Monday, 8 April 2013

Two Pugs - the final layer.

Two Pugs. Linocut. 18" x24". Edition of 75

Artist's proof detail.

Inspecting the first pull of the completed print. It was far too cold to work in the studio so I commandeered the dining room table.
 Two Pugs key block masked and ready to receive the ink for the final layer.

Two Pugs - the colour layers

After months of carving and laborious hand burnishing, the dogs began 
to emerge.  All that was needed now was to print the key block.
I was aiming to recreate the velvety fur texture by overlaying the brown 
and blue layers. This is where it really helped to have a perfect transfer of the 
key block on the lino to use as a guide. You can see the black pug 
transfered image on the left.

The first pull of the blue layer. Checking the mustard speckles coming 
through the blue textile pattern.

Layer 3. Dark duck egg/ slate grey for the black pug, brown pug's nose, face 
detailing and the textile pattern. After this I also added the brown pug's 
claws to the blue layer. The aforementioned wrapping paper, with which 
I initially transfered the key block,  is recycled here to make a perfect mask.

Layer 1. Cream for all the background except the black pug's fur. 
Layer 2. Mustard for the wood floor detail, the brown dog and the 
undercoat for the floral textile.

Two Pugs - Inking up the Key Block

The first inking of the key block. I used Lawrence's black oil based ink with a tiny bit of reducing medium and a drop of cobalt drier to speed drying time.

Because of the detailed fine carving the ink has to be exactly the right consistency. Too thin and it will bleed into the shallow grooves. Too thick and it will look claggy and take an age to hand burnish with my spoon.

At this point I transfered the image onto four more pieces of lino using wrapping paper (one for each subsequent layer/colour). The cobalt drier means that the fine ink transfer dries rapidly, giving an exact copy of the image which is ready to be carved by the next day.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Two Pugs - Linocut - Part 2 The carving of the key block

I had known from the outset that this print might turn out to be an epic undertaking.
At 18" x 24", the key block alone took over a month to carve. 

I started with the eyes of the little black pug,  occasionally making rubbings with black colour pencil to check my progress.

I began by sketching out my design onto squared up lino. 

Two Pugs - Linocut - Part 1 continued

I wanted to see whether it was possible to create delicate coloured cross hatching in places like the Pugs eyes by overlaying just this limited colour range. For this to work each colour needed to also work as an equally spaced  gradient of tones.
I also studied the leaf and flower fabric with a view to incorporating it as a backdrop.

Two Pugs - Linocut - Part 1

'Two Pugs' is the first linocut commission I have chosen to undertake. 
I worked from photographs to create my initial sketched design. 
I wanted very much to keep a simple colour  palette that felt subdued yet still had depth.