Sometimes, during a busy work-week, my art time is so limited that I feel I must make the most of it by only working on my serious projects. What a mistake. This limits my creativity and opportunity to try new things and learn, because I am afraid I might botch up a piece. Lately I have been striving to incorporate more time into my schedule to playfully experiment with my materials and techniques and to be okay with failing if it helps me improve.
This month, I found the perfect project to do this with. I take part in the printmaking forum on WetCanvas, an online artists’ community, and decided to take part in this month’s printmaking challenge by doing a reduction linocut of some apples. This project is challenging me in several of ways. First, the whole purpose of this project is to have fun–a sometimes difficult endeavor for me when I feel there is so much other work to be done. Second, I am used to doing works based on wildlife and landscapes and something as simple as fruit is a new subject for me. Third, and most important, I have never tried a reduction linocut before.
In a reduction linocut, the block is cut away as each new color is printed. Because the block is destroyed in the process, it is a very committing technique, and one that I have been afraid to try. What if I made a mistake and wasted all my time? Enter the apple project. This has given me a fun venue to try this style of linocut, and I like the technique so far. I am finding it is not as scary as I thought, and the cutting efficiency and perfect registration is a big advantage over using multiple blocks to add color. So far, I have done three colors and would like to add two more. Sure, I see things in my design that I would like to have done differently, but finally tackling a reduction print has been a invaluable learning experience. I can’t wait to try another one!