15 – 17/08/16
Further Single Colour Linocuts
I decided to explore my other sketches and attempt further single colour linocuts.
A neighbouring villa was interesting due to the mid afternoon shadows cast by its various elevations. I needed to simplify the image and remove the additional extensions which would have added confusion in the monochrome reproduction. I also felt I needed to include some of the plants around it as it would have been too stark and “man-made” without them.
The sketch I made from life was more interesting as the sea was never still and the volcanic rocks appeared almost uniform en mass, yet were very individual on closer inspection. I was challenged by how to make the waves recognisable, how to delineate the sky from the sea effectively and how to create convincing rocks all in monochrome.
I began as before, by drawing in white pencil on black paper. At this stage, I felt that both images would work successfully as a single colour linocut.
I decided to work on the coastline scene first of all as I had more of an affinity with it. This is probably because I sketched from life. However, as I reviewed the white on black drawing, I felt that the rocks needed more individuality. I then decided to make some studies of the rock to try to become more familiar with its character.
Coastal Scene Linocut
The following gallery shows the process from white on black sketch to cutting the lino block. To increase interest, two of the rock studies were also traced and transferred to the lino, this was to give a definite fore, middle and background composition.
Following on from the first proof rubbing, I took a couple of prints, first on newsprint and then on light weight cartridge paper.
From these early prints, which are more easily judged for accuracy and success than the proof rubbings, I made some observations and notes for amendments. Those being:
- The foam coming in to the beach needs to be more horizontal – less slanted
- The sea goes a little uphill on the right of the horizon
- The rock from my study looks more like a face
- Think I prefer the softer white of the newsprint to the bright white cartridge paper
Taking these into consideration, I made some revised cuts and amendments.
- Pleased with the sky, it has a definite separation from the sea, yet has some movement and gives perspective with the varied marks.
- Once rectified, the horizon is clear and level but has movement.
- The sea, up to the foam is quite successful, although, I think I cut away too much for the sea spray on the left wave.
- I was disappointed with the sea-foam, which worked really well in the white on black drawing. Again, I think I cut away too much when trying to amend this part of the image.
- The rocks were my main disappointment. I think by tracing in my studies in an attempt to increase interest, I made my transferred drawing too confusing to follow, especially as it was in reverse to the original sketch.
- I don’t think there is enough delineation between the sea and the rocks so the image merges everything together
- I am, having said all that, glad I tried it though. It is a matter of practice and becoming used to working in reverse. It is an ambitious image for my second lino block and taking that into consideration it turned out better than maybe it should have.
After an ambitious couple of images with much texture, I thought it may be a nice change to go for more man-made shapes and angles. The neighbouring villa, obviously was still there for me to use as reference alongside my original sketch. The lighting was a little different as it was later in the day, so I decided to stick with my original image for that.
I also decided to try actual lino instead of the artificial, soft cut substitute. Again, using the white on black drawing, I transferred the image in reverse onto the lino. The main “white” or negative lines and shapes were cut out first. I find that, sometimes, I can become too engrossed and forget to change the blade to a more appropriate size or shape, which I did here on the pillars at the front. This took a little too much out of the sides where they should have been in shadow. I may just have rescued them by widening the pillars themselves. It was also tricky defining the varied blocks in the volcanic wall – which is built in a similar way to dry stone walls by wedging differing shaped and sized rocks together. There is no mortar holding them together and the crevices between blocks are dark and the blocks themselves can reflect quite a lot of the sunlight. I tried to replicate this, however, with plants and leaves in front I had to ensure they didn’t merge together and held their own definition.
I tried to give the image a sense of place by lightly indicating the planes in the background and additional shrubs in the front.
On the whole this worked ok, although, I don’t find it as engaging as the other two designs.
I took a few prints on newsprint, light weight bright white cartridge and heavy weight cartridge paper. The bright white paper appealed to me the most as it symbolised the bright afternoon sunlight.
Comparing Substitute, Soft Cut Lino with Genuine Lino Blocks
Substitute, soft cut lino blocks were all I could get before moving away. My observations were:
- They are very easy to cut into, although, maybe too easy at times.
- Trying to achieve a clean end to the cut was difficult and a lot of quickly made marks for texture were inadvertently left “feathery” and not sharp.
- I felt it would be easy to cut right through – and at the edges I did at times.
- As I only used these for the more textural images – the soft cut may have had an advantage for these marks.
- Transferred drawings were easy to see and follow.
Genuine Lino – I had a few blocks from years ago that I had never used.
- Had to be warmed for easy cutting – which slowed me down in a more considered way.
- Much easier to be precise.
- Cleaner ends to cuts – much sharper finish.
- Because of the more solid construction, I felt more in control (until the lino cooled too much – the blade could then slip).
- The main disadvantage, was viewing pencil marks on the darker lino.
On the whole, though I see why the substitute version has been developed, I preferred the feel and handling of the real lino – for now!