After the print shenanigans of the previous attempts, I decided it must be the new batch of Hodomura paper. Solution? Try another paper, so I went back to the BFK Rives I has used on the clouds picture:
What this paper does very well is pick up the marks from the Baren and the subtleties of the colour range in the clouds, so generally very pleased with this one. However the black is still not very saturated though a bit better. Mmmm not the paper then. Next!
Back to the Hodomura, and again I had some problems with saturation. The ink coming on pale no matter how much I loaded up the roller and the block. A real lack of flat saturated colour no matter ho much pressure I applied. With this print the layers are embossed into the paper I was applying so much pressure with the baren as the bamboo cover gradually perished and fell apart......
Right I have to eliminate potential problems. Next print different ink and paper, so it is back to the Rives which seem to work well with the Ravens and Rain picture, and another attempt with the Schmincke inks to eliminate the Graphic chemical inks as the problem. Drawing of Llyn Gwynant.
Put a lot of thought into the clouds and suggestion of the background hills fading in to the low cloud. Schmincke colours didn't quite react the same way as the Graphic chemical. Not mixing the same way or covering each other though still managed to get across the cloud rain and general damp of the walk around the lake. Still having the same issues of the inks paling out and not covering in the same saturated way I would like though it works well in the context of this print.
So not inks or paper. Ask my old Printmaking pal and general expert Gordon Miles how you clean up you rollers if they are a bit glazed and maybe not picking up enough ink! Of course he had a solution. Arriving at my studio with a jam jar containing a strong smelling solvent and a handful of fine gauge wire wool. I gave my medium roller a bit of clean and tried it on this print of Llyn Gwynant. Though I also tried another paper. A thicker 95gsm paper called Torinoko.
Roller worked much better, but now the Baren is worn through and not applying enough pressure so black still not dark and flat enough. The solution then. A twin problem. The baren has worn at the same time as the rollers were a bit greased and not picking up enough ink to transfer.
So the solution: I shall be giving the rollers a good thorough cleaning but need to sort out my Barens. Luckily I am off to visit another great printmaker who works in both wood and lino and uses the Japanese woodblock. Laura Boswell. Who, after doing a course in Japanese woodblock at the Nagasawa Art Park, has experience in recovering Barens as well as woodblock printmaking. So I am really looking forward to having a great chat about printing and Barens.