The first works of 2019 were ready by the 3rd week of January: two linocuts of medium size, one with two plates and the other one with three. The aim was transparency, juxtaposition of free drawing and design drawing, experimenting with white on black to achieve the aimed transparency. Noted while working: Later the underprint might be coloured. Titles: “Pattern: white noise” and “Pattern: efforts to tame freedom”.
Proof prints and models
These two linocut prints took many work hours and many proof prints. After the first proofs of the first one (White noise), I printed on Japanese paper Awagami size 49,5 x 61 cm. The result was not what I wanted: the paper did not stick well on the inked plate and did not absorb the ink well. As a result, the second plate which entails a large inked surface (white) came out with lines from the spoon that I use for hand printing.
Then, I made the second design and decided to use three plates. Before working on the two smaller plates for this one, I made a model from milky semi-transparent paper that is usually used for animation design.
Tosa Shi paper and waterbased ink
After several proofs, I went ahead with printing again: I bought new Japanese paper of differently layed fibres and slightly smaller sheets: Tosa Shi is the name of the paper, white colour, with a rather coarse texture on one side, smooth on the other; the sheets I bought are size 45,5 x 60 cm. This paper sticks well on the inked linoplates. While printing you see the design at the back side of the paper. It is also strong, does not tear. It does leave a bit of grain/dust on the black surfaces. I don’t know if this can be avoided if using oil ink. This time I wanted to work fast so I used the Schminke waterbased ink (with natural bind mediums-gummi arabicum). This ink is supposed to dry within 15′. However, to print the second layer, I allowed the prints to dry for one day. For the 3rd layer of design 2 – black lines on white surface – I waited for two hours for the white to dry. Still, I have the impression that it could have dried longer. I also tried both sides of the paper to see which side prints better. It is definetely the smooth side that you need to use. Unless you want to experiment with dusty like surfaces and a result of less opaque colour.
2019 will be a printing year for me. I continue now with smaller format linocuts and with colour (red and yellow inks already in the studio). Then I also want to work with lithography. I have two designs nearly finished; need to sit down and prepare them and then arrange to go to the printing studio in The Hague, to put them on a stone and print.
Engraving is a (or the) art labour to draw satisfaction and peace from. You need physical strenght, control on your movement, good planning and precision, and a special kind of concentration and devotion when engraving and printing; and the prints radiate all this. What a thrill!