Multiplate Linoprint · Edition of 100
Size: 75 x 77cm / 29.5 x 30.3 in
Large handcrafted linoprint, featuring a group of Tasmanian Black Currawong, each holding some wattle twigs in bloom, over a large silver moon and background. Printed on 100% cotton archival Stonehenge paper. Limited edition of 100, signed and numbered by the artist.This is a multi layered linoprint, printed off four hand carved plates, and printed using a hand powered etching press in the artist's studio in southern Tasmania. The handmade nature of this printing technique means that every copy will be so ever slightly different from one another, each having their own uniqueness.
Black Currawongs. Often mistaken for crows, they are in fact closer relatives to Magpies and butcherbirds, being part of the same family of Artamidae. Endemic to Tasmania, they differ from the more common Grey or Pied Currawong in their plumage, being almost entirely black, except for the very tip of their wings and tails. Behind their bright yellow eyes lies a clever, humourous and cheeky spirit. They are known to unzip tents and backpacks to get into hiker's lunches, and can lift the lids of off bins.
The Nitty Gritty
The largest print I have worked on to date. At 75cm wide, this is the widest my Enjay E28 Etching press can handle. For this, I had initially planned on 3 blocks and layers, but ended up carving 4 blocks and printed 5 layers. This is yet another exemple of the unpredictible nature of printmaking, and of its need for constant adaptation and problem solving. I had it all mapped out in my head. The first layers was going to be a large flat silver area with a big white moon in the middle. The shape of the birds was left as a flat silver area on this layer. The second layer was the yellow details, and lastly, the detailed Black to finish the birds. Except that, of course, didn't work. First, since the first layer was made out of metallic ink, my subsequent layer of black didn't have anything to stick to: most of the ink was staying on the linoleum instead of transferring to the paper, resulting in an undesirable mottled effect. I needed this layer to be as black as I could get it, but as with anything printmaking, improvisation was the only way. I haphazardly decided to double print this block. I created a somewhat thick, pasty but transluscent ink by mixing extender with some magnesium carbonate, and printed this mix as a ground to provide tooth for further layering.Secondly, it turned out that the contrast between the silver and the black was too pronounced, and it affected the overall result of the birds. They appeared too light, their details were too pronounced. It became evident that a mid tone was needed. I introduced a charcoal grey layer between the silver and the black, and carved an extra block for it. Here's the break down of the 4 blocks and the printing order (I'm trying really hard to make it make sense): Block A is the linoleum block I carved for the first layer - Silver (Background + Moon)Block B is the block used for the third layer - Charcoal Grey (barely visible within the feathers' details)Block C was for the fourth layer - Yellow (eyes + blossoms)Block D is the block I created for the Black, but used twice: as the second layer (transparent) to create a ground for subsequent layers, and finally as the fifth and final black layer. I had to wait 2-3 weeks between each layer to let everything cure correctly.
To my disbelief, it actually worked. The printmaking Angel must have been looking over me.