Thought I should give you a little update on my on-line linocut class progress. The first lesson includes three different exercises, the first of which is to mark off 9 squares on a 12 x 12 block and cut a different pattern into each square. This is to give practice in how each gouge works and to generally get a feel for how to wield this tool. On the surface, this didn't look like a big deal, but some of those textures took much longer to do than one might think.
I particularly struggled with this one, which was to look like arch-topped windows. The material that the Blick Ready Cut plate is made from is soft and easy to carve, but also rubbery, with a thin top layer that often defied flicking off. It sounded like a good idea - that top gray layer that would make it clear what your print would look like. But I found it problematic.
These circles also took a long time and were a challenge because of the rubberiness of the block. I found I could do better with them if I cut standing at my work table rather than sitting in front of my laptop. We are to print this block as a whole, an "interesting" background to print other designs on top of or we can cut it apart and use each texture individually. I'll do one print but I'm sure I'll be cutting this block up.
Exercise 2 involves carving negative and positive versions of a leaf. I have a commercial set of leaf stamps that include both kinds given as examples, so I was compelled to think of something different. And then, up pops a post by Annabel where she is using oak leaves to stamp images. It reminded me that I have a file with leaves I've pressed and maybe there are some oak leaves in there. Oh, I love it when my obsessive collecting is vindicated - I had far more oak leaves to choose from than I remembered. And oak leaves are tough things, even when dry. It was easy to trace around them right onto the block. This time I'm using an Eco Printing Plate (by Inovart) on the recommendation of Cynthia St. Charles and am having much better success with it. Still easy to cut but more substantial. Also, it is thick enough to cut on both sides. I couldn't decide between the two leaves you see on the plate so one will be cut as a positive (done) and the other will be cut as a negative on the flip side (drawn on and ready to cut).
The third exercise should go more quickly - just a small simple design that can be used as a repeat. I need to move along on these as I think the next lesson will be arriving soon and I still need to make prints on fabric. We have two weeks to work on each lesson and now I see why. This first one is so chocked full of information and exercises that one needs a couple of weeks to get through it and let it sink in.