Linopalooza

6 hours spent cranking out linocards = joy.

 Day 178: Hand-colored block prints

Every time I tell Rob I have to go to the art store, he does the wallet cringe. You know the one- the pained expression and partial body cramp that seems to occur involuntarily whenever you think about having to spend money that you don’t have in abundance at the time.

I find this is a particularly pronounced condition among we artist-types. We so frequently have to look at expenses as “this OR that”… “groceries OR gas?”…. “cable OR car insurance?”…. “student loan payment OR credit card?” It’s so common, they should really start including a course on it at that $16,000/semester private art school I went to. Kind of like the “math for art majors” course I managed to find at my community college (a title that just barely won out over “the bare minimum of required math knowledge for hippies”, I imagine)- “budgeting for art majors” would include key points like growing your own garden to save money (on *vegetables*, people!), the law of disappearing money (you know, how it goes out of your account like 20 times faster than it goes IN to it) and how to be frugal at WholeFoods. Just kidding on that last one. That topic would be more applicable to a fantasy writing class.

Too bad I can't barter these beauties for utility credits.

Thankfully, I can use a lot of my supplies over and over once I have them. Block-printing is one example of this. Once your linoleum is carved and you have the ink & stuff, you can print away! Heavy-duty cardblanks are great to have, but there are other options too, including using fabric scraps, old book pages or making your own recycled paper out of junk mail. Which I have yet to master, but which sounds extremely satisfying.

Linocuts are addictive, as my friend Nicole of BlueBicicletta can attest to. Nicole is an amazing drawer (as in illustrator, not furniture) and loves using black and white, so linocuts are a natural boon to her art-making style. We’ve both been bitten by the block-printing bug.

I made these prints of my carving on 5x7 cardstock, gave them a spritz of fixative to keep the water-based ink set, then hand-colored them with oil pastels.

As you guys know, I love color. So today I did something I’ve been meaning to do for awhile- I hand-colored 4 copies of a block print I designed for this very purpose back on Jan. 21st (which I only remember specifically because it was my birthday). They’re as cheery as a vase of gerbera daisies all together on my table. I also did some color prints of my lovebirds lino. Awwwww! It’s too much cuteness for one post. I have to stop now before it gets out of control. 😉

If Warhol had ever done 'cute', it might have looked something like this.

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Day 125: Spring Onions Art Card

Spring onions linocut printed on vintage cookbook page

Happy Cinco de Mayo! I hope you’re enjoying a plate of enchiladas and a nice cold margarita right now. I know there’s an actual historical event behind today, but I see it more as a great excuse for having Mexican food. I love Mexican food (it’s in my genes). I could eat it every day for the rest of my life and probably not get tired of it. Beans for breakfast? Hell yes! And what would Mexican food be without onions? Sadness, that’s what it would be.

Today’s piece is a bunch of spring onions printed onto a vintage recipe page from “Vegetarian Cookery” including such tantalizing tastebud gems as “Onions and Eggs in Cream Sauce”. Hurk. The bottom of this print didn’t come out as well as I’d like, but hey- I have plenty more pages of creepy gluten recipes to work with here.

If you’re tiring of the linocuts, I do apologize. But there are two good reasons I’ve been stuck on them lately. 1- I’m working on a big commission piece in a tiny studio, and I can do linocut work in the living room, and 2- if you want to get good at something, you need to practice it. Oh, and 2b- my lino carving tools get rusty if I don’t use them for awhile and they’re a bitch to clean. 😉

Yes, I may have a few nicks and cuts on my fingers. Yes, the ink and the palette and the brayer and the other thingamajig are kind of a pain to get out and wash up. But it’s really satisfying to spend a couple hours making a detailed carving knowing that I can re-use it in the future.