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  • Writer's pictureChiara


Updated: Jun 27, 2022

I don't often work with Lino, but I decided to have a go. It's a versatile medium and has the practical advantage that I can work away from the print studio. Lino's graphic qualities make it a good candidate for work about politics and power.

Not feeling very confident about my drawing, I started with a photo of my fist. I played around with the image in photoshop for a while looking at tonal values. With that in mind, it might have been good to work with a reduction lino process, but instead I decided to try line work. to render the tonal variations.

Here are some of the stages of my lino as it developed.

Honestly, I'm not convinced. The strongest qualities of the print are the solid black negative space and the tentative position of the fist in the lower right hand corner. The linework is busy and distracting.

While I had the ink rolled out on the slab I tried a couple of monoprints using my body directly as the print matrix. Those few minutes were more satisfying than the rest of the day's work.

Looking for some more successful examples of linocut portraits to refine my practice, I came across the work of Elizabeth Catlett.

This work for example combines the graphic qualities of lino with a subtlety of shading and use of line which enhances the character of the portrait. The way she uses lino here emphasises the sculptural qualities of the face and the process of carving.

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