think the design needs additional colours or tones.
As I hand print using a baren I keep my editions fairly small, usually between 5 and 10 copies. The exact number being determined by how much of the first colour I mix up and how many prints I can get out of it. I find it hard to make up a second batch of colour exactly the same as the first so however many prints the first mix lasts for is the initial number of the edition. As things progress, if all goes well, all the prints will come out, but accidents happen, this isn't a mechanical process and usually the final edition is a few copies short of the number of prints in the first batch. So this cream colour lasted for 8 prints.

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