Lino Cutting Demo

Caroline Marsland, our tutor gave a demonstration of lino cutting at our July wednesday class. I have taken the liberty of copying the description of lino cutting from ‘Gradually Greener in Print making’ from the web site. Carolines comments and instructions are added at the end.

“What is a Linocut?: Linocuts are very similar to woodcuts. It is a printing method using a sheet of linoleum, in which a subtractive cutting method is used to take away the parts of linoleum where you want to leave the white of the page, and keep the parts you want to be inked! In the result you have a linocut that can reproduce the same image over and over again.

A Short History: While linoleum was first invented in the 1860s, it wasn’t used as a medium for printing until the early 1900s in Germany, where it was first used for making patterns on wallpaper! Artists ranging from Pablo Picasso to Henri Matisse have made linocuts, and today it is considered a respected art form. Linocuts are also very popular in teaching children in schools about the rewarding art of printmaking.

Why linocuts?: First off, linoleum does not have a grain like wood does, meaning there is no need to cut in one direction. Also, it is much, MUCH easier to cut than wood, especially when heated. Although linoleum is not quite as durable as wood, you can still make hundreds if not thousands of copies of the same image with a single linocut before it is too degraded to use. Linocuts generally remind me of illustrated children books, which is a style I very much like. One can even make several linocuts to be used together to make a print including color, and in some cases (depending on the ink and paper you use) a linocut print can be colored after wards with your medium of choice.

So lets get started!

Step 1: Materials

Materials

You will need . . .

1. One sheet of linoleum!

You can get these at your local art stores such as Jerry’s Artarama, or even at generic craft stores such as Hobby Lobby. The bigger you go, the more expensive the sheet, but generally they are not too expensive. If this is your first linocut, I suggest getting something around the size of 4″ x 5″. This way you do not have a giant piece to work on, but you also won’t have to work with itty bitty details. For your first linocut, I suggest doing a simple pattern with no positive (left, uncut away) pieces smaller than half a centimeter. I know folks who buy linoleum for flooring when they find good deals, and use this for carving. I have never tried this, but only imagine it is much harder to cut than art store grade linoleum. Stay away from anything pink or white that claims to be good for lino-prints, generally it is a rubber that is much too soft, and you will hack it to pieces within seconds.

2. Linocutting tool with an assortment of blades!

You could buy several different handles with blades and v-cutters permenantly attached for about $7 each. I don’t suggest this, as it is very expensive and simply unnecessary. Most art stores and some craft stores will sell a beginers kit that comes with one handle and 5 or 6 different blades for anywhere between $7 and $20. This is what I have, and it works perfectly! I bought mine from Jerry’s Artarama for $14. There is a similar product here ( http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/Printmaking-Supplies/Speedball-Block-Printing-Supplies/Speedball-Lino-Cutters-Handles-and-Linozips.htm ) for those of you who would like to buy your tools online or who want to get an idea of what they are looking for.

3. A piece of glass! (At least 8″ by 12″)

You can get your piece of glass anywhere really. Many glass cutting stores will sell you scraps, as artists often use glass for pallets as well. I would get one that is at least the size of your common printer paper. I simply bought an old picture frame from a thrift store for $3, kept the glass and recycled the frame. You will be using this to roll your ink out onto before applying it to your linocut.

4. A brayer!

A brayer is very similar to a paint roller, but instead of the strange cushy material the roll itself is some kind of rubber. I suggest getting a hard or soft rubber brayer, and these will run from between $6 and $20, depending on the size and quality. I suggest getting a brayer that is at least 3 1/2″ wide. Once again, these are found at art stores and in some craft stores. Here’s an example. (http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/Printmaking-Supplies/Speedball-Block-Printing-Supplies/Speedball-Barens-and-Brayers.htm)

5. Ink!

You can also get your ink at an art store or craft store, but make sure it says on the bottle it can be used for print making! Any color you like will do. I found a nice little jar of navy blue speed ball ink for $4. A little bird told me once you can use slightly watered down acrylic, but I have never tried this.

6. Paper!

This is the paper you will be using to put your final prints on. If your ink is semi-transparent, you’ll want a lighter color of paper. If the ink is solid and white, try some darker colors! I suggest artist’s quality light weight paper, though stay away from anything that is very textured, such as heavy duty watercolor paper.

7. A dark magic marker!

8. A pencil!

9. An idea for your print!

For your first print, I suggest a pattern or drawing that does not have a ton of detail and without any shading. Try to keep your thinnest positive points (where linoleum is not carved away) about a half centimeter thick for your first print.

