Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Getting in the Groove with Lino

Detail of inked lino block by Toni Hartill

My latest lino blocks.

I've progressed to working on A4 sized blocks and, having experimented with cutting techniques, I find the process of carving the lino to be very meditative and enjoyable. I could quite happily sit for hours whittling away - which is just as well as my designs are getting more detailed and complicated.

Experimenting with rainbow rolls and overlapping complementary colours allows the image to build up a rich patterned surface - colour and pattern being two main drivers in my work.

Base colour for lino print by Toni Hartill

 I've also played with the effects of using one layer of rich colour on white paper, letting the cut lines and texture sing for themselves, giving a fresher, more graphic effect.

Second colour plate for lino prints by Toni Hartill

Taking yet another approach I printed another slightly modified design over a monoprint layer. I wanted to achieve more movement and interest with the use of dappled colour beneath the surface. Using slightly textured paper I was able to get a bit of surface texture in the top print, adding to the patterning and layering effects of the colours. 

I chose to have the shape of the first layer of colour ever so slightly larger than the lino block to allow the background textured surface to peep out from behind, adding more interest and detail. Just as I like to be able to see the presence of the artist in paintings through brushstrokes and mark-making, I like to make use of the marks of printmaking through the process used.  The more I explore and learn about print making the more I enjoy this aspect.

Monoprint base layers for lino prints by Toni Hartill

Ultimately I have been working towards having the skills to print what I would call a reasonably large edition of prints. There are so many variables along the way that can throw a spanner in the works! Also, once I've achieved a result that I'm happy with once or twice I'm ready to move on to the the next idea bubbling away in my head so it takes a lot of patience and will power on my part to stick around long enough to print anything more than five in an edition! 

Mixing a quantity of ink for an edition of prints.

However, with all the "playing" I've been doing along the way, which has enabled me to do lots of PLANNING  (key) for the process, the actual act of producing this edition was not one of stress and hair pulling as I imagined it would be. It was actually very satisfying! Especially aided by having the right tools. I'm sure other print makers will understand when I say how "sweet" it was using my new "professional" 250mm roller lugged back from a recent trip to Spain. 

Joy! Using my new large roller, all the way from Spain!

(I'll post images of my final prints in a later blog once I have photographed and collated them.)


I found the "how to" tips on preparing the lino, provided by the artist Elizabeth Banfield on her bog, to be very helpful and her beautiful work with fine lines to be very inspiring.

I was also inspired by the lino prints of Mark Hearld and how he layers up overlapping blocks to achieve beautiful results with so much movement and pattern.