Leda and the swan: variation on a theme after Maillol

Here is Aristide Maillol’s apparently simple wood block print showing Leda and the swan:

Leda by Maillol

I wanted to make my own version, inspired by Maillol’s bold design. However producing my version proved a lot more difficult than I expected.

Leda is sitting on a very large swan, and the swan is the god Zeus in disguise, as lovers of classical mythology will know. The seduction of Leda by a swan has been the subject of many paintings from antiquity to the present day, varying in explicitness from the relatively respectable Leonardo to the very naughty Boucher.

For my lino block I am making a drawing first using Affinity Photo with an Apple pencil on the iPad. For some time it looked very wrong, because Maillol has taken such extreme liberties with the swan. This is my current version which looks almost anatomically plausible:

My version of Leda and the swan, variation on a theme by Maillol

The next step is to convert this into a lino block and then print it. I found that I could transfer the image onto the lino block, prior to cutting, by printing it the same size as the lino block using an inkjet printer, turning it over face down on the lino and rubbing the back with a hard pencil.