Saturday, March 31, 2012

linocut reduction - part two

Notes from diary (double click on images):
Feb 17,  Friday
Set up work table up, moved pet bowls out, and blocked doorway. 

1 ½ hours spent looking over printing sequence, to figure out which color to work on next.

Two hours spent cutting 6 x 4 inch block (above).
One hour spent pencil layout on 12 x 19 inch block (below).

Reference studies were taped to the front of each block for image placement.

I rubbed graphite on the back side, and drew marks on the front side to transfer onto the block.

Feb 18, Saturday
Two hours spent cutting on 6 x 4 inch block and 12 x 9 inch block.
It was easier to tape the small block to the top of a small metal canister. That elevated the block and made viewing the tiny cuts better.
(See next video)

Click video to see transfer marks cut on small block. Six minutes long.
Feb 19, Sunday
One hour spent locating and setting out more clothespins.
One hour spent to put dried sheets in order for hand printing.
45 minutes spent to uncurl dried prints. Gently pulled each over table edge.
Wondered what my habit for drying and storing prints would become...See
Mixed “baby blue” ink
15 minutes spent on blue ink test strips. 

(above) After inking small block, I noticed the cuts in the sky were too shallow and the ink was filling them in.

(above) Spent 40 min re-cutting the dapple in sky, made cuts deeper so brayer ink would not fill in cuts.

(above) After one more hour all ten 10 x 12 inch sheets received their second color, and one trial print of the 12 x 9 inch block was made (below).

The palette and inked blocks were wrapped in plastic wrap for the night.
Feb 20,  Monday (holiday)
½ hour spent to scrub ink off blocks with soap and water, towel dry.
Two hours to store small prints in museum box with glassine.

Constructed paper window to mask the border for the large block (above). The block was inked first and pushed flush against the wood rig. The paper window was carefully laid on top of the inked block. The blank sheet was dropped on top of the block and hand burnished from the back.
Dug and cleaned up cuts on large block.
Decide against a blue border along the edge of the large block.
Two hours spent inking test strips of blue to match.
Inked nine of 18 x 15 inch sheets with second color.
Hit a snag!! The inside edge of the paper window was leaving odd inked line on the prints. What could I do to prevent that? That frustration was wrecking my day....
The solution was to fold and smooth scotch tape over inside edge of mask. Then I added wide slick “packing tape” over inside edge of window. I covered both sides of mask window with that tape (below).

To insure no ink would be transferred by mistake,  I wiped ink off the slick paper window after each print was pulled. (below, I have pressed the mask against the back door with my hand, and wiped the ink off with a damp rag.)

Cleaned up and rearranged room
Feb 25, Saturday 
Set up work table up, moved pet bowls out, and blocked doorway. 
One hour spent to mix and match blue ink

(above) After five hours straight all thirty-one 18 x 15 inch large sheets received their second color. Done for the day. Whew!!!

 ½ hour spent on clean up and putting supplies away.

(above) Compare sizes of small print on left and large print on right.
Mar 4, Sunday
Set up work table up, moved pet bowls out, and blocked doorway.
One hour spent sorting and ordering large dry sheets. Some borders were uneven. Every impression was one of a kind.

Two ¼ hours spent cutting on small and large blocks for next color.
½ hour spent cleaning up.
One hour spent downloading photos and videos to work computer.

A few weeks rolled by while I waited for an ink order to arrive. The company sent me white screen printing ink by mistake. The Kansas City Utrecht store assured me that the viscosity would have been too thin to use for block printing. Finally, the New Jersey office sent the correct ink (below).

Four 8 ounce jars of white block print ink. During the waiting period, I came to accept my new border decision. No border for the large block.

In March cut both blocks for the next color. To be continued,,,,,,,,,,,

Thursday, March 29, 2012

linocut reduction - part one

January 27th, Friday, after work I practiced lining the sheets up with my registration guides. A blank sheet was repeatedly dropped onto a blank dry linoleum block to get the rhythm, the flow, and to gain personal confidence.

Click to view practice from the top looking down over the guides.

Click to view practice from the table top, looking from the side view. 

Next morning, Jan 28, Saturday, the dining room was converted to a work space. Pet food bowls were moved into the living room. The room was blocked off from pets. Tools were set out, ink jars, glass palette, linoleum blocks, etc.

