registration

Mark Twain's Lake Tahoe

"...at last the Lake burst upon us—a noble sheet of blue water lifted six thousand three hundred feet above the level of the sea, and walled in by a rim of snow-clad mountain peaks that towered aloft full three thousand feet higher still!" - Mark Twain, from Roughing It.

"A Noble Sheet of Blue Water" - Linocut Print

Medium: Seven-Color, Linoleum Block Print

Titled: "A Noble Sheet of Blue Water"

Edition Size: 9

Measures: 13"x19"

Available for purchase at

Etsy.com

It feels great to have finally finished this print, though it wasn't without its challenges! I've included some work in progress shots below and the first shows the finished carving for the first layer of colors of the print. I laid out my colors of ink, which I mixed on glass for a blue roll on the bottom (water), with a separate yellow roll on top (sky). The top roll is a "rainbow" roll with two tones of yellow, creating a color gradient, which adds a little more time to the printing process but creates a cool effect. I made a little template, which is above the linoleum in the photo, to help keep ink off the middle area of the block, while I rolled ink on the linoleum with the two brayers (rollers).

The wooden device on the right is a homemade registration jig that I put on the etching press to make sure the paper and lino block are lined up correctly, so that each subsequent color layer is printed exactly on the layer below it as the printing process continues. Most importantly, there's coffee.

Next, is a shot of the Lake Tahoe print after the first four colors. I used the reduction method for the second layers on the sky and water. Now, I'm ready to carve the mountains on the second block of linoleum.

Never had this problem before

Tonight I was excited to print the third color of my streetscape print and I immediately ran into a problem. The third layer wasn't lining up with the two layers underneath. Yikes! It was 2-3mm too short, which doesn't sound like a lot, but is easily seen by the eye of the viewer. It threw me for a complete loop. Frustrated and perplexed, I started troubleshooting. What was I doing wrong? I even had a test print from last weekend that showed the third layer printing just fine.

Then it dawned on me. We've had very heavy rain all week, which increased the humidity drastically and stretched the paper. The stretching of the paper probably threw the registration of the layers out of wack. A quick Google search for an answer confirmed my hunch. So I put the brakes on tonight's print run after losing the first four prints. I'll wait until the rain abates and hope the paper shrinks back again to the approximate same size. Or am I missing something else?

Fingers crossed.