Stone Mill

Stone mill start

I have been thinking about drawing this stone mill for many years now and felt it would be interesting to work on now. I haven’t done a stone building in a while and it will be fun to work 0n one again.  I played a little with the placement of the covered bridge, moving it a bit to the right.  I decided to add some trees and small foliage to the front, rather than leaving the huge lawn that was in the photo.  It seemed to want a bit of softening.  As I start the inking tomorrow, I may move some of it around or adjust sizes, depending on how it develops.

I’m sorry the photo is a bit dark but I draw lightly in pencil so I can erase it and it is not conducive to photography on the white board.  Still, you can get the gist of where the picture is going, which is all I really want at this stage.  I probably will use the pastels for the color overlay instead of the watercolor.

Rocking horse print

Red rocking horse

As I suggested in my last post, I made a lino print from another found object from my house. I have a little decorative rocking horse that has spent its entire life adding a bit of color to a shelf in my guest bath. I found him several years ago at one of the box decorator stores and bought him because I liked the size and the primitive aspect.

After I cut the plate and printed it, I added some red watercolor.  I had always meant to color in the saddle and bridle, but after I looked at it, it seemed necessary to add color to the rockers.  Since I made this print, I have removed some of the background around the rockers to help delineate them more. They seemed a little lost unless I painted them.  I also made one up in yellow accents instead of red.  I rather like the effects of the added watercolors on all of the cuts I’ve done so far.  Maybe when I have a better feel for the positive/negative spaces the reverse cutting makes I’ll be more satisfied with the monotones.

I have one more block from the set I bought, but I haven’t decided what to cut yet.  I think I like the bird the best so far, but we’ll see.  My next piece on the board is actually an architectural of a stone grinding mill with a waterwheel.I have been thinking of doing it for a while and the time seems right.

Just a touch of color

Shore bird

Well, when it comes to the block printing, I have a ways to go.  I feel all thumbs just yet and still have to get better judging the amount of ink to roll on.  Add to it the fact that I DON’T like to get my hands dirty, and there  are still some technical difficulties.

I printed both of the linocuts and I think I am pretty happy with them. I decided to make several copies at the same time and take the ones that weren’t quite as crisp and add a bit of watercolor to punch them up. I made it minimal to start but I decided I liked it that way.  They look a little folk artsy to me so I didn’t want to get too detailed.


Thus far I have used both the mounted and unmounted blocks and have decided that while the unmounted blocks are a little bit easier to cut on, the mounted blocks are easier to print from.  Since the difference is not that great and I need all of the help I can get printing, I probably will replenish my stock with the mounted type.

I already have the next one decided so keep tuned.  Once again the inspiration was just a knick knack from around the house.

Back to the linocuts

shore bird linocut

After I finished the commission I decided to try a few more linocuts. I bought half a dozen just to experiment with and I think so far that the 5×7 size was a good choice. I was searching for inspiration so I grabbed my little sketchbook to draw a bit and see what happened. Well, what happened is that I saw that the last sketches I had done were of my wooden shorebirds. I had an aha moment and decided to use them as inspiration.  The birds are more like folk art and are not finely cut or painted but are pleasing to look at on the beam ledge as I walk up to the second floor.  I chose one that was standing erect and had a long beak.


I also had a turtle in mind but the sketch I had made on the block didn’t please me so I had let it sit for a few days.  When I went back to it today, I decided to add more.  I had the image of a group of hatchlings making their way back to the water.  Compositionally, it seemed to work out better when I redrew it adding more.

I have no clue what they will look like printed up because I don’t have enough experience yet.  I do think I will add the watercolor again.  My only concern is how much the printing ink will bleed into the watercolor.  The printing ink is water based and responds to the watercolors.   That will be tomorrow’s job.  I am actually looking forward to it – after I clean up the mess I made the last time.

Commission completed

This Christmas portrait was a little subdued when compared with the pastel I did earlier in the year.  Where the last one had garlands, window wreaths, red bows and two reindeer on the porch, this one only had some lights hanging from the eaves and the tree in the window.

The brick was an interesting mix of grayed browns and pink and blue accents. The trim was the same gray/beige.  Needless to say there was not much in the way of shingles to show.

The brick work was pretty straight forward, but I tried a different technique for the snow on the evergreen trees this time around. I started with just hinting at the branches with the ink and not adding too much green at the start.  I tried to show the snow basically with shadowing.  Overall, I like the effect of this pastel.  I feel cold just looking at it.  Brrr.  Winter.

Winter scene commission

I was surprised when I got yet another Christmas home portrait commission last week. That makes it twice in one year.  I have put the linocuts aside briefly to work on this but will go back to them when I am done.

Snowy Christmas

Snow scenes in pastel are a little off of the beaten path for me, but the one I did earlier this year has put me in good stead for another.  I decided to start with minimal foliage, especially for the fir trees.  I can always add more after I put on the color.  There are no roof shingles showing of course, but I have to suggest changes in the roof planes, as the garage is angled off of the main portion of the house to form a cozy entryway.  The reddish brown front door and sidelites, under a large covered hip, will help add some color.  The brick is a soft pastel gray/beige with accents of pink and blue.

The main feature he wanted was a Christmas tree visible in the bay window and some lights up on the gutters.  I moved the little tree in the front a bit to the right to accomplish this.  The effect is a pleasantly subdued holiday scene.  I have laid down most of the color but am letting it sit a day before I finish it up.  Snow is so tricky.

Making the prints

I managed to squeeze in printing up the linocuts this week while I was penciling out the new commission. I used plain copy paper first, since I had no idea what was going to be what for them. It has been decades since I did this and I didn’t want to waste my more expensive paper just yet.

Floral linocut

I printed up a few of both and then one of each on the printmaking paper.  I used some oil based ink I had on hand and I am not totally happy with it.  It was hard to roll out with the brayer and then took forever to dry.  Next time I think I’ll try the water based inks.

While I was fairly happy with the initial prints, I think I will still make a few changes.  I may cut into the flowers a bit more and I wish I hadn’t put the linear cutouts at the corners.  On the streetscape, I could probably do a bit more with the trees.  They don’t show up very well, as is.

I decided to add some watercolors to the prints and I think it changes them quite a bit.  I had enough decent prints to show both for the floral one, but only one  of the architectural one turned out good enough.  I like the effect of the colors over the black, but maybe that’s just me.  What do you think?

Cityscape linocut


Well, I took the weekend off for my birthday and for family. I’m back to work again and have started something new.  I have wanted to do a little bit of printmaking as a change of pace and when I had to re-order my art board, I decided to throw in a few linocut blanks since the shipping was free.  I already had the brayer, inks, and cutting tools from college, but I bet I haven’t touched them 30 years.


I decided to start small and only got 5×7’s, mounted and unmounted.  I didn’t know which I would prefer and the price difference wasn’t great so I bought both. I also bought a little Dover book of Asian clip art at the same time to give me a jump-start on a concept.  I  have the abstract architectural one half cut  and if you look closely at the block, you can see the rest of the pencil in.  The initial design for the floral is basically done.  I haven’t inked it yet because I figure it will be messy and I may as well do both at once.  I expect to make a lot of changes once I see the first prints and may decide to add a color wash at the end too.  I plan to make some plain paper prints as well as some blank cards to sell in my etsy store if they turn out okay.

I did finish the home portrait order and get it into the mail last weekend, but I  have gotten another one right on its heels.  I will have to fit the linocuts in the down time of the commission, but I expect to have something ready to show by Sunday.