Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Reduction printing

 Shallow Water

I have never done a reduction print.  I've done lots of lino prints, but nothing that takes a lot of left brain thinking like a reduction print.  I decided to tackle one - a very small one - and see I could create.  I had a 3" x 4" lino block and used Rosaspina paper torn to about 7" x 10" and Akua Liquid Pigment to print.  Reduction prints are also called suicide prints.  Pretty much sums up what I was considering after the first couple of steps!

Reduction printing involves cutting away areas of lino, printing a colour, then cutting away more, printing, cutting...until you have reached saturation point and have little printing surface left.  The final lino is no more than a skeleton of the print and has no further use.   Of course a registration jig is required as well to ensure effective lining up of colours and I did try that.

Original tri-colour print

Being me, I was in a hurry and didn't take quite enough time to make either the jig or the paper guide completely square so after applying the second print colour it made me think I was drinking.  What to do?  There was no point trying to adjust the registration jig so I thought I'd do them by hand and hope that the printmaking gods would be on my side.  I put on the final dark colour in the hopes it would pull it together a bit and it did to a degree, but I think I wasn't generous enough with the initial ink loads and the result was a bit patchy.

What to do with nine prints?  Add colour!   I used a variety of mediums from watercolour to coloured pencil to transparent marker to add layers of colour to the prints.  And this is the result.

What did I learn from the exercise?  Planning is everything.  Patience is everything.  Luck comes into as well as troubleshooting.  I will try another reduction print when I have time and I enjoy the process of printmaking.  And the good thing?  I found the etched plate I was looking for after I last cleared up the studio!