Little Miss Dainty

From time to time I get back to basics and work on some smaller prints and on techniques. The four little prints here are all linocuts and three of them are about printing white ink over darker colours, the other is an experiment in treating water based lino ink as a colour wash.

I like working small sometimes. Any of you following my blog or Facebook page will know that I have worked on some extremely big prints over the last year or two. Exciting stuff, but so demanding: everything at the limits of my strength, arm length and patience. In my files somewhere I have a Victorian print of a tightly corseted lady pulling the lever of a tiny tabletop Albion press with the very tips of her white gloves. She looks like the physical exertion will demand a lengthy slumber on a chaise longue while the servants clean up and bring tea. I don’t run to having servants, chaise longue or even a corset, but I do have a smallish Albion and can at least play at being a lady for a while.

Bitter AfternoonFrost at Full MoonSheep and Sky

The first three prints are all fairly straightforward reduction prints using oil based ink on zerkal paper. The seaside one ‘Bitter Afternoon’ features some free inking (that sounds like something from the recent Olympics. In fact it just means mixing up a number of colours and using little rollers to paint the lino each time I print) and relies on my drawing on the lino with a dip pen and Indian ink to give the scratchy final line layer. ‘Frost at Full Moon’ has partial inking where I have just caught the tips of the fir trees with a suggestion of white and also relies on graduations of one colour into another. ‘Sheep and Sky’ is about playing with pattern. I often use birds for punctuation, breaking up the repeat of the clouds and giving the image more balance here.

Summer CloudburstThe last print ‘Summer Cloudburst’ was demanding. I used roasaspina paper and water based lino inks pushed to their very limits with extender. I painted on the block rather than drew and cut around the paint strokes layer by layer. With the inks at this level of dilution, the number of times I passed the roller over the block became crucial to the image and there is a real feeling of the demands of using translucent colour. Because I was painting the image a layer at a time, I had no way of having the image mapped out on the block in advance which was new to me and, as always, my respect to you watercolourists out there.

The upshot is a selection of prints which I will offer at £80 unframed. I have been able to develop some ideas and enjoyed tripping lightly to and fro with my petite prints while building up some stock at a fair price for its size and content. Now I’ll just loosen my stays and wait for tea and a slice of seed cake…

Author: Laura

Laura Boswell is a printmaker working exclusively with linocut and traditional Japanese woodblock printing. She has a degree in Art History/Visual Art from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and has been elected to the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers.

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