`As described previously,` I was inspired by a visit to the Eden Project in Cornwall last summer to create a linocut or two about this amazing spot.

I decided to use two blocks – a key block in black (or other dark colour) that defines the entire image – and a second lino block for all the colours to be carved away in sequence. This would be likely to result in quite a small edition, especially as several would be lost through experiments and the odd accident.

I decided that I wanted my first Eden Project linocut to be of the Rainforest Biome. I was tempted to focus on the waterfall, but in the end I decided the best effect for the size of picture would be a scene around one of the pools, with a bridge across, some visitors, plenty of palms and banana type plants, some of the amazing tropical flowers I saw there, and a good view of the structure of the dome.

Plus I wanted to get in the sweet little roul-roul (crested partridge) birds that wander across the pathways and forage in the undergrowth in the biome.

Planning the image

You can see my first tiny rough sketch below.

Thumbnail sketch used to plan Fiona Horan's linocut print of the Eden Project in Cornwall.
First rough thumbnail sketch of the Eden Project

Then I did a few experiments with colours and how the sketch was placed to fit the space (below). I have several sizes that I usually work to – as they are easier to mount and frame. I’d like to do more varied shapes and sizes but am aware of how awkward that is for anyone who buys a piece and then hopes to frame it without having to pay for custom framing.

Trying out colour schemes and positioning

I decided to go with the placement used on the sketch top right.

And you can see my final working sketch below. The only change that occurred to this was adding another little partridge in the bottom righthand corner.

Final sketch

The lino carving begins

The next stage was to carve out the key block, based on this sketch. When I had done almost all of it, I rolled it with ink for a test print.

Picture showing process of creating a linocut of the Eden Project in Cornwall. This is a black and white preliminary image, to check if the key block has been carved correctly.

I haven’t quite finished the bottom right corner, but the image is almost all there. By this time, I have started carving the colour block too, so am able to test both blocks together. At this stage, I have only carved the colour block once. This is to remove anything that is staying the colour of the paper – ie. white.

At this stage, I toy with the idea of removing the black for the greenhouse dome tracery. Howver, I decide the loss of it will emphasise the darkness of the rest of the print too much. With this particular technique – using a dark key block – the image is really all about the outlines and contrast of darkness and light. Colour is secondary. It’s possible I may re-use my working sketch in the future to create a linoprint about the colours and not the outlines. We’ll see …

So from here, I can use the inked up key block to help me carve the colour block. I simply ink up and print the key block onto a piece of tracing paper, and then place the tracing paper over the colour block. Rubbing the back of the paper transfers the image to the colour block – giving me a guide to carve to.

Adding the colour

I carve and then print four times, allowing the prints to dry in between. The colours are blue (almost everywhere), light green, dark green, and flower/bird colour. I have varied the final colour on different sheets. A few are yellow, a few are orange, a few are red, and two or three are purple.

Here’s Number 4, one of the purple ones. 13 prints made it to the edition, with several others sacrificed as tests and experiments.

I hope to do a companion print of the Mediterranean Dome soon.

Colour linocut of the Eden Project in Cornwall, showing the interior of the Rainforest Biome with two visitors crossing a bridge over a pool, and a couple of tropical partridges in the foreground.