Saturday, 10 September 2011


My lovely friend L asked me some months ago if I'd do a lino print for her 40th birthday. Naturally I wasn't paying attention, so I accidentally undertook this commission a year early.

The subject was a piece of art I've admired for years: a grouping of four driftwood fish created by L's mother, which hangs above the fireplace in the family's cottage in Suffolk.

Most of my prints are made over a number of weeks, with odd evenings and chunks of weekends here and there, but I had the blissful experience of doing most of this on one day, because S had taken the kids to Scotland. I spent the entire day printing, baking and listening to the Test match, and if you think that sounds middle aged ... then you're right, but sod it.

The other novelty for me was tweeting my progress, which led to lots of nice reaction to my #linofish tagged pics from @jbsurrey @wayfaringreader @ifiwasacupcake @iamamro and @vicnicolas (my sister, in truth).

First came the sketch. Quite straight. Bit simplified:

... transferred onto lino using that classic tracing paper rubbing technique which has served me well since primary school:

First layer (of three) gouged and ready to ink:

Out with the inks (in their lovely new box, found at a car boot sale):

First layer, inked:

Out comes the press:

... fast forward to all three layers having been gouged:

Fortunately the registration of the layers was working out well (ie they fitted together):

The first combination of colours was a bit too heavy (always been my Achilles' bugbear):

... so I tried again, and here's the finished picture (the photo is rather orangey for some reason):

Then, excellently, L's wonderful sister E framed it as her present to L. I think she did a beautiful job: