Penny Bhadresa - artist - printmaker

linoprinting 2

I employ one of two techniques to produce a limited edition; either inking the linoblock in one go with different coloured inks or using multiple blocks for the different colours.

With the first technique, I use different sized rollers and sometimes brushes for intricate areas, for each separate colour. Thus, I am able to superimpose colours which can result in some lovely subtle and sometimes unpredictable effects as the inks become blended together or are left as distinct ‘veils’ of colour. Examples of this are Harvest Hares and Fishermen. I like the subtle painterly effects produced by this technique. The finished linocuts have a quality of freshness and vitality characterised by bold stylised images combining areas of flat colour with subtly layered inks to give tonality, depth and richness.

With multiple linoblocks, the colours intended for the finished linocut have to be separated out. Each block may be inked with one colour as in Tea in the Afternoon or sometimes I may use several colours per block as in The Honey Tree. It is crucial that the blocks are registered exactly at each stage of the hand-printing so precision is key. With the printing of each block, some colours will remain as single colours whilst others will be superimposed so that another colour is created.

Occasionally a subject may be suited to the traditional reduction method of linoprinting which produces a more hard-edged quality in the final image (see Streamlines – below top left). Here, each colour is printed separately, usually starting with the lightest; after each colour printing, that area of the block is cut away, until by the time the final colour is printed, there remains very little of the original cut-out design. Each time, the print has to be registered accurately to avoid overlaps.

I generally like to use linseed oil based relief printing inks which have great depth and luminosity of colour. For paper, I experiment with different types. I especially like some of the fine Japanese papers and find Imitation Japanese Vellum a superb all-round support for linocuts. But I also like to use some of the papers from India and the Far East; the textured surfaces and fine fibres running through many of these can enliven the appearance of the final print and introduce interesting highlights. Most of my printing is done using a table-top relief printing press. In addition, I like to hand burnish my linocuts to give greater depth of tone where appropriate.

Texture can add interest and liveliness to a linocut and so I sometimes incorporate areas of thin textured paper cut or torn to fit a particular area of the linoblock (chine collé) as in Green Fingers. Another way I like to incorporate texture is to stick another surface medium to the lino itself; this might be coarse paper or thin card, netting, string, bubble wrap or cling film as in Just Landed. The surface is sealed with PVA glue or varnish before applying the ink.

Finally each hand-printed linocut is signed, titled and given an edition number indicating its sequence in the edition.

Anchor to site navigation