Monday, 1 December 2014

Artistic Explorations: Relief Printmaking (1)

Last month I signed up for a course Printmaking at Grays School of Art in Aberdeen. Printmaking is a perfect complementary skill to have for my mixed media art practice. The techniques we are going to learn the next few months are Relief printing such as lino cut and Intaglio printing which includes drypoint engraving, etching and collagraphy.

This article shows what I have created during the lino cut session. In my following articles I will write about the other techniques.

Cutting a sheet of lino ©Fenfolio2014
When my design of tree trunks was cut I experimented with printing on various papers. I especially like the handmade papers, including my own!

Lino print on handmade paper with embedded petals and grass ©Fenfolio2014

Lino print on my own handmade paper made from an old blouse ©Fenfolio2014

A second lino sheet was cut in two stages to create two layers of colours. This is called a reductive lino print. A registration plate is then really necessary to make sure that the second layer is positioned in the correct place.

The white colour (which is the paper) was cut out first and the lino sheet was printed in a midtone colour. Then I cut the rest except for the shadow areas and printed it in a dark colour.

Reductive lino print in black and gray on Somerset paper ©Fenfolio 2014

Reductive lino print in black and turquoise on Somerset paper ©Fenfolio 2014

Last year I had already experimented with soft lino which I prefer (but it's much more expensive!) as it's smoother to cut through. I find lino takes more effort to cut although you have a bit more control when cutting delicate designs.

A nice alternative for lino is scratch foam which I found online about two years ago. The advantage is that you don't need a press, only a brush (the back) or non-sharp tool to draw into the foam, a roller and some acrylic paint. You can burnish the back of the paper with a clean roller or with the palm of your hand and then pull off the print.

Drawing in scratch foam ©

Below is one of my earlier prints I did. I first embossed the scratch foam with some leaf texture (embossing plate I had bought). Then I drew a flower on top and printed it with black acrylic paint. It's very simple, really effective and great fun for adults and children!

Scratch foam print ©Fenfolio2014

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