Time to get started on my Winchelsea Beach linocut. Here is the process….

In my previous blog Winchelsea Beach – surprising South Coast hideaway I described my excitement at finally discovering the delights of Winchelsea Beach – a coastal village just down the road from me in Hastings, which I had previously written off as a set of slightly dull static caravan parks scattered on the flat landscape of Romney Marsh.

But, beyond the main road, are winding lanes through the willows and pebble banks lined with small clapboard houses – all different from each other and all giving the sense of a much-loved seaside hideaway.

Final sketch

A visit during the Open Gardens season this year has inspired me to create a linocut of Winchelsea Beach.

Visualising and planning the picture

It’s difficult to include too much detail in an A3 linocut (I would love to do bigger, but all linocuts over about A4 have to be pressed by hand using a wooden spoon. If I had a large press I think I would routinely do A2-ish size prints. Perhaps I should emulate the wonderful linocut printmaket Ian Phillips – I think he hand presses but uses very thin Japanese paper).

So, I needed to make sure I included the essentials of Winchelsea Beach – the wooden houses, the wildlife and (ideally) the streams, the pretty garden plants growing out of the gravel, and the sea. I also wanted to put in some of the horses that were being grazed between the houses and the sea.

This is what I came up with in my final sketch for roughly A3 size (see above).

This is the dragonfly I originally had in mind, the Broad Bodied Chaser. Image from the Wildlife Trusts and by (c) Mike Snelle

Couldn’t fit a stream in, so we have a dragonfly instead. Originally it was a fat one – as I saw a lot of these (with light blue abdomens) this summer in Sussex and Devon. However, I often put my working sketch on my bedroom wall. When I woke up in the morning and looked at it – it occurred to me that not everyone likes the sight of an enormous fat bug in the foreground of a picture (even if it is a dragonfly) so I slimmed it down a bit.

Cutting the lino blocks and testing the colours

The plan was to do a multi-block linocut for this one. A dark key block as the first and most important block, with the colour blocks very secondary. Although it’s very extravagant of expensive lino, I like using the multi-blocks technique because you can reprint in different colours later if you want.

So I worked on the key block and when most of it was cut out I printed it, scanned it and then experimented in Photoshop to see how it would look with some colour.

Winchelsea Beach linocut in black and white by Fiona Horan
Winchelsea Beach – the key block mostly cut out
Colour test using key block print and digital colour
All the colours (left) using 3 blocks: blue; sea, red, and light green; pebble and dark green | The final print (right)

The Winchelsea Beach linocut is in an edition of 50, and I think a few additional prints in a more subdued palate would also be good.

On sale now!

If you like it, you can buy it here.