Reduction lino: attempt II

Oxford’s Bridge of Sighs

Mastering the art of printmaking means being able to produce several perfect prints in a row. (Perfect meaning identical and neat.) I think the reduction technique was a bit too challenging for a starting point, but here I am.

I am happy to share my mistakes in this blog, along with any successes. I want to learn from these mistakes and do something different next time. This is why I am including videos as well as photos of my process/progress. I will be uploading these videos onto my YouTube page.

For my second lino experiment, keeping with the Oxford theme, I chose to work with this image of the Bridge of Sighs, from Instagram:

In order to work with this photo, I flipped the image and posterised it using photoshop.

The Process

Tracing onto the lino, then cutting the design into the lino.

The first areas I removed would appear as the white of the paper:

First layer.

Second layer

For the second layer, I removed the areas of the image where I wanted the first layer to show through.

Using a cloth, I removed ink from the bridge area. This meant I could add red ink to print in a third layer later, (once the first 2 layers were dry). This left a blank area where the underside of the bridge is:

Third layer

I wanted to feature the red-orange of the underside of the bridge, as the colour looks striking in the photograph. I mixed yellow and red ink to achieve the bright colour:

Printing second layer with the orange ink as a test
I knew I wanted the bridge to be bright, so I masked the bride area of the print
After removing the tape, I had a neat area of red ink
I practiced on an imperfect print. The red bridge stands out but almost weakens the rest of the image.

WATCH Bridge of Sighs – applying ink

I then changed tactics. By applying ink to the bottom half of the lino plate, I was able to spread the bright colour across the print and therefore gives it more overall harmony.

These were the results:

As you see, there were:

  • some slight misalignments
  • inky fingerprints at the edge of the paper
  • ink not sticking to the flat area of the bridge
  • uneven prints
Printing onto brown sugar-paper

I wouldn’t call any of the prints successful. I liked some more than others, but it was frustrating to end up with messy results and to have made some silly mistakes that could have been avoided. I know this is part of learning.

Is it OK to say I like imperfection?