Richard Welling’s Lino Blocks

June 20, 2014 · Collections ·

Linoleum blocks, either mounted onto particle board or left unmounted, are perfect for printmaking. The linoleum is soft enough that it can be carved into with a knife or special chisel-like tools. The areas that are carved out will not appear in the print; ink gets applied to the raised, uncut portions of the block, then transferred to a sheet of paper or fabric.

Richard Welling began to make lino blocks in the 1990s. Some of them were inspired by his drawings (and probably also by photographs he took), and appear as more graphic representations of similar scenes.

Richard Welling. The City and Transportation. 2012.284.5455.

Richard Welling. The City and Transportation. 2012.284.5455.

Here, in his drawing The City and Transportation (which appeared in Welling’s book, The Technique of Drawing Buildings), the lines are soft and there is quite a bit of depth to the drawing due to the shading.

Richard Welling. 59th Street Subway Station, New York City. 2011.465.73

Richard Welling. 59th Street Subway Station, New York City. 2011.465.73

This is the same scene as a lino block. Use your imagination here, because we don’t have the print of it! Even without the positive, it’s apparent that this is a much flatter, more graphic way of rendering a scene. Either something is positive or it’s negative; it’s there or it’s not.

I love that Welling used different media to explore the same subject matter. It’s fascinating to get a glimpse of how an artist’s mind worked, how the creative eye was always seeing.

Tasha Caswell is a Project Cataloger/Researcher at the Connecticut  Historical Society

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