In just over an hour I settled on the base color and began to mix it for the edition. (See next video)

Click video to learn about test strips. Two minutes long.
"The base color that I am using for my linocut project is burnt sienna mixed with lots of white speedball water soluble ink. When I first started I made a 24 by 18 inch acrylic painting on paper. Next, I did a smaller study mixing all my colors from speedball blue and white INK plus the burnt sienna ACRYLIC. So, now I am trying to mix ink to match this color here (of the lighter sky). Here are my test strips. This first strip is much too dark when laid next to the painting. My next ink batch looked like this. It is lighter but not light enough. Here is another test strip. Then I made more test strips. One of the things I noticed,  when I print on the paper here, is that right before the ink is completely dry it looks much darker than it really is. At first I panicked. When it is completely dry it does dry lighter. It looks more like this cream one here. The color is faint and it will look real nice. Compared to the study, see how light that is? So, this is my base color that I am putting down, and this is the linoleum block that I have been using, and here is where I mix the ink on the glass palette."

Close up of small reference study mixed with speedball ink and acrylic paint. I know that "brushwork" and "carved cuts" describe "form" differently. I am interested in achieving some of the same color and pattern (ABOVE) in my finished linocut reduction.

After three steady hours-- the fifteen 12 x 10 inch sheets were printed and hung up to dry. In addition, ten of the 18 x 15 sheets were also printed. As this project moved forward I decided to ink the small 6 x 4 inch block and the large 12 x 9 inch block with the same ink colors. The designs of each were slightly different. Upon completion my lower back was tight and sore. The linoleum blocks were scrubbed free of ink, the area straightened up, and print supplies put away. The pets regained use of the dining room.
Click video to see mixing ink, rolling on brayer on the block, and hand burnishing of sheet on linoleum block. Four and a half minutes long. Each impression was made in this manner.

February 11th, Saturday morning, the work area was set up.

After four steady hours the remaining thirty 18 x 15 sheets received their base color and were dried on the clothesline above my head. That was quite a stretch. Sore muscles aplenty. I had used 8 ounces of white ink for that session alone.

Next, both uncut blocks were painted blue. The 4 x 6 inch (ABOVE) and the 9 x 12 inch (BELOW). Next time I cut them, the cuts would stand out in contrast to the blue color.

The glass palette was cleaned up with the water pump, a razor scraper, paper towels, and patience. 

After tools were stored, I downloaded camera shots onto my work computer. By 4:20 pm I was done for the day.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

paper considerations

The linoleum block reduction had me burnishing a whole set of prepared sheets. Forty sheets alone for the large lino block. Fifteen sheets for the small lino block. Storage was going to be an immediate issue for me.
Where did one dry them? Where did one lay them? I was used to shelving finished painted canvases. What did one do with PAPER ???

A clothes line was installed by me across my work space. See next photos. I needed the lines to be up high since I am a tall fellow. My studio was in my house and the work space was shared by others in my household. So, the placement of the lines was particular.

The water soluble ink took a full day to dry before it could be stored. Sheets that stayed up longer than a day would begin to curl. What to do?

I conferred with print exchange friends and found out that the storage of paper works took several forms. Doug Osa said the main objective was to keep the sheets FLAT and DRY. One could make a hinged folder out of acid-free mat board. Large manila envelopes were good for small editions. Bricks on the floor with cut plywood shelves set on top of them would work, he said. That would keep the sheets away from the moisture found on floors. 

Nick in Seattle: “I store prints in boxes and after having accumulated 30 or so I start with a new box and yes I stack them.” 
Rigel Stuhmiller used the cardboard packaging that her paper orders came in. 
Douglas Dammerall: “I keep them in portfolios on edge. Space is a premium in my small condo. My studio is my dining room. Flat is best but I don't have the space. Some is under my bed and flat. Some are in portfolios placed on edge behind my headboard.”  
Sherrie York of Colorado said flat files were heavy to move but were worth it.  "Ah, storage! The never-ending bane of the artist's existence, eh? What to do with all the detritus of artmaking... I'm really fortunate in terms of storing prints because I inherited a couple of old metal flat files years ago. They are wretched beasts to move, but great for storing paper and prints. I've got smaller pieces in archival boxes on bookshelves. I did recently buy a couple of larger archival boxes and you're right... I just keep stacking them up. (And my closet is full of boxes of used lino blocks, the next storage headache.) Storage is one motivation for keeping edition sizes low!"
Kjelshus Collins wrote: " Flat files are the way to go with WOPs (works on paper).  Be it boxes or drawers, they need to be FLAT and ARCHIVAL SAFE.  And of course studios get crazy sometimes, but that's the ideal. I have boxes and flat files.”
Doug Osa said he has five flat files he found at a salvage center. They were a mere $100 compared to the $600 brand new. One could look for them at a home improvement center. They were heavy, It took two people to move them.
Carol Ann Fitzgerald of Pennsylvania wrote: "I wrap them in tissue paper (acid free) and store them in my plan drawers. I bought them on Ebay for a reasonable price second-hand. I have two sets of plan drawers stacked on top of each other in the corner of my studio (3rd bedroom). They hold about A1 size paper etc. I don't have a huge collection of prints though. I also store paper and other materials in these drawers as well."

