For the final piece for this commission I went back to one of my very old linocut pieces based on a drawing of a shoe I did in 2014.
The previous two prints I created both relied on damp paper to get good image transfer, but lino printing is traditionally done on dry paper, so a very different approach on the handmade paper from the watercolour monotype and the collagraph.
Plant fibre paper is very often a little ‘hairy’. It’s the nature of the fibres when they dry on the surface of the sheet so my concern was whether this aspect would detract from the image and blur it somewhat.
Colour choice was also important because it needed to be strong enough to maintain some density against the colour of the paper.
I inked the entire plate in medium orange, followed by burnt orange on the outer sections to create a strong frame. The image has transferred well, it has solid coverage, the colour gradation is good and it marries well with the background colour.
I’m very pleased with the outcome considering the paper is both textural on the surface and not a flat sheet – as can be seen from the shadows surrounding it. Once the ink is fully dry it can, of course, be flattened under weights.
I used the remaining ink to print a copy for myself on 40gsm Croquis paper of a similar colour, to compare the image transfer against the handmade paper version.
This print hasn’t been pressed between boards to flatten it yet either and it’s easy to see where the paper has embossed in the negative space around the shoe image. That will disappear once pressed.
In my mind this second image is sharper than the first but is it really? Is it just an illusion because the paper is so obviously smooth? When I focus in on small areas I see the transfer is about the same but the paper properties make them look quite different.
I’ve enjoyed this challenge and am pleased with the 3 pieces. It’s been fun trying out the Hemp paper and seeing what will work and I hope the client likes them.