The block, drawn with a Sharpie Marker, and then carved with my Flexcut tools, ready to print. This is the first piece of Richeson Easy to Cut (unmounted) linoleum I tried, and I liked it, but I think I’d recommend the mounted version, to reduce slippage & stretch if you’re using a press. If you’re interested in trying a soft block for printmaking, I’ve heard good things about Gomuban blocks, which are reported to be just as soft to carve, but a tad stiffer, so they stretch less during printing, and hold sharper edges for finer details. I haven’t tried them myself, but those qualities sound appealing to me.
Rolling ink out on a sheet of glass, until it has just the right “hiss” sound to indicate that the viscosity and depth of the ink on the roller has reached the appropriate levels for applying to the block. Not too thick, not too thin.
Rolling ink on the plate. And speaking of rolling ink, there is a great video tutorial on McClain’s web site for hand rolling a blended gradient with oil-based inks. I love their tip of using tape as a guide to keep the roller aligned with the block.
Carefully peeling the soft block off the print. I made a matboard sandwich so the block and paper were supported from the bottom, as well as the top before going through the press. The top layer of matboard is already removed in this shot, but it kept the roller on the press from indenting the back of the soft block as it passed under it. This would have arched the the block around the curve of the roller and spread the inked front as it passed through the press, akin to the spreading of pie crust under a rolling pin. The block bounces back to shape when the pressure of the press roller is removed, but while the ink side is pressed to the paper, you get a skipped effect in the finer details, which you can see hints of in the stripes of the table cloth on the print at the top of this post. It looks like I’m trying to make a 3-d image, but not really. 🙂
The block next to the print, before it was dried and then painted with watercolor. This was printed in an edition of 30, and I have a few in black & white, and a couple painted with watercolors left in stock.
Coco, oil on wood by Amanda Blake
This Spring, I started sharing my personal art collection – one at a time – with each new blog post. Almost all of the art was purchased online, directly from the artist. This one – Coco – was given to me as gift. Lucky me. I’ve been fawning over Oregon artist Amanda Blake’s art, like so many others, from the moment I discovered her blog. The narrative whimsy in the titles of her larger paintings will make you smile. I’ve always loved vintage photos from my family’s albums for my own painting fodder, and Amanda’s art is reminiscent of sepia toned, oval framed, attic-treasure daguerreotypes infused with colorful pigments and fairy tale imagination. If you haven’t seen her work, go have a look.
Her paintings are available in her Etsy Shop, and you can see a wonderful assortment of 209 of her little portrait block paintings, just like mine, on her Flickr site. If you find one you love that’s still available, grab it, because they sell fast.