Tag Archives: lino

Lino Printing Revisited

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions. I’m far too easily distracted. Just one small spark and I’m off diving down another rabbit hole. That said, and this might be the seasonal surfeit of whisky and Drambuie talking, I’ve come to a decision: in 2023 I’m going to concentrate my artistic efforts on Lino printing. 

I had an enjoyable dabble a few years back and even got as far as investing in a fabulous Gunning Etching Press No. 1 in readiness for the flood of prints I’d be making… but I never truly applied myself and just carried on painting instead. I’ve been good at talking myself out of giving it a proper go ever since. 

One reason I love painting in watercolour and gouache is because it’s pretty much instant, sort of. Get inspired, slop some paint about, job done. Next. I like that.

In contrast Lino printing takes meticulous planning, a sharp mind able to untangle mirrored designs across multiple colour layers and oodles of time. That’s a level of mental gymnastics and determination I’m not sure I possess as over the years both my patience and ability to focus have diminished. 

The sharpest tool in the Lino printing box…

And something else has been blocking me. I’ve been dreading sharpening my nice shiny set of Pfeil cutters. What can I say? They’re pretty expensive and I’m ham-fisted, what could possibly go wrong? I know, I know, I’ve just got to buckle up and learn. My tools will become blunt and I will have to sharpen them. Still going to make me sweat though…

All the gear, no idea

So, I’ve got everything I need, cutters, sharpening stones, a strop, Lino, paper, ink and a press. The choice of subject for my first ‘serious’ go at printing might come as a surprise. Ideally I should choose something simple, take baby steps first. A straightforward design in a single colour would fit the bill. That’s what I should do…

…which is why I’ve decided to try my hand at a multi-layer reduction print. A reduction print is one where the design is transferred to a single block of Lino which is then cut away in successive stages. Each stage becomes a separate colour layer on the finished print. Not simple at all then.

Not only that, I want to try using soft colours which graduate one into the other. Again, not the best place for a beginner to start. But I’m going to do it anyway. If I’m going to get stuck in then I prefer to do something really challenging and learn from my mistakes.

A familiar subject

For my first subject I’ve chosen one of my older paintings of the Old Lifeboat Station at Lizard Point, Cornwall. Now I’ve no intention of trying to slavishly recreate this painting as a print, but I do like the composition and misty atmosphere. Initially I’m thinking of no more than 4 layers which increase in tone from light to dark. However, that might be too ambitious and once I start to cut the Lino and get ink on paper I might change my mind…

An acrylic painting of the old lifeboat station at Lizard Point, Cornwall
An acrylic painting of the old lifeboat station at Lizard Point, Cornwall

You’ll see from these progress photos that I’ve already started planning my first cuts. These will become areas of bare white paper on the final print, highlights; the sparkles on the sea. One thing I’ll need to get to grips with learn early on is how the oil-based Caligo Safewash inks mix with each other, their reducer which thins them and the drying gel which speed up the drying process. 

Lino printing isn’t going to be an easy journey but it will be interesting to see what progress I’ll have made by this time next year.

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Welcome (again)

Ade Turner in Damsontree Studios

Thanks for dropping by. It’s been a few years since I added new content here. These days you can catch up with me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Follow me there for my latest news and paintings.

You can also visit my new(ish) Etsy shop for a selection of original paintings and prints. I’ve found it a real game changer. Some balk at Etsy’s fees, but honestly they’re not as onerous as gallery fees. Yes, it means I have to do all my own promotion but for now that’s OK.

Where’s this site content heading?

Years back when I started this site my intention was to blog regularly and occasionally review painting gear. And for a while, early on, I did just that. For a variety of reasons though that petered out. Then, during the early months of the COVID pandemic I almost shut it down completely. Glad I didn’t. Like so many people I wasn’t in the best frame of mind.

A channel like this where I’m free to expand on themes and ideas has its place. I’m not going to force it, but if I have something more ‘meaty’ to present I’ll do it here. I’ll never be a prolific blogger (or painter for that matter) but I will share when I’m ready.

Meanwhile if you’ve not been here before please explore my earlier posts. The topics bounce around a bit, but that’s just me.

My preferred medium has definitely changed

You’ll see a change in preference through the years. I used to see myself as an oil/acrylic painter. My preference now is to work fairly small in watercolour or gouache. I really love the chalky, graphic nature of gouache. So different from the free blending experience of oils. Quickly laying down opaque layers of paint to build an image feels close to magic when it comes together.

I’ll probably dip into oils now and then, but gouache is definitely becoming my ‘thing’.

What about Lino-printing?

Yes, yes, I know. Truth is, I keep putting it off. Since buying a fabulous Gunning printing press way back I’ve threatened to get into Lino printing. And I do have a long-standing project idea, but its stuck in my head. It’s currently filed under ‘how-the-heck-can-I-make-this-work’…

So there you go, a quick update on where I’m at. I hope you’ve explored and liked what you’ve seen. Do pop over to follow me on on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, or even all three!

Ade, July 2022