I recently learned a new skill! I have a very inspiring artist friend in his early 80’s who offered to teach me lino cutting some time ago. Alan is a world traveler and worked as an architect & interior designer all of his working life. He continues to explore in various artistic media.
I found a crescent moon design and went to his very well organized studio for a few hours last Friday. He explained the process, let me practice on a scrap of lino and left me to it.
Sometimes, when I learn something new, I hang back and wait until the moment to begin when I am absolutely certain that it will come out perfectly the first time. Which means that sometimes, I don’t try anything new.
Alan knows me as a fibre artist and knows that I put a lot of time and care into my art work. He was gently encouraging. I felt confident to try this new thing and aware that he had made time in his busy schedule to meet with me. So I picked up my lino cutter and went for it. I am not going to give a tutorial on the process, but I did learn that the next time I will make sure I have a good light source and I will probably draw my design with a Sharpie pen (rather than pencil). Oh yeah, and wear my reading glasses!
I found it a very cerebral and controlled process. I liked the planning – I cut my design in ‘reverse’ so that the print will be the right way – and when I do others, I will think about different colours of ink and about breaking up my design into three or more different blocks and about which order I will print them.
I kept my first one very simple. On just one block, so I’ll do my prints in one go in one colour of ink.
This print was done in water based ink. A trial run to check it out. I removed a bit more of the lino where necessary and identified a couple of places that I will ink in with a brush after the print is made.
I went out and bought a pack of different coloured card stock and am going back on Monday to make a run of prints using oil based ink.
I’m also thinking about other, larger and more complex designs to do. I love German Expressionist woodcuts and think that my Little Red Stick story would lend itself especially well to this medium.
Besides being over the moon about learning how to do printmaking, I am really stoked that my first response to what I made was, ‘Wow! Look at what I made.’ Not feeling apologetic and pointing out the mistakes, but feeling very proud of myself. That mindset is 180º from where I used to be in the not so distant past.