Saturday, January 14, 2012

Linoleum Block Prints

I've always alike the look of wood and linoleum cut prints. And I have always wanted to spend some time doing them. So last summer I set aside some time to make some.

I started by looking through my sketchbooks and picking some likely candidates. I drew them roughly on the linoleum then drew them in with ink and brush. (Actually, it may have been one of those pens that have a brush-like tip.) Once the drawing was dry, a day or two later, I started cutting away the parts that I didn't want to print. This part took longer than I expected, 3 or 4 days or so. I'm usually a watercolor guy, I like to finish things quickly, so this was already stretching my patience. Finally, I rolled on some ink and hand-printed 10 or 12 of each. It took a few tries to get the right amount of ink, and the right pressure for printing. And in some cases, after the first test print I had to cut out a few more parts of the block and reprint.

Below is one of the samples. I made a web page for them, which you can see at

Building the page was another interesting project. At work I've been learning a lot about using jquery, so I built this one with basic html and css. Then I added all the interactivity using jquery. I used it to add the links that show and hide the images. And I used it to control the navigation. The right and left links are actually just one line of html. With jquery I was able to change the action of the navigation based on which image that is displayed. Very educational indeed!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Laurel Art Guild Workshop

Back in November 2011 I was invited to do a one day workshop for the Laurel Art Guild. I've done a lot of workshops over the years in addition to my watercolor classes. It's always a lot of fun and workshops give me the chance to meet some new people.

This workshop was a little different. I was asked to show how I use acrylic painting instead of traditional watercolor. For the first demonstration I did a painting in my usual wet into wet method, but intentionally covered areas of paper that I normally would have left white, in the lower part of the sky in particular. Then, after letting the first round of color dry, I added white back into the areas to reclaim the whites and lightened some areas by mixing white in with color. That example is shown below.

For the second painting, I treated it just as if it were a traditional watercolor painting. Using the colors transparently, with wet into wet washes and glazing. No white paint was used in this one. Here is the second painting.

The first two paintings were done on Arches 140 lb cold press paper. I also happened to have with me a pre-stretched canvas, so while everyone else was painting I did another in a more traditional oil-type technique. I started by blocking in with transparent color, covering the entire canvas, then as it dried, adding darks and lights with heavy paint. Quite a bit different from the light touch required in the others. And it takes more effort to move the color around because it doesn't flow like a puddle of color. Here it is.

I had a great time and I think the others in the class did too. Thanks to everyone from the Laurel Art Guild who attended that day and thanks to Donna Aldridge for inviting me!