This design is the same size as my last fox print and is also set amongst the trees and bracken on Mynydd Llangatwg.
The printing has taken since the start of December and I had been working on the design for around a month before then.
There is a particular area of hawthorn trees on the mountain that are very old and stunted and twisted by the harsh conditions and the nibbling of sheep. Sadly some of them are coming to the end of their lives and there are fallen trees and limbs amongst the bracken.
In the background are Sugarloaf Mountain and the distinctive profile of a section of the lime quarry cliff over Craig y Cilau.
There are six layers of cutting and printing in this print. I usually stick to just four or five but I need to give a bit more difference of tone between some of the trees, hoping to give the final image some depth. The side on position of the fox could seem a bit flat without this. Plus I wanted to be able to contrast the cooler blue greys against the warm burnt oranges and reds of the fox.
Once again I made the design using acrylic paint premixed into a range of blue tones and a black roller ball pen. This was made slightly smaller than the finished print. It was enlarges and reversed on the computer. This then becomes the master design sheet from which I transfer each tone in turn to the lino block for each layer of cutting and printing.
I had a rough idea of the colours I would use to print. There isn't as much variation in this edition as there have been in many of my earlier prints. Most variations are the result of slight differences in rolling up a layer of ink on the lino in two or more colours and then not getting them exactly the same each time (plus it's fun to experiment!)
I've had to use my larger press to print. It is a modified book press. I've replaced the wooden parts to slightly increase the size and repair some serious woodworm damage. The problem is it doesn't have enough 'oomph' when printing a large area so for large areas I have to use a spoon to ensure the printing is even. I'm saving up for a serious albion type press (does anyone know of one going for a resonable price?)
I've ended up with 20 first quality prints after starting out with 35 and four proofs. One sheets of paper per print. Have a look at the price per 56x76cm sheet of Somerset Satin 300gsm! Expensive firelighters.
This is the fourth fox in my reduction linocuts and they show up occasionally in my paintings.
I'll give printing a rest for a month or so now and concentrate on some painting. I do have a couple of ideas for future prints in the spring. Maybe something with swallows? Hares?... Or maybe something a bit more from the imagination?