This one was inspired by reading the Silmarillion, and remembering holidays in the islands of Western Scotland. From the southwest tip of Mull, you can look out to sea and see the Atlantic curving away into forever over the shoulder of Iona. I’ve posted some of them in my Etsy shop. The one at the top there is actually from the second set I did—originally, the plan was to do them all in white on black, but that ran into two problems.
First, the white ink was giving me a lot of trouble—it wasn’t gluing the paper down nearly as much as the black does, so I was finding it quite a bit harder to keep registration and avoid getting messy ghost images. That was a problem with the Fabriano Tiziano I normally use for black (shown at the right) and even worse with the Arches Velin Noir I’d got specially for this. It’s incredible stuff, a really rich deep sexy black, and a nice rough texture—but the combination of that and the white ink, which had been oiling out slightly, gave me a great deal of trouble, and I managed about one good print in three from the run. Secondly, I found the sharp contrast a bit much—with that density of line, it gave a very different impression from the one I’d had in my head. I went looking for coloured paper (I’d been planning that all along, but hadn’t thought of using black on colours until I saw how the white on black had come out) and—unsurprisingly—it’s very hard to find paper the colour of a Highland sound in late summer. The blue at the top is Daler-Rowney Murano “Dusk”; this next one is Fabriano Tiziano “Sugar”.
This is actually the first time I’ve re-inked a block with a different colour of printer’s ink, rather than using acrylic as I’ve tried a few times. Since it was black over white, not the other way around, it worked out—in fact, the black woke up some of the white (it had been a few days, so the block was dry) and you can see white foam on the tips of some of the waves in the “Dusk” print at the top.
Linocut, roughly 200mm square, posted in my Etsy shop.
This was inspired by a conversation with a friend about druidry, and remembering the mountains of Snowdonia where I grew up. It wasn’t originally intended to be a night scene, and it’s turned out a lot smoother and more Art Nouveau than I’d intended – I want to revisit the sketch with another block, probably in relief next time rather than incised, and see if I can get something closer to my original vision.
I don’t normally make separate design sketches – I usually do my designing straight onto the block – but since I did this time, here it is. I copied it freehand onto the lino, since the original sketch had slightly the wrong proportions for the block I had handy.
Linocut, done directly with the sankakuto without any preliminary drawing. The brown one is Gmund Bierpapier (Boc) – recycled art paper made from beer. How awesome is that? I’ll tell you how awesome it is. It is AWESOME. The white one is, I’m fairly sure, Fabriano Academica.
This piece was inspired by one of my favourite things in the V&A – a ceramic plate made around 1955 by a Japanese artist, Kitaoji Rosanjin (1883-1959). Their official record has no image, so have this less-than-optimal one I took there yesterday.
After this, I decided to try printing onto an acrylic-painted surface. It turns out that it works rather well, but takes quite a bit longer to dry – I suspect I can generalize from that to say that the drying time depends on the absorbency of the paper beneath.
Here is the result, which is now framed and hanging on my kitchen wall. (Mounted in a simple A4 clip frame, with a sheet of neutral-grey acid free paper between it and the mankboard backing.)
I don’t feel I can sell high-days prints, but I’m happy to give prints from this block away to good homes.
Yesterday was Lammas, or Lughnasadh if you prefer. It’s mostly an agrarian holyday, but I was brought up a pastoralist (Welsh hill farming isn’t really so concerned about the grain harvests) so the only aspect that really speaks to me is the sunlight. I started carving the block as the sunlight faded, and was printing these over midnight.
Linocut on smooth white drawing paper, and on blue rough-weave handmade paper.
I’ve been playing a little with relief printing, and I’m enjoying it immensely so far. This is my first piece. It’s actually the second impression I took off the first block I made, but since it’s my favourite of the edition (of three) this is what I chose to upload.
The paper is Velin Arches, and the ink is water-based lamp black from the Graphic Chemical & Ink Co.