An Artist's Journeys in Nature

LINOCUT

*Linocut* works on the same principle as Woodblock and Woodcut except that a sheet of linoleum is used to make the printing surface.  The lino is often stuck onto a block of wood to make it easier to handle.

Lino is of course much softer and easier to cut than wood, and this makes the technique available for artists to be in control of the whole printmaking process – whereas with traditional woodblock and woodcut it was common for specialist carving craftsmen to create the printing blocks from the artist’s design.  All design work and the creation of the blocks has to be carried out in reverse.

As with woodblock and woodcut the parts of the design that are not to be printed are cut away using a variety of special tools, leaving the flat printing surface standing up above the rest.  This is inked using a rubber roller or “brayer”.

For more than one color separate blocks can be created, and the paper is registered against a frame made to hold the blocks.  It is possible to print more than one color using the same block by cutting away areas progressively and printing the separate colors as the work goes on.  This exercise could be pretty demanding mentally, though, I think!

Linocut lends itself to very simple, bold designs but the medium is flexible enough in the hands of a good artist to render amazingly detailed images. Here for example is “Jardin des Plantes, Paris” linocut by Evelyne Bouchard:

Linocut by Evelyne Bouchard

I’d like as another tribute to my late mentor Rona Swallow, to end this with one of her Linocut prints – a typical scene on New Zealand country roads:

Linocut by Rona Swallow

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