10. BANDAIDS

I cannot stress this enough. If it is your first time making a linoleum cut, I highly suggest you have a box of bandaids on hand. You aren’t in danger of cutting a finger off while making a linoprint, but no matter how careful I am, I always manage to slice a finger or two. Some antiseptic ointment is a good idea as well!”

Caroline covered much of the above information and went on to say that the use of two colours could use the same piece of lino with you doing the first print and then cutting back on the lino for the second to do the second print on top of the first. She suggested that you use the lightest as the first layer proceeding to the darker colours. Just a reminder that when you print, it comes out as a reverse. One can use a professional printing press but these are very expensive. A simple wooden spoon can also be used to rub the paper or textile over the block.
The inks come in water and oil based. Oil gives more of a sheen. There are also special textile paints as well.
She touched on repeat patterns which are used in textiles, and wall papers with Standen House being used as an excellent example of these wall papers.
UK suppliers include Intaglio in London as well as Lawrences in Brighton who both are well supplied.
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POP Art

On the 24th May Caroline gave us a talk and demonstration on “Pop Art”. She started by telling us that although we associate pop art with the 50’s and 60’s, it emerged as early as the 1920’s. Artists were reacting against traditional movements typical of the Victorian era as well as the upheaval of WW1. They were looking forward to a brighter future and this was reflected in painting and design. Caroline showed us a jazzy print of a number five that could easily have been designed in the 1960’s but was in fact created about 1920. Pop Art was also associated with Art Deco and the Dada movement.
After the Second World War artists again were looking at society anew and taking inspiration from consumer items and were commenting on the roles of men and women. Caroline showed us some more familiar images including Richard Hamilton’s collage of a man flexing his muscles while a woman sits on a sofa, surrounded by modern day trappings. Richard Hamilton was British but most of the artists we are familiar with were from the US, including Oldenberg, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg and Warhol. Much of their work took a wry look at the superficiality of American life. Lichtenstein was inspired by cartoons and magazine images to make his paintings, such as a woman’s manicured fingers using a spray can or a high heeled shoe stepping on a pedal bin. He was also keen on using images of glamorous couples in sports cars, or macho pilots in planes with comments floating in speech bubbles.
Caroline took her inspiration from Lichtenstein’s cartoon paintings to demonstrate an idea for a take on contemporary life. Using a felt tip she drew a typical family out to lunch at a fast food restaurant, all of them glued to their mobiles and oblivious of one another. A speech bubble across the picture read “communication.” The session generated quite a lot of discussion particularly as we could relate to many of the art works that we were shown.

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The Big Picture

This year the BIG PICTURE chosen by Lucy Parker, our instructor, was WORK by Ford Madox Brown 1852- 1863. Many members of the Dupont Art Club met on May 25th, 2017 to choose and paint a square of this complex piece. It was a fun day and learning experience as Ford was a very skilled  artist and draftsman which we tried to emulate. Wickopedia gives an excellent description of this famous work.

“Work (1852–1865) is a painting by Ford Madox Brown that is generally considered to be his most important achievement. It exists in two versions. The painting attempts to portray, both literally and analytically, the totality of the Victorian social system and the transition from a rural to an urban economy. Brown began the painting in 1852 and completed it in 1865, when he set up a special exhibition to show it along with several of his other works. He wrote a detailed catalogue explaining the significance of the picture.

The painting was commissioned by Thomas Plint, a well-known collector of Pre-Raphaelite art, who died before its completion.[1] A second version, smaller at 684 × 990 mm, was commissioned in 1859 and completed in 1863. This is now in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. It is closely similar, though for the lady with a blue parasol the face of Maria Leathart, the commissioner’s wife, replaces that of Mrs Brown in the Manchester version.[2]

The picture depicts a group of so-called “navvies” digging up the road to build an underground tunnel. It is typically assumed that this was part of the extensions of London’s sewerage system, which were being undertaken to deal with the threat of typhus and cholera. The workers are in the centre of the painting. On either side of them are individuals who are either unemployed or represent the leisured classes. Behind the workers are two wealthy figures on horseback, whose progress along the road has been halted by the excavations.[3]

The painting also portrays an election campaign, evidenced by posters and people carrying sandwich boards with the name of the candidate “Bobus”. A poster also draws attention to the potential presence of a burglar.[4]

The setting is an accurate depiction of The Mount on Heath Street in Hampstead, London, where a side road rises up above the main road and runs alongside it. Brown made a detailed study of the location in 1852.”

Following are photos of our group painting this BIG PICTURE.

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The Importance of Good Design

Yesterday I had the pleasure of stewarding at the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry being exhibited  at the Westminster Hall in London. This spectacular collection of embroidered panels from people of global Scottish descent was amazing in it’s blending of colours, line, and design. Many people commented on the use of similar colours and drawing style. This was because all of the 305 panels were carefully designed by one artist.  This  talented artist was Andrew Crummy. He drew each panel with lines and colour and left the actual stitching styles and some content  to the embroiderers. This gave this display the continuity needed for such a grand effect.

