I love working in lino and first did so at Art College in Belfast in 1975 when I followed my BA in Fine Art with a one year post graduate course in Printmaking (linoprinting, etching and engraving).
The early 80s saw me developing my pastel drawings and I next made a large body of prints ten years later starting in 1986.
Initially I planned for them to remain crisp black and white but when I experimented with adding colour I was thrilled with the result.
The moment of inspiration came when I saw a stunning exhibition of an Australian artist’s handcoloured linoprints in a London gallery called England & Co – the artist was called Bruce Goold & I was greatly impressed!
Also at this time, I was fortunate to meet Elaine Kowalsky, a Canadian artist who had a studio near mine in the East End of London. The strength of her imagery fascinated me and inspired me to work larger in print.
Cutting very large pieces of lino is pretty hard work so I used to cut these large linos in the direct sunshine when it was hot summer (it made cutting easier) and I then spent the cooler autumn days printing them so that the ink wouldn’t dry too quickly.
Where I have coloured my prints I’ve used transparent acrylics because it works well on the Japanese paper that I’ve printed them on.
It is smooth, beautiful and absorbent, and being made from cotton can be lightly ironed with a cool iron, should any of the prints should happen to get creased in storage!
This last image, the one above, is softer because I ‘ve used graphite instead of the usual oil- based intense black ink for the base.
The Embrace is printed on Mulberry paper which is a more textured but fragile paper than the Japanese papers used in the other prints above. Because it is easily torn I’ve made it available for sale framed even though it is large, measuring more than a metre.
Unlike the others it is a one-off print – and the method here is called ‘Frottage’ – it’s like brass rubbing really. The image is built up from rubbing a selection of surfaces or textures; for all my frottages I’ve used parts of the actual linos that have been cut …
It is possible to click on each image to view on Artfinder.
All these images are available on:
All images copyright Phyllis Mahon. A member of Design & Artists Copyright Society, London.
Thank you for reading …