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Reduction Linocut planning

A question on the Linocut Friends page of Facebook prompted me to document (for my own future use if nothing else) how I’d previously worked out how to plan a reduction linocut using ArtRage (on the iPad but now on my Surface Pro 3).

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pp 12-13: bound by religion

Here are pages 12-13 of Loeb’s De Rerum Natura that I have illustrated (the right word in this case: this image owes more to illustration than art). The theme of religious superstition continues, talking about how men fail to defy the priests because of their fear of everlasting punishment after death.

I saw this as a web of fear that we construct for ourselves and into which we are enmeshed. So, the spider’s web as part of the image came quickly. It was only after drawing the web that I thought of tying Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man into the web. It seemed appropriate to contrast the web of superstition with an iconic image from one of humanity’s greatest thinkers and artists. What we might be if we could escape that web: which we can do with the help of Epicurus’ philosophy.

De Rerum 6

This has again been produced using ArtRage using the roller for the grey background and the fine marker tool for the web and Vitruvian Man. Both the web and the men were copied by importing photographs first and tracing over them.

pp 10-11 murderous outcome of superstition

This is the fourth set of pages from Loeb’s De Rerum Natura that I’ve worked on. It includes a description of what happens when people fall under the spell of religious superstition. Believing that Artemis has stranded the Greek fleet waiting to sail to Troy, Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter, Iphigenia, to appease her.

I can think of no more appropriate example of the stupidity of religious infatuation unless it is the story of Abraham intending to do the same to his son, Isaac. It took me along time to think of an image appropriate to this rage I felt and, in the end, I failed. I spent a long time trying to draw a sword with blood running down it in a form that resembled a girl’s hair. If I could have done justice to such an image, I might have persisted, but eventually gave up and went with this one of blood running down over the page. In a way, I think it might work even better. The brush strokes at the top do resemble the curling of a girl’s hair but aren’t too obvious. And having it run down makes it look almost as if it is pouring down from heaven and flooding the earth. If there are any gods, they would surely weep tears of blood at the way humans vent their own blood lust in their names.

De Rerum 5

The image was created in ArtRage with the square oil paint brush.

pp 8-9: religious superstition

This is the fourth set of pages from Loeb’s De Rerum Natura that I’ve ‘adorned’. [Not sure what word is appropriate there; ‘illustrated’ would indicate that the text is left undisturbed whereas I’m definitely disturbing it, especially today; ‘ornamented’ too prissy; ’embellished’ implies I’m making them more beautiful; ‘adorned’ sounds too fancy but might be the nearest.]

This page touches on the debunking of religious superstition: that the world and its construction & phenomena are adequately explained by what we would call science, i.e. observation and deduction. I used a figure that I played around with some time ago. It began life as the Minotaur’s head and morphed into a much more stylised version of that. I thought it would suit here since the sacrifice of bulls is central to many ancient religions as a means of pacifying the gods.

Having the figure, I then tried a number of ways of adding it to the text with colouring the text, adding other figures etc. In the end, it seemed more appropriate to simply black out the text and carve the figure from that. Semi-fortuitously, the word ‘superstition’ was then revealed.

De Rerum 4

This one was created in ArtRage with a layer filled in with black added over the page and then the figure exposed using the eraser set to maximum hardness. The eyes and mouth were added using the chalk/pastel tool in another layer.

pp 4-5: abstract

The next pair of pages (pp 4-5) from De Rerum Natura have evoked an abstract image – derived, I think, from the image of Venus calming Mars:

De Rerum 2

This image was produced in ArtRage 3 fairly simply. I used only the oil painting brush with the above three colours, each colour in a separate frame and squared off using the eraser. This was the third attempt at such an image and, as might be expected, the simplest.