The Black Crow A Personal Challenge

The Hurdle

This next printmaking project, Black Crow has taken me quite some time to fathom. I’ve often been confused by the reduction method of printmaking. For quite some time I couldn’t wrap my head around the process. How could one cut away sections of a block without jeopardizing the image as a whole? What portions of the design should you cut first? I know I’m not a dense person, however it was driving me mad for some time before I had an “aha” moment.

The Reduction Process

For those unaware of what the reduction method of printmaking is I’ll try and explain this to you. Starting with a linoleum or wood block you draw out your design on the block. At that point you have to know what colors you’d like to have on each element of the design. For the Black Crow I had decided to have white clouds, therefor the only color needed was the background of blue for the sky. As you see in the photo below I cut out the clouds which would remain white after adding blue ink to create the print.

The first of a block reduction for Black Crow
The second layer was the design of the crow. I then cut away all the block until I had only the crow to print in black. The trick is to line up the block directly over the first printing. This is easily achieved by marking the block on the paper to re-aline for the next ink print.

The second reduction cut for the Black Crow

Black Crow A Personal Challenge

Thinking about this process I’ve learned that for the most part, starting with the lighter color of the design first may be wise. Having more than three colors could become problematic. Adding additional color would certainly darken the background colors already laid down making it difficult to add a lighter portion of the design.

I’m already thinking of the next project where I’ll attempt three colors. My head my explode by the time I’m finished. I’ll share with you the outcome of my folly.

Print of reduction cut of the Black Crow

I’ve created an card with personalized inspirational message to share with you for when you would like to send encouragement to a loved one.

 

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Art Nouveau Floral Mono Prints

A style of art I enjoy creating with linocuts is Art Nouveau. I like the simple lines used to create nature themed designs found on adverts, jewelry and furnishings. Art Nouveau was most popular between 1890-1910. Not only were floral designs part of this style but also curved lines and also architecture.

Closed Lotus Flower With Two Ivy Leaves

mono print of flower and two ivy leaves
This first mono print shown is one I had designed to look like a window you’d find at church. The squared off Tudor arch effect also has two flower buds on either side. The focal point is a lotus flower not yet opened. And lastly an ivy leaf can be seen on the bottom right and left of the lotus stem.

Lotus on a Pedestal

mono print of a lotus flower
I chose green ink to press Lotus on a Pedestal. At the top corners of the print can be seen three leaves. There are three pedestals on the bottom, the center holds a lotus flower while the pedestals on either side hold buds. This green print is one of my first attempts at cutting a linoleum block. Though it may appear crude I still like it. I do enjoy creating Art Nouveau floral mono prints.

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Cho Ku Rei and Bamboo

I enjoy carving linoleum blocks in the traditional style with sparse subjects and simple lines. The original inspiration was the bamboo plant. Watching a show one day on the television I was amazed to learn that bamboo wood is the strongest wood in the world.

Bamboo is used for anything imaginable from roofing materials to piping. There are a few varieties of voracious grower climbs towards the sky 30 inches per day. A member of the perennial evergreens and grasses this tree/grass is a vital building material for much of Asia.
Linoleum block with Reiki symbol carving

Reiki Inspiration

This ancient Japanese Reiki symbol you see here is called Cho Ku Rei pronounced “Cho-Koo-Ray”. The symbol is used to increase your energy flow as well as for protection. It is a symbol of power but not intended to create someone powerful. Reiki is never used for ill or bad intentions.

I thought the symbol and bamboo made a lovely print and so it was carved.

Cho Ku Rei and Bamboo

Reiki symbol Cho Ku Rei print

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Twilight At The Oaks

Twilight At The Oaks is another inspired piece. I’ve always admired the work of illustrator and painter Maxfield Parrish. I grew up with a poster of Daybreak, that iconic landscape framed by two Greek pillars while one women lay resting on her back on the ground and another leans over her hands on knees talking to her. My parents drove 30 minutes away just to drive past the home and farmhouse in Cornish, NH he called The Oaks where he lived and worked until his death in 1966.

Local libraries are great resources

Just recently I was in our local library looking for a book of Monet landscapes when I came across a book entitled Maxfield Parrish The Landscapes by Alma Gilbert. After reading about Parrish’s life and his love of working with landscapes alone, I fell in love with twilight’s light all over again. I see the same light often because I still live in the region of Parrish’s home.

Twilight at the Oaks

One particular painting entitled Twilight, (1935) caught my eye. It is a painting of a white farmhouse and barn caught in the blue glow of coming night. The oaks behind the house and outbuildings tower of the structures as dark as green can become. In the distance a mountain stands, most likely the model was Mount Ascutney which Parrish could see from his home. The mountain hides the setting sun and the sky along the horizon and over the roof tops are light pale orange yellow that disappears as the blue night comes down from the heavens.
What I have to show today is a lino cut of my rendition inspired by the painting.

linocut of a house and trees
By the way, I tried to find Twilight (one of several paintings with this same name) on Google images but could not. The original painting is in a private collection.

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Cat in the Window

Cat in the window

The cat in the window is very happy. Kitty sits on a window ledge in front of a frosty window. The ice looks like stars on a glass. This mono print in light blue was made from a carved linoleum block. I can envision the cat in the window is sitting in a room warmed by a wood stove. As the snow is falling heavily from the sky, the world is quiet and peaceful.

Process

Generally I draw out the design on the lino block before starting to carve however, this time I went with my imagination to guide knife. There was another challenge I had to overcome. I wasn’t sitting a cozy room with a wood stove but my less than warm studio.

I’m not a vain person, just one that washes the hair in the morning and goes. I do own a hair dryer but not for drying my hair. I use a hair dryer to warm up those hard grey lino blocks. Though the linoleum becomes softer, they are not as soft as the pink sheets available. I could at least get by without cramping my hands from the resistance of knife on block.

The results

blue cat linocut

The delft blue color makes the cat pop from the window. I really like how Cat in the Window came together when printed. It is fun to carve a block now and again and take a break from the paint.

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Cat in the Window

Cat in the window

The cat in the window is very happy. Kitty sits on a window ledge in front of a frosty window. The ice looks like stars on a glass. This mono print in light blue was made from a carved linoleum block. I can envision the cat in the window is sitting in a room warmed by a wood stove. As the snow is falling heavily from the sky, the world is quiet and peaceful.

Process

Generally I draw out the design on the lino block before starting to carve however, this time I went with my imagination to guide knife. There was another challenge I had to overcome. I wasn’t sitting a cozy room with a wood stove but my less than warm studio.

I’m not a vain person, just one that washes the hair in the morning and goes. I do own a hair dryer but not for drying my hair. I use a hair dryer to warm up those hard grey lino blocks. Though the linoleum becomes softer, they are not as soft as the pink sheets available. I could at least get by without cramping my hands from the resistance of knife on block.

The results

blue cat linocut

The delft blue color makes the cat pop from the window. I really like how Cat in the Window came together when printed. It is fun to carve a block now and again and take a break from the paint.

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