A new method

Trying a new art-making method=opening a path to endless possibilities. Isn’t that the real work at hand? Not the individual product, but the work itself.

The “opening-to-possibilities” part, an experience I may be addicted to.

Today you see my first attempt at carving and printing a lino block.

Well, to come clean: about 18 years ago, a group of friends got together for brunch at an artist-friend’s house; she taught us to carve and print a lino block. I carved one small block (of a rose–perhaps carving something so complicated prevented me from trying again till now?).

For whatever reason, only a few months ago I assembled all of the tools and materials needed to carve and print a lino block, and only this weekend printed my first “real”prints. Like many people, I suppose I’m better at generating ideas of what I want to do than actually doing it!

For this project, I used an unmounted lino block, and Speedball carving tool (the handy kind with the blades in the handle). I used Speedball water-soluble inks, mulberry paper, and Speedball brayer and baren. I also used a piece of glass from the hardware store (for inking). I plan on buying better carving tools for the unmounted lino (for sharper blades).

As a reference, I used several large Burr Oak leaves from a tree in our yard, and its one and only gargantuan acorn (the size of a golf ball!). I was fascinated by the thing and determined to represent it as best I could.

I first drew it on paper, then traced my drawing and transferred it to the lino block by placing it face down and then retracing the lines, on the back. Ah, graphite is such a wonderful thing–fascinating that it is the same stuff as a diamond, just on the opposite end of the hardness spectrum!

In the future I will also make sure to leave more lines in the back ground, since I love the effect in other linotypes I’ve seen. Lots of ideas now that this first print is free in the world; blocks of different sizes can be used for different purposes. Next, I’ll use a small (2.75″X5″) block to make a print for handmade cards–not ready to try another 5″X7” yet.

Nuance and unconscious skill comes over time; if you are intrigued by a particular type or method of artmaking, jump in and try it. We live at a time when we can watch a video on how to do just about anything–and if time (and funds) allow, take a class to commune with other newbies!

Pinterest offers a somewhat mindless way to do some pre-work, reflecting on artworks whose style you admire. See my growing “collection” on my Linocut board.

The beauty of attempting to make art is, hey, it’s just paper and ink, you can do no harm. But you may regret never trying!

For a fun guide on lino, rubber, foam, and stamp printing try: Block Print by Andrea Lauren. It’s amazing the art you can create with even a few white rubber erasers as your printing blocks.



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