So, I was (and am) very pleased with how the first linocut prints went but I gotta tell you… I don’t love the ink I have. It seems to be the standard that most everyone recommends but it’s just a pile of yuk to work with. Dries quickly, textured and smudges even after dry until I get about four layers of fixative on them. This is not my style.
In response to that dissatisfaction I decided to give oil paint a go and see what happened. I selected Titanium White because it tends to have a thicker consistency then others. And, it’s cheaper than other oils … so, for an experiment, it seems prudent.
First step was to prep a background. I decided to use an artists panel for this so I had some firm backing and no restrictions in burnishing (like I would get with a stretched canvas). I also happen to have about four million of these as jerrysatarama.com was having a sale and I stocked UP a few years ago. I tossed some Cadmium medium yellow, Alazarin Crimson (I may have spelled that wrong) and Burnt Umber on the panel and just smushed it all around with my gloved hand and then took a palette knife to the whole thing to even it out a tiny bit.
I did, intentionally, leave some texture to the background as I wanted to see how it impacted the final print.
Then, I rolled some Titanium White out on my mirror and got to work.
A few things I loved already at this point. The paint went on much more evenly than the ink and since it dries so very slowly I had time to go through with a wee finishing nail to clean up any areas that seemed sloppy to me. The opportunity to refine a line without worrying about the ink drying is a HUGE boon, in my estimation.
So then the fun part. I lay the panel right on top of the print block, trying my darndest to line up the corners and get things in order. I used the burnishing tool to push it all down evenly but I’m not sure how big an issue that was given I was using a panel instead of paper. I might have just been able to lay a really heavy book on top and call it good. But I went through the burnishing motions.
Y’all. I’m totally on to something with this. It’s not perfect and yet …AND YET… it seems to be just about perfection to me. I love the inconsistencies based on the texture of the background and I love it that the lines are crisp in some places and ‘iffy’ in others. I’m also, very much, in love with the notion of coming back through and adding some additional paint to build in shading maybe? I dunno but it seems like the possibilities are endless with this.
What a wonderful thing, all this trying of new stuff! Soon I will try this with a stretched canvas as well, just to see what challenges and curiosities I find. I’m not convinced I will give up the printing ink entirely but I am sure I will put it back in the drawer for another few years until I find a new opportunity to give it a go. I do believe it must be good for something, must just find out what.