The Home Economy
Imagine with me for a moment that you have been working on a set of two prints for the last 8 months. Imagine that you finished the first of these back in early April – almost 6 months ago. Imagine that this piece was the most complex relief print you had ever attempted and you are thrilled with the results. Now, if your imagination has not been stretched past the breaking point, imagine that you begin working on a more complex print and continue drawing and cutting on and off for the next 6 months until you finally print it last week. Now this is your most complex image to date. But it’s supposed to go right next to your other image, the one you loved and labored over for months, as a companion piece. The problem is the more recent piece is denser and visually heavy than the first. The two images will not to work as a dyptych in the way they were conceived.
What to do?
If this was a drawing or painting, the solution is simple: keep drawing and painting on the lighter piece until they balance each other out. But this is a linocut. I’ve already cut the block. This is the part of relief printmaking that scares away a lot of folks. Once the block is cut, that’s it, it’s cut and there’s normally not much to be done about it – there’s no “undo”.
So, again, what to do?
The situation is not hopeless, there is at least one thing that can be done. (There are probably a lot of things that can be done, but there is only one that I am willing to try.) I can cut a plug. I have already cut my entire block, so the only way to add linoleum is to plug a new piece into the old block. I have done this on occasion for small mistakes. This, however, will be a huge chunk of the image! I want to fill in the space on either side of the pedestal in front of my wife’s face. I’ve never tried anything like this before.
So we’ll see how it goes and I’ll keep you posted.