Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Slowly developing my printmaking skills

I am beginning to build a collection of used lino blocks
Since I finished my printmaking course at East London Printmakers in February I've been working on more designs at home. This is far from ideal as I plan my designs and cut the lino upstairs at the top of the house and then print by hand on the kitchen table at the bottom of the house. The good thing about this is that I can work at a time that suits me, I don't have to fit around the demands of other people in a print shop and I can work at my own pace. I'm finding that carving the design into lino is difficult to do well and I hope that my cutting improves over time.

I thought that to start with I would only do single colour prints because that would be easier than trying to register more than one colour on each print. But I quickly forgot about that when I got all excited at the prospect of developing a two-tone duck design based on a sketch I had previously made on an outing to Freightliners Farm in Islington.

Duck near pond at Freightliners Farm
I decided to print it in grey and black which meant I had to be careful about the registration. I'm happy with the contrast of the black, grey and white in this print and I'm pleased that I succeeded in registering some of the prints. But the design is too fussy and I'm not that happy with the quality of the cartridge paper I used. I made the mistake of painting the lino with white acrylic paint so I could see what I was carving more easily and the brush strokes left vertical lines on it that appeared in the final print. This added an element I didn't want and I found that I couldn't remove the lines from the lino.

Lock gate on the Hertford Union canal
For my next print I tried to build on what I'd learned from the previous one. I took more time with my drawing and I tried to be more careful with the carving. This print is of one of the lock gates on the Hertford Union Canal. I liked the idea of laying a blended colour behind the black print. I went ahead and printed that first and then on reflection thought the result was too bright and could have been a lot more subtle. However, I stuck with my plan and printed the line drawing over the top. Of the ten prints I made I only managed to succeed in aligning three of them. I am using water based inks which dry quickly so some of the prints are very patchy and some of the others have been overinked.

I'm already planning my next print design which will be printed in black alone.