Sunday, October 30, 2011

Black Tern Lino

It's been a very long time since I did a linoleum block print. The last one was the 9 color reduction print of the Blackburnian Warbler. And that may explain it: it was an exhausting process. Then there is the problems of oil based paints and solvents. I was getting a bit tired of them.

So a few weeks ago I bought a tube of water-based block printing ink. Above is version 10 or so of a new print of a Black Tern amidst Forster's and Common Terns. I did an ink, watercolor and gouache version of it a week or two ago.

What a pleasure it is to clean up with just water. This is a revelation to me. No smell at all, no use of oil and simple cleanup. As with most things though I wonder what the catch is. I do seem to go through more ink with this. And I haven't used good printing paper. These are just proofs on printing paper. But so far I can't complain about the appearance.

It looks like something I'll continue to explore. We saw this lifer Black Tern at Cape May Point State Park last August. I wanted to focus on him. As I've mentioned before it's always a bit of a shock to go to the linear medium of block printing. How do I get various tones? Especially if I'm only use one color as with this? Well it has to be one with marks of one sort or another.

So every print is an experiment. I'm happy with how this has gone so far. You can see that there is a dark area of background that I haven't touched yet. I wanted to keep working on it but prudence told me not to. It's too easy to make serious mistakes when working too long.

So more to come on this. At the moment I have high hopes. It's nice to be printing again.

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