Keep the work DRY advised Stuhmiller: "I usually store my prints stacked in a drawer, a plastic box, or on a shelf, either as-is or else cello wrapped with backing (if I expect to sell them soon).  I have so many boxes it's not even funny... they're stacked in a spare room.  After a somewhat disastrous roof leak I invested in some plastic tubs with tight fitting lids, and now store some of my prints in those." 
Elizabeth Burton wrote: "It is summer here, and has been really hot and sticky (humid). I live in Queensland, which once again had enormous amounts of rain. I have two sets of plan drawers, stacked one on top of the other, they are great for papers.  You can store them flat, but has air circulating so they don't get musty. However, as I said my studio is air conditioned which helps a lot.

According to Archival Methods, archival was a non-technical term that described a material or product as being permanent, durable, or chemically stable, and that it was more suitable for preservation purposes. The phrase was not quantifiable though. There were no standards which exist that describe how long an archival or archival material would last. (courtesy of Archival Methods,, accessed Mar 27, 2012).  Museum storage boxes were acid free and archival, which meant the contents would not discolor over time. Glassine, acid-free tissue paper, and acetate were also helpful. 

Mark Evans wrote, "Currently I am storing my prints between cut sheets of glassine in whatever boxes I have around. Since the paper and the glassine is pretty thin, I can store plenty in a shallow box. I guess over time I'll have to come up with a marking/inventory system to identify which are where, but since I don't have too many yet, no problem. And If I had boxes I'd just stack them up. Often there are piles of prints here and  there... my own sense of (dis)organization."
Dammerall added: "Glassine interleaves will prevent uncured ink from sticking to prints. That would be a concern with oil based ink more than with water-based."
Martha Knox of Pennsylvania wrote: " My prints usually live in the bottom drawers of a large plan draw cabinet. I store my prints by keeping them in portfolios with each print separated by a sheet of acetate. I buy the acetate in large rolls."
Jean-Marc Couffin in Marseilles: "I do store my etchings either in portfolios or in regular cardboard boxes (which is acid I think) so I cover the inside with paper or glassine so that there is no contact and then I put either glassine or paper (acid free) between every prints as ink even dried do transfer a bit between prints if you move your boxes often. I use to order some storage boxes from joopstoop in France."

When I ordered my masa paper from the New York Central Art Paper Supply (, I picked up a 17 x 22 x 1.5 inch Lineco museum storage box for $30, a 8.5 x 11 inch pad of fifty glassine sheets for $3.50 and a 17 x 22 inch pad of fifty glassine sheets for $11. (double click on images below)

glassine pad

flat storage box (above and below)

(ABOVE) An example of the buckling on a dried print.

For curled sheets I have found that gently rolling the sheet off the table edge worked for me. Click video.

Two photos of my work table. I appreciated having that space to work in.
For a few hours I could enjoy mixing ink and burnishing lino blocks. Where there was will--there was a way!!

(conversation based on emails Thursday, Feb 16, 2012)
Doug Osa @ Lenexa, Kansas
Nick in Seattle
Rigel Stuhmiller@
Jean-Marc Couffin @ Marseilles, France
Douglas Dammerall @ Bainbridge Island 
Elizabeth Burton @
Mark Evans @"
Carol Ann Fitzgerald @
Martha Knox @
Sherrie York @ Colorado

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Above is a picture of me running away when the cops arrested Jesus. (double click image) As a disciple, I decided I wanted nothing to do with him.


grease crayon drawings by karl marxhusen

brent morris showed it this way, CLICK next video.
   "At a Good Friday worship service, the artist created a 3.5 ft. x 6 ft. original participatory painting, titled "He Saw You" in just 35 minutes. This time lapse video captures the event in just over 2 minutes. Around 235 people became contributing artists that evening by placing their fingerprint on the painting, creating the crowd at the crucifixion."
To see more of Brent Morris' work, visit or!gallery

After Jesus died and rose from the dead, I asked him to come into my heart. He continues to "bring me to my senses" and love me.