Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thinking ahead

Winter in the forest
linoleum block print (art card)
open edition
copyright 2010 B.Holden

This study is fresh from the studio this morning. It is based on a photo that was taken earlier this year during the winter months. With the seasonal change underway thought it might be nice to have some new winter theme work made available as possible Christmas gifts. I may also send a few of these out as my own personal card this year to family and friends.
Three blocks were used to create the image. The first block, the key or main block was carved from a piece of battleship gray linoleum and was the last block printed...with black ink. The second block was also cut from battleship gray lino and it was printed as the first colour in the sequence using a gradiated light cerulean blue and white that were blended together on the inking slab (the white areas were cut away from the surface). Then the block for the bluish gray shadow in the foreground birch was cut from a piece of vinyl composite material and this was mounted to a thin piece of flat cardboard (sealed with water base varathan).
I used a three hole punch taped down to a registration board and set the blocks into an L shape brace. These were printed by passing under the roller of my press with a piece of 3 mm (1/8 inch) tagboard set on top of the paper.
I first spent a day cutting the blocks and pulling rough proofs on newsprint using less expensive water based speedball ink. Once everything was aligned and I had the colours down then I mixed up good colours using oil based Faust aqualine relief printing inks. The keyblock was inked using Caligo carbon black safe wash oil base ink. Both of these inks use soap & water cleanup as they are modified oils that break down with liquid detergent and are also certified non toxic. I feel quite safe working with bare hands knowing this will not harm me if absorbed into the skin.
Since it is not overly large in size I have decided to print the 8 x 13 cm (3.25 x 5.25 inch) block onto a 13 x 18 cm (5 x 7 in) piece of rag paper and thought I might market these as artcard size original prints.


  1. Lovely print, as always, though it made me shiver at the thought of winter still to come!
    I still have trouble using my Speedball waterbased inks - do you use any kind of extender? It just doesn't work as well as oil based ink

  2. Thanks Colin
    yes winter is on it's way especially here in the region of North America where I dwell. It is not unusual to see snowfall this time of year, so far it has not happened but it is definitely chilly enough to do so.
    I did not use any extender for either the proofing stage (Speedball ink) nor the other oil inks for the actual edition prints.
    Speedball water base ink is ok for some uses such as proofing and also teaching printmaking to children.

  3. You're right about Speedball - it's quick and easy to clean up, but you can't beat oil based inks for quality.