Though he also works in oil, Vermont artist William Hays found an initial diversion into reduction linocut prints to be so compelling that it is now the focus of his artistic endeavors.
Reduction printing is a color printmaking technique in which a single block, in this case linoleum, is carved, printed in a color, and then carved and printed again and again, each time cutting away the areas that will not be printed in the current color. This is opposed to the multi-block method of milti-color block printing.
It has advantages, in that the registration is to a single block and not several, but the planning and execution of the method is painstaking, and since the block is essentially being destroyed by stages, the initial print run is the only print run.
Multi-color block prints have their own unique visual charm, often with characteristics of both painting and linear rendering. Hays’s subjects of leafy forests, snowy hills and quiet glens use the medium to advantage.
I’ve limited my examples of Hays’ work to his prints, just to avoid any confusion about the process. You can find examples of his oils here.