…It’s a reduction linocut AND drypoint montage!
That’s right, folks. Today I bring you (cue the Monty Python voice) something completely different hot off Little Mr. 906–a.k.a. my newest studio addition, the etching press, which I have mentioned in prior posts.
This printing technique is what you might call a “twofer:” it marries the linoleum block print with a drypoint etch all in one single print. Needless to say, this technique (which I discovered and read up on Belinda Del Pesco’s amazing blog of experimental printmaking) called for a strong dose of planning, patience, time, paint-mixing, and many runs through the press. (Thank goodness for that press!)
The first thing I needed to do was come up with a sketch and some idea for how many colors I dared–er–wanted to print. I transferred the sketch onto the linoleum and blocked in my chosen pigments with colored-pencil. I ended up using a total of five colors.
Everyone knows that hurdles are to be expected when trying out something new and somewhat complex. My first hurdle was dealing with the fact that you must always start with the lightest colors first when carving linoleum for a reduction print.
As you can see from the pictures above, I ended up needing to create a mask (I used plastic tracing paper) for the yellows, since there is a strong presence of blue in my image and I wanted to make sure the yellows stayed yellow while at the same time allowing some areas (in this case, the chair cushion) to turn into greens when I made the blue pass.
In the same vein, I didn’t want my blues ALL turning green, which would happen if I inked the entire linoleum plate in yellow for a first pass. Masking is great for solving issues like this.
After masking, I added the pink details with a sponge pouncer.
I decided to make 10 prints total. Even though I cut 15 sheets initially, I was so tired from caring for my toddler in the daytime, I decided if fate had it that I managed to totally screw up all 10 prints in the end, I just needed to regroup and try something else entirely.
It turned out that fate was on my side! After five colors and five runs through the press, I ended up with 8 good prints, which is a pretty lucky start.
Once the linocuts were complete, the final step in the process was to ink up and run a plate of plexiglass I had carved, dry-point style, back over all of the good lino prints.
Yes, what you are thinking is correct: this is yet another chance to screw up prints! (This is why I made so many prints to gamble with initially.)
This leads me to my final hurdle: lining everything up correctly.
Despite my very best efforts, my first run was not aligned AT ALL. After beating my head against the wall one evening trying to find a solution, I decided to sleep on it. The next day, it finally occurred to me–duh–that plexiglass is clear: I could simply ink the plate, flip it over, carefully match it up to each print without fear of unintended ink transfer (remember how much pressure it takes to actually make a dry-point print?) lightly tape it down with painter’s tape, flip it back over, and run it through.
Bada-bing-bada-boom: worked like a charm.
So: there you have it folks: my first lino-drypoint mashup. Overall, I’m very happy with how it turned out.
Do I want to do more of these in the future?
My impatient and toddler-weary side of me would probably prefer something that gave me a little more instant gratification. This entire process has taken me weeks to complete since my free evenings are limited in quantity and time. However, that’s not what creating is about, is it? You can’t get better at something with a one-and-done. So the answer is yes, I will be making more, at some point.
Until next time, happy creating!