My first 5-color reduction linocut!

Last Monday, I tried something that I’d wanted to do for about three years, but was always hesitant because of the fear of screwing up.

Color 1 – yellow

That’s a big one for us humans, isn’t it?  Being afraid to take risks or try something new, because what if I fail, and then everyone finally figures out that I’m a fraud and then no one will respect me?  No?  Too far?  😀  Well, I’ll admit that I have these feelings from time to time – EVERY artist does at some point!

Color 2 – adding the orange

I’ve been making lino prints for about three years now, and after my Print Exchange last year, I feel as though I’ve got the basics down.  I love the carving aspect and I adore mixing colors!  And I feel like my ink coverage is pretty darn good.

Color 3 – just a touch of brown

But reduction prints!  Holy moly.  That was a whole different animal!  My fear was that I would get through my first colors okay and then at the very last point – BLAMMO.  I’d cut the wrong parts out and my prints would be ruined!  All of that hard work down the drain!

Color 4 – finally adding the black!

But would it really be wasted hard work?  I mean, think about scientists – they don’t stumble across the cure for polio, inventing the telephone, or figuring out the cosmos on their first day on the job.  They toil for YEARS at discovery.  Why do some artists feel like we have to be perfect the first time we try something?  I know I’m guilty of this sometimes.  It’s all about learning and process.  And yes – we may have some missteps.  SO WHAT?  You try again and learn from your mistakes!!  Seriously – what is the worst that could happen?  This?

The more I see this “mistake” print, the more I like it and want to incorporate it into a collage!  😀

So l learned LOTS of lessons with this print – that I have enough skills to make a 5-color (counting white) reduction print; that once again, I will not wither and die if I happen to make a “mistake” (even though there are no mistakes in art!); and that I have more patience than I thought.  And I very thoroughly enjoyed this meticulous process!  I can’t wait to get started on my next reduction print!  😀


Monarch on Coneflower print
The finished print, with the chalk pastel background!

So what if you tried something that always made you nervous or scared that you’d fail at it?  And what if you did it and it actually worked?  You might be surprised at what you’re able to accomplish and how much more you know than you think you know.  Maybe that should be your challenge for the week!  Go on – what’s the worst that could happen?  What’s the best?


12 thoughts on “My first 5-color reduction linocut!”

  1. Your knowledge, bravery and honestly candid approach to art is what draws me to you for inspiration. I know I’ve said this before…but thanks for all you do and share. Thanks for inspiring all of us not to give up and to step outside the box. Every time I see your name I think back to our private class time and dream of having time again (bad knee and all) to get started on projects that use my photography in a new and different way. I’ll get there…I have you to inspire me! Love ya


    1. Oh my GOSH, Carol! Thank you so much for this!! It truly means a lot to me. Here’s to you getting back on your feet in no time so you can do more photo discovery! I can’t wait to see what you do! 😀


  2. I can relate to this in another way with using fabric that i love to find on my thrifting hunts when i can go yes i do have a stash that i have sitting pretty on a shelf in fear of making a mistake and then that pretty fabric would be ruined. Or the same for my jewelry making. I like that fact that your always thinking outside the box, and that is what I try to do too. Thanks for the positive inspiration.


  3. Well done, I don’t work in lino cuts but appreciate how difficult it can be. But well done….you conquered your fear, and the result is aesthetically pleasing!


  4. I really like your butterfly! Good post Mel, definitely can relate! I find when I’m working on a commission piece that I run into those feelings of “after all this work, what if I do something to screw it up?” Thanks for sharing your experiences and letting us artists know that we are not alone in how we feel!


    1. Thanks so much, Anne! I think at some point, every artist feels that “What if I’m not good enough?” sting. The best thing we can do to is to power through those feelings and just keep working, like you are! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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