Collaboration Two: Printmaking (Lino)

As part of my personal practice plan, I have planned to do some printmaking to create works on a smaller scale. The photos that I took with quite high contrast at the lake, seemed really appropriate to explore lino cutting. I have only had experience of doing this it quite a basic level previously so I wasn’t sure how the image was going to turn out.I did to make the image quite graphic although later I regretted this as the lines were far more fixed then I like to work with. I also created a number of background using loose watery printing ink to work on top of.results so far are varied and I would say the prints which are less quality are actually the more interesting ones. So for example, there are a couple where there is an inconsistent print layer on the surface and this creates the effect of trace or rubbing out.I also discovered that it’s very difficult to print evenly on a printing ink surface and the print some plain white cartridge paper show that if you want a flat graphic print this is the best way forward. This kind of makes a link with narrative and books and the repetition of imagery, however I’m not sure how significant this is when the image is repeated and static like it is from the lino print.

For the next stage of exploration, I decided to remove a section of the lino to print only the foreground, the figure and the puddles/stains in the bottom half of the composition.The results of this were satisfying as it allowed the stain from beneath the print to become more apparent, as though it is escaping from the frame. This links back really clearly with the research that I didn’t about Francesca Woodman and Francis Bacon and their manipulation of figure in space. The prints were initially crumbly and quite dark so I experimented with putting the lino through the printing press and then taking subsequent ghost prints. The effect of this was to create a greyer, more shadow like image on usually the 3rd print taken from the lino. The press enabled me to get a flatter, more matt finish, particularly on the printing ink surfaces which I had problems printing on before.


Through creating these lino prints I realised that the type of line was too static to express the concepts I am exploring. However, the inconsistency of prints and later ghosts work really well in some cases. I love the way the colour escapes from the more ridged edge/boundary of the print. I will need to think quite carefully about cropping and possible framing of some of these works to retain the loose colour backgrounds. There were quite a few technical and conceptual decisions that I made through developing this series;

  • use a press not dry roller for a more even print
  • ghost printing makes a less graphic, more trace like images
  • wrinkles on paper can create evocative threads on the surface
  • achieving a grainy, newspaper like finish seems to convey a greater sense of narrative
  • I prefer the looser more watery backgrounds BUT stronger colour works too
  • square edges are extremely static BUT something about the frame within a frame works
  • too much information doesn’t work
  • prints are more even if you print on cartridge paper
  • placement is an issue – should have created system for aligning prints
  • only roll through once

In terms of the collaboration, this is another series of experiments which can be selected from for composition. I am planning to select the ‘best’ to present and create a bulldog book from the other experiments. I really like the ghosts – the question is what to do with the previous prints. Perhaps I can work on top of these with colour or deconstruct them? The quality of the line is also worth exploring further. The cut line is ridged and made more so by its juxtaposition with the underlying stain. The ‘accidental’ uneven print or found creases and lines are also qualities that I would like to preserve and play with.

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