Top tip: How to correct slippery relief printing ink

I’m using Caligo Safe Wash Relief inks to print my ‘Oak’ linocut. When it came to printing the dark green layer defining the acorn and its leaves I found the mix of phthalo green and phthalo blue ink was really slippery, it didn’t roll out like ‘velvet’ and I didn’t get that ‘kiss’ sound between the rolled out ink and brayer. I tried to print with it and found it was filling my cut lines and blobbing on the cut edges of my lino block.

Find me on ebay

After researching the web, the solution that kept coming up was to add magnesium carbonate to the ink, which would ‘stiffen’ the ink up. I found that art branded magnesium carbonate is expensive and sold in a large quantity. Instead I bought 50 grams of magnesium carbonate via ebay, from a company that sells it in a pure form for use in food products, cosmetics and a variety of other applications – who knew!

I added half as much magnesium carbonate to my ink and mixed well. The result was a stiffer ink that rolled out like velvet and didn’t clog on my lino block. I recommend giving this a go if you too are struggling with slippery ink.

This is my ‘Oak’ print so far; I’m just figuring out if I’m going to add another layer to the orange leaves…

(Apologies for poor photos but my camera ran out of battery power!)

© Catherine Cronin)

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Squash Screenprint

I carried on my recent screenprinting adventures by signing up for a second course at City Lit. This would consist of 5 sessions, 3 hours long. This time I wanted to try to get away from thinking about printed layers as in a linocut print; which is sort of what I did when I made my flower screenprint. Though I am pleased with that result, I wanted to explore more what screenprinting can do as its own medium. Two things I was interested in exploring was painting into the screen and pulling monoprints, and making a halftone photo-stencil which would convey tones.

I wanted to use my recent squash watercolour work for my photo-stencil. I combined in Photoshop a collaged image that showed a range of tones as grayscale and so should work as a halftone image. Halftoning is where the image is made up of a variety of dots, similar to printed newspapers. The final image below in black and white is the image I used to make a halftone photo-stencil.

For the first layers of my screenprint; I combined painting into the screen and pulling monoprints; and then using a paper stencil to print a slightly transparent teal colour on top. This meant that all the backgrounds would be slightly different.

I really like these backgrounds, but I was worried that as they have strong colour and bold shapes, my squash photo-stencil would get too lost when printed on top. In screenprinting to get an opaque colour you need to add white, which makes it difficult to get strong opaque dark colours.

I wanted to print my photo-stencil in red; below is a screenprint of just the stencil on its own; and then printed in red on top of my printed layered background. I admit I was disappointed, I did think that the red squash did not jump to the foreground enough; so I switched to the darkest and most opaque ink – black. I printed my series in black ink; but on reflection I now think I prefer the red inked squash! I would be very interested to know your thoughts on these final images?

I have really enjoyed screenprinting and I think it suits my figurative style of drawing, especially when combining monoprinting, paper stencils and photo-stencils. I look forward to continue  to work with monoprinting and paper stencils in my home studio; probably combining with linocut printing too.

(© Catherine Cronin)

Pear Pop Linocuts

Here are some of the final prints of ‘Pear Pop’ linocuts with added collaged leaves after printing. I am planning an edition of 10 for each pear design. These linocuts are companion pieces to my ‘Apple Pop‘ linocut from last year.

Printed with Caligo relief water-based ink on specialist printing paper, Zerkall 150 gsm. The colour collaged paper is Japanese straw silk paper.

I will be listing them in my Etsy and Artfinder online shops soon. Apple Pop linocuts are available in these shops now.

(© Catherine Cronin)

 

Printing Pear Pop Linocuts

At last I’ve been able to start printing some new images this year; these are the first prints of ‘Pear Pop’ linocut with chine–collé (collaged paper), companion pieces to ‘Apple Pop‘ linocuts from last year.

I do intend to add more collaged leaves to these prints once the ink has dried – similar to the ‘Apple Pop’ prints.

Printed with Caligo relief water-based ink on specialist printing paper, Zerkall 150 gsm. The colour collaged paper is Japanese straw silk paper.

(© Catherine Cronin)

 

Japanese Anenome Linocut – First Cut

I designed a Japanese Anenome linocut last year; you can see the different designs here. I am going to print this using the reduction cutting method; I have cut the block for the first colour, which will be a pale blue.

AnenomeLinoColour1web

AnenomeLinoandDesignweb

AnenomeDesignweb

(© Catherine Cronin)

Letter G Linocut Design – Third & Final Colour Printed

I have joined a linocut group on facebook, where members can sign up to print a linocut letter for different themed alphabets. I have chosen the letter ‘G’ for a freestyle alphabet, image size 15×15 cm. You can read more about how I came up with my design here.

Here is the final print, the third colour printed was raw umber. I did this as a reduction linocut, where you keep cutting away more material from the block to print subsequent colours. Overall I am pleased with the result, though I need to improve my registration technique as I only had 5 good prints at the end – available for sale here. Printed in Caligo relief water-based ink on specialist printing paper, Zerkall 210 gsm.

G_Letter_CCroninCU_web

(© Catherine Cronin)

 

Letter G Linocut Design – Second Colour Printed

I have joined a linocut group on facebook, where members can sign up to print a linocut letter for different themed alphabets. I have chosen the letter ‘G’ for a freestyle alphabet, image size 15×15 cm. You can read more about how I came up with my design here. And about printing the first colour here.

Letter G linocut first colour printed © Catherine Cronin

Letter G linocut first colour printed

I am doing a reduction linocut of three colours; below is an image of the ‘soft-cut’ block cut for the second colour to be printed. Only the letter ‘G’ will be printed; I left some ‘triangular’ shapes near the edge to give a bit of stability to the block.

2ndColourBlockGLinocutweb

I am using Caligo waterbased inks; the first colour I mixed was taupe (yellowish light grey), this second colour is straight from the tube, Naphthol red.

NaphtholRedInkRolledweb

2ndColourBlockGLinocuInkedweb

I was worried that my registration method for printing the block in the same position in relation to the paper would not be accurate enough. There has been some slight movement on some of the prints but it is pretty spot on. Image below shows the block inked in register on an acetate sheet, the printing paper is lined up with the black horizontal and vertical lines towards the bottom and right. I have used cut paper to mask off areas of the block that have picked up ink in the lower level which I don’t want to print.

2ndColourBlockGLinocutRegisteredweb

 

Here are the prints drying, so far so good; I have one final colour to print which is black, hopefully the registration will be okay for the last colour too – fingers crossed!

2ndColourBlockGLinocutPrintedDryingweb

(© Catherine Cronin)