Friday 15 October 2021

Behind the Scenes on 'September Evening'

For this year's 20:20 print exchange I decided to capture a familiar and favourite view. It's one I've seen a lot of during recent lockdowns and on a warm, summer evening, it's hard to beat. Nothing exotic - it's the view to the west from our own backyard in Manchester. Our own little space, haven and outside space. From here we have watched the bats and the International Space Station fly over regularly. The shared garden behind has mature trees, hedgehog residents and an insect hotel, amongst other things.

I've included below some reference photos I took - both day and evening to guide me:

One of the trickiest challenges was how to take the image over the edges of the paper and register consistently. Thank you to printmakers on Facebook's Linocut Friends site for suggestions and tips! I finally went for face down registration - using a basic template. 

I then started by testing gradation colours, to explore how best to create a good illusion of twilight. After deciding on a composition and what to include and leave out, I finalised the design and transferred it to the lino in pencil. The cutting was fairly intricate - especially the section with the leaves. You can see some work in progress shots here:

Trying alternative colours

Starting to cut the lino plate

The tree section starts to emerge

Initial cutting completed

From here I proofed the plate in the my chosen colour way, removed and refined elements to clean up the image. Once I was happy with a proof image, it was time to print the full 20:20 edition of 25 for Prospect Printmakers submissions.

First rough proof

Later proof

One of the challenges I spotted late was that printing right to the edges means you can't peg prints up, which is my normal route. Maybe I finally need to look at flat drying racks after all! In the meantime, I have all the edition drying on the studio floor. And the gorgeous studio cat is temporarily banned! This is how the edition developed:

The gradation - printed from a plain lino block

Printing the edition

The finished linocut edition - drying on the floor

The plate and the image together

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