Lino: Working in positive & negative.

Back in February I was messing around with paper-making and tea-staining (blog post here) and, using Photoshop, I ‘cut’ out a couple of random tree shapes (yes I’m still in my tree phase!).

Some of the actual tea-stained paper was used as chine collé in my large tree bark collagraph exhibited recently in the Shadow & Light exhibition in the Palm House, Sydney.

The finished piece can be seen here, framed and hanging, and I was thrilled that it sold during the opening ceremony.

However, back to my cut trees.  Of course, the 2 overlapping trees shown here don’t actually exist.  I simply scanned in sheets of my tea-stained handmade paper and using a Photoshop cutting tool I cut and pasted them on to new computer documents, moved them around, resized and altered the colour density, arranged them and was quite pleased with this simple computer generated outcome.  I’ve been trying to find time to bring them into the real world ever since.

I started by printing out the trees in a few different sizes so I could see how much detail I could keep as I reduced them, as I want this design to be around A5.

I marked out the size of the lino I intend using and inserted the trees.  They suggested landfall, and this was added (the patterning came later).  I still have Elian and the Vortex firmly in my mind and developed his vortex into a more moon-like idea.  It was drawn a couple of times, traced and stuck in place.  I spend my life trying not to over-plan so a couple of drawn samples is as far as I go before making a decision.

A bit blank still?  I need some cloud or sky definition.  Does it have to definitely be one or the other?  Of course not.  I moved to tracing paper, laid this down and added random sky markings.

Yep, happy with that, let’s get the design onto lino and start cutting.

The next decision was what to do with the ground.  I wanted to maintain the stylised look, and so I started filling in some of the sections in the drawing above.  Quite liked the idea of variation in size/density of line work and the added anomaly of a few ‘rocks’, so I carved them.

Of course, it’s in reverse on the lino.  I took my first proof print.

Good start, but a few things to work on.  The edges aren’t great as I’ve a burr around the lino from cutting it to size, so that needs lightly sanding because the ink won’t take.  I know the lino-cutting doesn’t have to be perfect but, in this case, I really don’t like the ‘interference’ across the upper section where the ink has caught in some of the areas I’ve not cut deep enough.  So a bit more cutting is needed there.

The first thing to jump out at me with this design is “What would it look like in reverse?  What would be the result if I cut the trees, the clouds, the moon and reversed the ground concept?”

So I got to cutting…….

No time to print today, but later in the week the inks will be out, the press ready to go and I’m sure I’ll add a bit of chine collé colour in somewhere.  Anyone want to suggest a colour scheme?  I’m open to all ideas.

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About Claire B

I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.
This entry was posted in My Creative Pieces, My prints and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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