The Printmaking Process

The Ex-Steer Floating in the Ethereal Plane
The Ex-Steer Floating in the Ethereal Plane (block)


I was a teacher for a long time and tried to practice what I taught.  I use traditional methods and techniques.  These prints are process heavy.  It starts with the idea or with the re-working of a previous work.  For the compositions, rhythms and textures I draw on a 17″x 23″ sheet of sketch paper first.  I use sanguine conte’ chalk drawing lines over lines.  I push the picture over the edges and close into the corners until the entire arrangement feels actively claustrophobic.  I then go over all of the outlines with a sepia conte’ chalk.  I cut an 18″x 24″ sheet of linoleum down to 17″x 23″, flip the drawing face down on the lino and I burnish the back surface to transfer the drawing.  I redraw and correct all the lines with marking pen and watercolor to see what I’m carving.  I use simple hand-held tools to get my thousands of lines.  The drawing, transfer and carving takes about twenty hours give or take.  I still use the fastidious printing process of using a six inch brayer loaded with oil ink and I rub a large spoon over the back to press the ink onto the paper.  It’s the same approximate process as was used before Gutenberg and perfected by the Japanese.   I tried a press more than twenty years ago but I don’t have a press and no plans to buy one. But hand printing works and is my favorite and only methodology.  After two weeks when the ink dries I watercolor the works using just traditional watercolor techniques.  The watercolor takes about eight to twelve hours to apply.  These block prints made within the last two years are limited to twelve total prints from each block.  These are limited editions and hopefully, will never become those awful “gyclees”.

The Ex-Steer Floating in the Ethereal Plane


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