Tag Archives: lino cuts

Waste Not, Want Not.

23 Apr

lino 2

After printing up all nine of my little brutalised randomised vinyl blocks yesterday in the final, blue, colour, I used up the ink that was left on a large sheet of Mylar, or Mark Resist, film. I’d already printed up the yellow and red leftover inks.

mylar

Waste Not, Want Not eh? I’ve no idea what I’m going to do with it, maybe collage?

Surrealists, Semiotics and Fifties Frock Fabric

22 Apr

lino 1

I finally finished the random lino project I began a couple of weeks ago. I printed the final colour, Process Blue, today, using Caligo Safewash mixed with Extender in a 30:70 ratio. These were overprinted on two previous layers, Process Yellow and Process Magenta and I like the range of colours formed by the translucency of the inks. The purpose was to break through a creative block I’ve been wallowing in for the past couple of months and to take a chance with some randomness, following the example of the 20th century Surrealists, who often generated their ideas and concepts from creative exercises.

Has it worked? Well, I was hoping for something dark and insightful and what I have ended up with looks like 1950s frock fabric, but the process has certainly loosened up my approach to block (lino, wood) cut printing and germinated some ideas about developing my own semiotic imagery. Ooooh get me! This has taken me a long way to solving a particular problem I was having with one of my art projects, which was completely unexpected. RESULT!!!! 😀

Surrealists In The Bathroom

13 Apr

mylar

I was doing some experimental lino cuts earlier in the week, trying to push myself out of my comfort zone, printing hacked-up vinyl blocks randomly onto ripped paper. At the end of each session I had a bit of ink left over. Well, waste not, want not, I had a sheet of translucent Mylar film knocking around so I used up the remaining ink on it. I didn’t know what to expect when I started this, I had no plans at all. I was hoping that I would get something like the Surrealists used to get from their experimental creative exercises. But it’s starting to look like the 1950’s bathroom wallpaper that my Aunty used to have. Hmmmm ……

Nooks And Crannies

10 Apr

red c

This morning I carried on with my detour into randomness, overprinting yesterday’s yellow lino cuts with red (Caligo Easy Wipe in Process Magenta mixed 70:30 with Extender).

Because I had a moment of madness and ripped the paper with my bare hands instead of using a nice steel straight edge it was a bit awkward to take the prints with a Japanese baren, especially around the rough edges, so I used a smooth marble egg to get into the nooks and crannies.

red d

I saw marble eggs and spheres being used for hand printing when I did a residency in Pakistan a few years back, where there is a traditional marble carving industry. It works really well for small areas. The eggs are quite expensive so I’ve gotten into the habit of buying them from charity shops and car boot sales.

 

Random Ripping

9 Apr

yellow 3

So, carrying on with my experiment to loosen up and make my approach to art more random and less controlled. I have gone through a process of cutting vinyl blocks randomly, with a selection of tools, then I hacked away at the edges to get rid of the square boundaries. So the next stage is to print them up. I was lucky to have been given some vintage printmaking papers by a friend who was clearing out his late father’s studio. It isn’t watermarked so I don’t know what it is, but it’s a nice off-white, very warm colour and I estimate about 150 gsm or thereabouts.

To keep the randomness going, I gritted my teeth and ripped the paper without measuring it out and using a nice straight edge. It was a horrible experience! It felt like vandalism! I decided to go with a translucent oil-based litho / relief ink (Caligo Safewash), in Process Yellow, mixed 60:40 with Extender.

I inked up the blocks with my best roller and then took the print using a traditional Japanese bamboo baren. The ink was nice and loose because of the amount of Extender I added and the paper thin enough to pick up the ink without needing a heavy press.

yellow 5

And here’s the first print. I’ll be overlaying this with more colours in the next couple of days to push the randomness as far as I can.

The Tyranny Of The Border

7 Apr

borderless

Carrying on with pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I took hold of the squares of vinyl I have been carving at random and started hacking away at the edges. I suppose like so many people I’ve been conditioned to think of two-dimensional art as something sitting neatly within a clearly defined square or rectangular border. I think this is particularly pronounced in printmaking, where metal plates and wood, lino, vinyl blocks come ready cut with nice straight edges. The tyranny of the border. So I took a hefty pair of scissors to them. It was a very uncomfortable feeling, it seemed unnatural to destroy those neat borders and also to do it at random, letting the cuts be guided by the way the scissors pulled against the vinyl, rather than directing the cuts according to some predetermined design, in the spirit of the 20th century Surrealist artists who deliberately tried to generate imagery through accident.

More Cuts

5 Apr

lino 6

I carried on cutting small blocks of vinyl at random, playing around with different tools (Flexcut). I’ve been having a bit of a creative block so I’ve taken a leaf out of The Surrealists book and set an exercise for myself to get a bit more random. The Surrealists had a number of strategies to get their artistic juices flowing.

 

I really messed around with the way I used the cutting tools, getting away from trying to do neat, precise lines and seeing what happens when I twist and turn the tools while I’m moving them across the vinyl. I’m not going to print them just yet, because I’ve thought of another way I can make them even more random …….

Just Cut

4 Apr

lino 1

I’ve hit a creative block and it’s been hard to get the motivation or ideas for new artwork. So today I decided to just grab a handful of printmaker’s vinyl, my lino cutting tools and cut at random. No design or preconceptions, just stab away at the vinyl and see how it goes.

lino 2

The first two or three were quite controlled, I couldn’t free myself up as much as I wanted with the smaller tools so I switched to a big, flat cutter that I rarely use and hacked away. That did the trick, it was quite satisfying feeling the tool slicing through the surface of the vinyl, a physical rather than a cerebral sensation.

Yes? No? Maybe?

28 Mar

rubbing

I did an initial cut on a square of soft vinyl a couple of days ago, dividing the piece into 9 small squares and now I need to get an idea of whether they’re okay, which ones need more cutting, which to discard. I could ink it up and put it through a press but that’s messy and time consuming so I put a sheet of tissue paper over it and rubbed it with the graphite stick in the photo, like people did with brass rubbings back in the 1970s. That’s enough information for me to decide which to carry on with. Two of the nine will be dumped straight away. One is simply the wrong shape for the square format and the other is too abstracted and I need to give it a rethink. So onto the next stage, most of them need a little bit more cutting, a bit of tidying up.

They’re all based on drawings I did in the field (literally) over the past few weeks of Bronze Age and Neolithic stone monuments across South Wales.

Cutting The Stones

25 Mar
Vinyl drawn and ready to cut

Vinyl drawn and ready to cut

I do a lot of drawings and many of them become the basis of prints. I’ve selected 9 of my recent drawings of ancient Neolithic stone monuments to develop into linocuts. Well, I’m using soft cut vinyl instead of lino but the final print will look the same. The vinyl is very easy to cut so my cutting tools go through them with little resistance. I started off by dividing my 30 x 30 cms vinyl block into 9 squares and then redrawing my stones in reverse using a white conte crayon.

 

Vinyl - first cut

Vinyl – first cut

Then I cut into them with my Flexcut tools, using the Flexistrop to keep the tools sharp. I’ve kept the cutting minimal at this stage; I’ll check out the image by taking a rubbing with tissue paper and a block of graphite to check what’s there and cut into them some more if I need to. It’s better to cut too little rather than too much – you can always cut out a bit more, but you can’t put any back.

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