As many of you know, I lost the Smiling Cat recently. I decided to make a lino cut in her memory that would capture her jaunty self as she walked off to her next home. I had a photo to work from and felt less sad as I cut the linoleum.
Unfortunately, I can't get the darn thing to print as I'd like! I'm happy with the way the carving turned out, but I can't get the background to print uniformly. I used Jack Richeson Easy-to-Cut Lino that I received for Christmas and I think that is the culprit since I haven't changed anything else in my process. The linoleum was easy to carve and I think it would be fine if I carved away the background, but the linoleum itself seems to have some imperfections and doesn't seem to hold the ink well. The result is a rather frustrating splotchiness of the background when I hand-pull the prints.
I tried new oil-based ink, both soft and hard brayers, a baren and a wooden spoon, and several different kinds of paper. The humidity is low, so that may be having some effect, but I've printed in winter before so I don't think that's it. The soft brayer created a uniform fuzziness to the background that I think I can be happy with as long as the Smiling Cat is crisp and clear. But I won't be using the rest of the Jack Richeson lino I have on anything that doesn't have a lot of whitespace!