Printmaking and People

Block of 'Spirit' reduction linocut - Jenn White

Block of ‘Spirit’ reduction linocut – Jenn White

With the Casterton Rotary Club taking over the annual art show held during the Kelpie Muster weekend, there were additional categories to enter – not just Kelpies, as gorgeous as they are.  I decided to try my hand at a portrait, in the theme of ‘True Blue’.  Not sure what it is about me that I continually challenge myself, but it is certainly a way to learn.

I chose to do a portrait of an Aboriginal man, for me the epitome of ‘True Blue’. Reference photo at hand, and the basics transferred from sketch to lino block, I dove in. I wanted muted colours that were also reminiscent of the Aussie landscape.  I also wanted a less ‘solid’ effect than I normally do in a reduction print.  It was the essence, the ‘Spirit’ of the man, the People, and the land I yearned to depict…somehow.

Three colours down reduction linocut 'Spirit'

Three colours down reduction linocut ‘Spirit’

Fourth colour down reduction linocut 'Spirit'

Fourth colour down reduction linocut ‘Spirit’

Pulling prints by hand (i.e. without the aid and pressure of an etching press) always entails a degree of mystery.  Questions hurtle through my mind as I work.  Will it turn out the way I want? Will it be acceptable as a print?  Will the blasted ink stick properly to the paper?  Have I used too much medium, added too much white to pale-down the colour?  How much Cobalt drier do I add to hurry the drying process, and not have the ink drying on glass or block?  It’s all part of the process and delving into the joy of creating a print purely by hand.

In Process Reduction Linocut 'Spirit'

In Process Reduction Linocut ‘Spirit’

Printing an edition of only four prints, there is not a lot of leeway for disasters.  Still, I only really needed a single print to enter into the show.  Am I happy with the final result? Yes, but, as always, there are things I would do differently next time, lessons learned, and new questions to which I will puzzle out the answers, during the next printing session. No, it was not chosen as the ‘Best Portrait’, but it was considered as a possibility.  Good enough for me.  Though, maybe I’ll enter a Kelpie next year.  I do like those dogs.

Finished print 'Spirit' - reduction linocut, Jenn White

Finished print ‘Spirit’ – reduction linocut, Jenn White

 

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