This continuity of good design and style is important for an artist to develop ones own reconizable artistic voice. Investigating many ways of doing art is all part of the growing process for an artist. Settling on one subject or method can be a challenge.  The backbone of artistic progress must be in good design. After that, following your passion is what inspires you to produce more.

Thoughts from a Dupont Art Club member

J. Alexander

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Spreading a little Love With Art

Spreading a little love with ART

Recently my friend and fellow artist Tina Stiles arranged to visit the Dane seniors home in Hove, UK to teach art.This was initiated by the Brighton and Hove Arts Council who arrange for outreach to the community to enrich the lives of others through having some of their many member organizations volunteer to do things like this. Tina and I are members of the Dupont Art Club.
We worked with a half dozen people who made and decorated their own cards to be sent to love ones. During this time there was laughter and comradely amongst the people with all of them able to complete at least two cards each. They were very happy to have people take the time to work and interact with them.
We each have something to offer others be it cheerful conversation, company or teaching a little bit of art. With art, people don’t have to speak if they don’t wish to and can communicate through their art. They just immerse the themselves in a relaxing activity.
Although we were the ones to give of our time, we were all the richer for this with feelings of giving a little of our skills to enrich the lives of others.

 

 

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Life Drawing Deomonstration

Life Drawing
On March 1st Dupont art instructor, Caroline Marsland gave us a lecture and demonstration on life drawing.
She started out by advising us that we need to decide at the beginning what we want to say in the picture. We can be accurate, want to accentuate certain features, show certain emotions, etc.
She recommends that we do several quick sketches first before doing a large drawing.
Look at the general shape of the figure. Don’t start with the head. Draw the shape of the back, the shoulder placements along with the hips, and legs. See if you can see shapes in the body. identify points on the body to line them up accurately, look at angles of these shapes.
Perspective is important with accurate drawing. A child’s body if approximately five times the size of it’s head while a man’s is seven times the size of the head. There are three heads size to the waist and hands fall to the thighs. For head measurement, from the palm of your hand to your finger tips are usually the measurement from the chin to just above the eyebrow.
Look at negative shapes to assist with accuracy. Build up shadows for shape. Squint for these shadows. Always step back from your drawing to judge the accuracy.
In order to judge the size, hold your pencil out with a straight arm against the part of the distant  body you are drawing and compare it to other parts.
Use any paper which has tooth to it. Charcoal and chalk are dramatic and charcoal and watercolour work well together. She warned us that some of the charcoal sticks available now are quite scratchy. She recommends the Windsor and newton ones  give a smooth finish.
This workshop is a precursor to an all day workshop which Caroline will be giving to Dupont members in June, 2017.

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Mixed Media Demonstration

Caroline Marsland demonstrated the use of mixed media to the Dupont Art Club  class on January 18th, 2017
It is important to chose the media to match the painting. Layering is the key to mixed media.
She pointed out that almost anything can be used in a this type of painting.
Suggestions for the first layer could be regular or water colour paper which could be painted, layered in tissue which is glued on, or use of old maps, newspapers, fabric, canvas, wood, metals, old books, etc.
Layered materials which can be used are all types of paints, inks, pens, pencils, charcoal, pastels, chalks, waxes, as well as fabrics, pieces of wood, leaves, wire, modelling paste used with stencils, etc.
In her demonstration, she chose a photo of a Maori painted face which she drew and layered with stick charcoal using a child’s birthday wax candle to highlight the eyes and added water colour to the face. She glued on hessian for the hair and painted it black.
She encouraged everyone to search online for demos using mixed media to find new ideas and other sources of inspiration.

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Using Wax Resist

On November 9th, 2016 instructor Caroline Marsland gave us a demo on how to use wax resist in our paintings.

Caroline used small birthday type candles for this with watercolour paint on paper. It didn’t matter the colour of the candles as they appeared to be clear on the paper. She chose to show us the use with a landscape of the sea and shore. She started off with doing a light pencil drawing of the scene including the layers of waves. She then used the small candle to draw in random areas to be high lighted and left white although she said that one could use this method over a painted area if that was what you wanted preserved. Once the tops of the wave layers were drawn in, the went to work painting in the waves with various colours of blues and greens with the cool colours in the background and warmer coming forward. She used a lovely squirrel hair brush, 10 flat pro art which gave her the ability to do fine detail. She mentioned that one could splatter over the scene as well.

Another fine demo for our Dupont members. Come join us if you like. img_4246 img_4247

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