More Post-modern Rococo: converting Boucher into a lino print.
In copying Boucher’s imageJeune fille allongée (1752) in order to make a lino print of it, I noticed how startlingly geometrical it is. You can see my pencil mark for the vertical centre, and I have also put small triangles at each side edge indicating quarter, third, half and two-thirds horizontally. The top of the wooden panelling is almost exactly a quarter of the way down from the top, the molding of the same panel is at a third of the way down and her eye is somewhere in between. The top edge of the mattress is a third of the way up and the bottom of the mattress is a quarter of the way up from the bottom. Her left buttock is dead centre. Her eye is also almost exactly a sixth of the way from the left edge.
Other geometrical constructions could be made with a diagonal from top centre to bottom left corner more-or-less coinciding with her left arm and a diagonal from upper left to bottom right corners aligned with her left thigh. Beyond that one could probably find phi, correspondences to the dimensions of the Great Pyramid and by correlation with Nostradamus predict the major events of the rest of the 21st century, but I leave that to wits superior to mine.
I am finding that an oil-based ink gives a more even result than water-based, without having to put the print under undue pressure in the press. Too much pressure can blur the edges of the image, and the joy of lino depends on crisp simplicity.
With oil-based ink, if the lino is damp then the ink does not take well, so I clean the block with a little white spirit or methylated spirit before drying it and applying the ink. I need a new roller as the one I have is past its best.
I hope to post a print on high-quality Japanese paper soon, when I shall then edition it for sale on Etsy. Watch this space!
This is an A4-size lino block (approximately 21x30cm), partly carved. You can see my search lines in pencil. I first drew her skinnier than she is in Boucher’s drawing, and looking critically at my drawing compared with his I came to better appreciate the Rococo taste for, let us say, more substantial women.
Having drawn the image in pencil I then went over the important lines with a fine-liner and then with a brush and ink. This means I have a pretty good idea of what the finished print will look like. In the image shown I have begun to carve out the face and some other key areas. I like to do the face first, because if that is wrong the rest might as well be thrown away.