This is a hand carved and printed lino cut of an owl. We have Little Owls in the trees where I live, which make a racket, however this handsome chap was in captivity and flying at our village fair.
So, first the lino is carved - of course it is back to front and the true image is only revealed once you print. Usually I get about 90 per cent of the way and then do a test print to work out the finishing touches. It is so exciting to see the first print round the right way and know whether you are onto a winner, or should go and make a stiff cup of tea.
This owl version is a straight forward print using a waterproof ink and once dry it was hand coloured with watercolour. If you look in the alternative images you can see it printed in a single colour or as a Chine colle.
If you are doing a Chine colle print, you then cut the backing patterned paper to fit the shape. Next comes the super tricky part. You ink the lino and place it face up, then you apply glue to the reverse of the patterned paper and carefully (very carefully) place it face down around or on the inked lino. Next you line up the backing paper (in this case a lovely handmade eco cotton paper from India). You now run the sandwich of lino and paper through the press. I use a table top roller press, so you have to be super careful that nothing slips. I also have a lovely old book press I bought off eBay, which I use for lino printing. And the moment of truth. You pull back the covers and lift the paper. If all has gone to plan you get an interesting print and the collage paper has been stuck down in the process. If all has not gone to plan, something has slipped, unstuck, smudged, torn..... time to start over.
The joy of this process is that no two prints are the same. Altering the ink colour or the patterned paper changes the image totally. You can also apply small pieces of paper, such as tissue, to specific areas. You end up inky and gluey, but the images look fab as they hang on the line in my studio to dry.
This comes in a 50x50cm mount, so it can drop into a standard size frame to suit your decor. It is signed and numbered. So far I have only printed a few from this small edition, so if you like the image but would like a different colour or background pattern, I may be able to come up with something specifically for you. Just drop me an email.
Handmade eco paper (backing), water-based lino ink, artist quality watercolour