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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Registration of Linocuts - always tricky?

linocut , simple line drawing direct on the lino
 My latest lino reduction, I decided to do something that is not so usual for me.... that is, be fluid..... a bit loose, not think too much, but try to cut in a more organic way..... hmmmm.... not me at all... as I am a bit of a control freak, which is actually why printmaking is SO for me....
I started with the simplest of line drawings, hardly any marks at all (again, for being me;o) but I did have a clear idea in my head, that I wanted a real color fest!
linocut , the first yellow...and it's yellow alright!!
the first color on is a yellow for the mimosa blossom, those incredible little yellow balls.... I made it a very yellow, below, you can clearly see what was cut away to remain white...hardly anything......
Linocut , the first inking, you can see what has been cut away to remain white...
then came the second yellow, for the vase, and for the "shadows" on the mimosa blossom...... I have cut my papers with the usual precision, you want nice hard corners, and I have taped down the registration matrix to the press bed, it is easier when it does not move about...... now, I think, that hands are very important in the getting the registration right..... you need to find a way, to hold the paper, so you have total control over it.... so it can't flap about, and you feel comfortable holding it.... if you are afraid of dirty finger prints, make the paper a bit bigger, so you can cut away dirty areas without it making a difference to the print! That's a simple solution.... when you start out, make smaller prints, easier to handle smaller papers, another simple solution..... think about your subject matter, faces, have to register really well, or they look horrible... so maybe, when starting out, avoid faces..... that might not be so simple if portraits are your thing ;o) it is a simple solution though.
Why do I go on and on about simple solutions.... well, I find on giving courses, that a lot of wonderful brave people, feel that linocut reductions are an uphill struggle... and I have to agree.... if you start out big....6 colors..... lots of eyes..... then yes, it will get you down.... who said it was easy.... so....
solutions, make them simple and make them nice to yourself. That way you enjoy the learning process as much as the result, find your feet, and then do faces.... learn your new skill, and then get real prickly about registration.... but don't let a little thing like registering a piece of paper get you down..... please!
linocut , well ahead, hmmmmmm
 here I have added my first blue on the bottom, and my 2 greens, and it is so evident that I should have had more mimosa blossom!!!! much for loose, hmmm. what ever..... oh, there are some blue blossoms to come in the middle....
linocut , it is bright..... just what I wanted!
 the colors, though, are perfect, just what I wanted..... it will be a really happy print! the vase, by the way, is printed in 2 yellows at the same time......

linocut , cutting
cutting away all the greens, preparing for the next to last color, the blue of the blossoms... I know by now, it's not going to work... and that, is why this post is done, because that is how it goes sometimes.... it does not work!!! It really is no big deal.... I had great fun... I found some things out.... the colors are all sorted for the next print, that's for sure.... so onwards and upwards!
oh.... the registration was really good though.... ;o)) gotta be an optimist, right!!


  1. Oo, good for you, to get brave and just experiment. I did like the print, by the time the blue & greens were added. Wonder if you could do something interesting with it, using another plate?
    The plate itself is rather lovely; the monochrome and its texture just makes it so interesting. You could keep that!

    My attempt at Christmas cards this time round, was a 4-colour print of a robin in the snow. Registration was the biiig thing and I didn't actually finish. Perhaps it's time to have another try, with maybe just 3 colours and a bit of bravery - plus some tape to fix that registration matrix to the table!! Not having a press (yet!), I am making hand-rubbed prints. They were coming out quite nicely, so maybe just more experimenting and more patience...

    Thank you for the encouragement, useful hints & tips and for sharing your experiments with us.

  2. I know what you mean - sometimes I just want to dive in and not plan so much! I'm doing that right now, starting with a screenprint and then adding etching. We'll see how that goes! When I am frustrated, a friend always tells me that I'm always learning and that's a good thing. Reminds me of what you are saying!
    I like the colors of your print here.
    Have a good day!