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Winter Hillside Badgers

Updated: Mar 17

My latest reduction linocut is of two badgers up on the hillside in the winter on a crisp chilly day. The hawthorn trees up on the mountainside are stunted, twisty, and full of character. I like the way the grasses and bracken poke up through the snow giving colour and texture, oranges and browns against the blue shadows.

This is a quick teaching sketch in acrylic that captures some of the feeling I was after.

Apparently Badgers don’t hibernate in the winter, they just take it easy and only wander out if hungry and to change their bedding occasionally (a bit like me really;).

I had started this print well before the end of 2021 but things got a bit busy and it is now into March 2022! I’d made a few quick sketches of the two badgers a while ago. I wanted to try to put the viewpoint a bit higher, looking down on the animals and through to the distant landscape. The woodpigeons turned up later to balance the composition and to give some movement and depth at the top.

The pic below is of the lino and print after the third layer of printing.

It has turned out to be a 5 layer print. That is I have cut and printed the same piece of lino 5 times, overprinting and cutting away more each time, to make the final image. I’ve made a simple time-lapse of the stages to help explain. Some of the layers of printing are rolled in more than one colour. This all adds to the complexity of the final print.

This is the first large linocut edition I’ve made using the new Gunning press. It is a no. 3 press, fairly big and with a larger diameter stainless steel, 6” top roller. I think I could get a maximum image size print of around 50x80cm on 62x92cm-ish paper if needed. The usual full size paper I use is 56x76cm, so that’s allows a bit to spare.

I’ve researched a few different methods for printing reduction linocuts with this kind of etching/multi printer and I’m really pleased with the results so far. I’m sure there are other ways that people use and I’ll probably make a few ‘tweaks’ for the next edition.

I'm using Perspex runners to around 9mm. The 3.2 lino is mounted on 6mm mdf. So that I don't get even the slightest 'bump' as the roller passes I put extra lino runners on the sides of the mdf. I'm not sure yet how vital they are, more experiments needed yet.

Because of the fine detail of the reduction work and the multiple layers I make, I try to avoid any indentation into the paper that would come from using a blanket or even layers of paper between the print and the roller. Instead I have used some silicon baking parchment (not the rubbery stuff!) to provide the 'slippiness' without any give. It works very well, out of 50+ prints at the start and 5 layers, not one has miss-registered.

Once again it has ended up as a varied edition. Not with any great differences. Any variation is mainly caused by slight changes in rolling up areas of colour and in mixing the ink. There are 40 prints in the edition plus 5 proofs. The image is 42x30cm onto paper 55x38 (slightly trimmed half a sheet.

In the video below I am drawing onto the lino with a ball point pen to help me sort out which areas of the branches need to be cut. It has got too complicated to easily transfer with graphite paper from the design. I wipe the remaining ink from the pen over with white spirit before I print again, to make sure the image doesn't transfer to the prints accidentally.

Below is the original design made using blue acrylic paint and pen along with the scanned and reversed image that I use to transfer the design on to the lino. Notice my tools. I tend to use the olva cutting knife a lot to define shapes that need to be cleared. The gouges are a mix of lovely old fleabay finds, some new Pfeil cutters and I've just invested in a couple of new Matthieu Coulanges tools (the one in the pic has a die blade guard in place).

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2 comentários

Absolutely stunning work. Thanks for this in depth description of your process. Its your mind that conceptualizes the sequence which is wonderful. congratulations for all of your beautiful work.

12 de mai. de 2022
Respondendo a

Thank you for your kind comment. I like to show how my art is made, I have been in education for a long time and it feels right to explain things. No magic! Just thought and care and time... and cups of tea😂

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