About one year ago, I decided that I wanted to try another form of visual expression beyond pure photography, something that involved a bit more time and physical involvement than an often hasty press of a shutter release. (Please don’t take this as a denigration of photography – I have great respect for good photographers and their work. But I often don’t have the patience to compose properly, preferring to fix things in postproduction, and I wanted to try something more akin to painting, or sculpture, or the like.)
So I decided I would try my hand at linocuts. I’ve always liked the sharp contrast of woodcuts and stoneblock prints, and linoleum gives the beginner a chance to try their hand in a related medium that isn’t so difficult to work with. I bought the supplies and got to work.
This was my first print, inspired by floor tiles in Merton College Chapel:
Obviously, I didn’t quite put enough ink on the roller. Also, I thought it would be fun to start out with some “simple” geometric designs, but I quickly realized that linoleum does not lend itself to the rigidity of geometrical patterns. It’s a soft material, and unless you have the steadiest of hands, it plainly shows the imperfections in your carving.
Nevertheless, I next tried a few simple patterns based on Venetian designs.
The Doge’s Palace:
St. Mark’s Basilica:
The Bridge of Sighs:
And the lion on his column:
Having had some practice, I decided to try some more figurative prints, based on photos I have taken. I started with this dory in Lunenburg:
I was really pleased with how it turned out. After making quite a few prints in plain black, I decided I’d try a reduction print. First, I printed a batch of the above image in yellow, and then I carved some more of the linoleum until it looked like this:
Then I printed the black “ghost” boat over the yellow, to achieve this effect:
I also made a print inspired by the Fisheries Museum in Lunenburg:
(If you study the image I link to above, you’ll notice that I forgot to flip the photograph before I started carving. I have made this mistake more than once!) I tried a reduction print with this one, too, but I really struggled with the registration (i.e., alignment):
This is Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukuāpua’a:
And in blue:
This little creature was inspired by stained glass in the Bristol Cathedral cloister:
And finally, a wind turbine along the shore of Lake Ontario:
My adventures in linocuts are far from over. I’ll post again when I have some more prints to show.