Oak Leaves & Acorn Linocut

Autumn has arrived in this colourful print of oak leaves and an acorn. Actually there are two timelines in this print, the green acorn and green leaves of the summer, and then the hint of autumn change with the leaves turning orange and a blustery sky. I love the shape of oak leaves and the beauty of the sun shining through them especially when their colour is changing.

This linocut is a 6 colour linocut, created from three blocks which printed the first three colours; and then each block was further cut to remove more material and then these were used to print the last three colours. This method of printmaking is known as a multi-block reduction cut; and it means the edition cannot be printed again as you no longer have the earlier stages of the blocks to print from.

Printed by hand using Caligo relief water-based ink on specialist printing paper, Zerkall 210 gsm. The yellow highlights on the leaves and stems were hand coloured with acrylic ink (making the seventh colour in the print).

This edition has 15 prints in total and it is available in my Art Finder shop.

Here is a gallery of rough proofs for each colour printed.




(© Catherine Cronin)

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)


I visited the annual exhibition of work from the Society of Wood Engravers at Bankside Gallery this week – if you are interested in printmaking you have till tomorrow to see this exhibition.

Here are my favourite three prints from the exhibition in no particular order – it’s always the birds that get my attention time and time again. Click on the images to be taken to the artists’ websites.


Julian Witts, ‘Black Grouse’, Black & White Woodcut.



Peter Brown, ‘The Stalker’, Linocut



Rosamund Fowler, ‘Cherry Blossom’, Wood Engraving

Apple Pop Prints

I’ve been proofing linocut prints of apples. Initially conceived as a print exploring positive and negative space; I found it hard to resist adding colour. In this case I’ve added colour using the method of chinecollé; which means collaging coloured paper onto the white paper surface and then printing on top of that coloured paper.

To get the registration right you glue the coloured paper at the same time as you print. So once your linocut block is inked, you place your cut out coloured paper forms on the inked linocut block with the glue side facing outwards, then you lay your white printing paper on top and press as normal. 

For the below images I added the coloured forms for the apples and their attached leaves at the time of printing. Afterwards I collaged the other two floating leaf forms. I intend to edition these as I really like their retro mid-century modern feel. I’m calling them ‘Apple Pop’ because of the bright ‘popping’ colours of the collaged paper.


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(© 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.


(© Catherine Cronin)


Exhibition: Tom Hammick Wall, Window, World

On Friday I saw a great exhibition of work from artist Tom Hammick at Flowers East – Exhibition:  Tom Hammick Wall, Window, World. This exhibition features new works made in response to a year-long residency at English National Opera (ENO).

I have been a fan of his work for some years now, especially his print work which primarily is using woodcut. I am drawn to his work; by his use of loud and subtle colour play, the wonderful layering of forms, the sense of narrative in his images, and the feelings of joy and unease conjured up by them. His best images work away on your imagination and pull you into their story.

Here are three of my favourite woodcut prints from the exhibition. These digital images really just give a taste; you are missing out on some of the more subtle colour patterns, and the last image is actually a really large print where you can see the grain of the wood coming through the grey ink of the fore ground – so I strongly recommend a visit to see them up close if you are in London.


Eyes for Listening, 2015, Reduction Woodcut, Copyright Tom Hammick



Friends in the Forest, 2015, Reduction Woodcut Copyright Tom Hammick


Outskirts (Day) 2015 Woodcut Copyright Tom Hammick

Outskirts (Day), 2015, Woodcut, Copyright Tom Hammick

Weekly Sketch – Monoprints – 05/03/2015

Recently I have been proofing my three block linocut ‘Alhambra Arches’ which has meant leftover ink which I decided to use up by doing some monoprinting. I didn’t have anything in mind or any drawings to refer to when I made these. I will keep them to one side perhaps for collaging in future as some nice textures here. I will probably work into the arched themed ones more next time I am printing.








(© Catherine Cronin)