The next layer was the orange one, the first layer of shade. I cut back into the lino, leaving the major areas of shadow, and trying to create some definition. The shape isn’t an obvious one, so I had to try to make it coherent enough to the viewer. Once it was cut, I experimented until I got the shade I wanted, and ended up mixing loads too much ink.
This is the orange layer on its own. I decided to alternate orange and yellow in the background and exaggerate the “sunburst” effect by alternating them again on the outer edge. It’s meant to a light-hearted image. The second layers went on quite accurately, using the jig.
Here’s the orange on yellow. Again I’m struck by the comic-book effect, but that’s such a commonplace that I must stop saying it…
Next was the darker shaded areas. I planned to do two more layers, one in green and one darker one in purple. When I cut this layer I decided to try to create a hatched effect that would apply to the green layer, while the solid shapes would become the purple layer, and created this hatching by using the smallest knife.
It took, again, quite a lot of experimenting to get the right green. I envisaged a mint green, and was surprised by how much white I had to add to get it right. The blue ink is very powerful.
This is the green layer on its own.
I was unsure whether to leave the cut marks in the background, or whether to make it clean-lookin by wiping. (I could also have simply cut around the outside shape of the bag at this point to save wiping, but I wanted to be able to use the jig and that was cut to the rectangular shape of the lino.) I tried a couple of versions with the background cuts showing, then decided I liked the clean versions better.
I was very happy with the look of it at this stage, liking the way the complementary green and orange worked. I also felt the image was clear enough with this amount of definition, and wondered about stopping there.
HOwever, I carried on to see what it would be like. I cut away all the hatched lines, leaving only the darkest shadows. Here is the purple layer on its own.
I decided to do half of the prints with the purple layer and leave the rest to think again.
Here is the completed 5-colour print:
At this point it became clear that exact registering was required. Getting it slightly “off’ had no good points whatsoever, and in fact would cause a headache…
Finally, the version with more layers may look more sharp, but somehow I am still more drawn to the previous one, with only yellow, orange and green. Less is more.
I still have the prints in yellow, orange and green, and wonder what it would be like to do the last layer in red instead of such a dark purple. It would create a pattern of complementary colours, becoming ever darker, and perhaps that would be more harmonious. I’ll have to allow for more prints in future, to give me even more room to experiment.