So this week I went very minimal and cut out almost all the lino to get the white in the image. It was a pain in the ass. Not so much because of the time or anything, but I learned this a difficult thing to do with lino or wood prints.
There were always some areas that were slightly raised and catching ink that showed up when I printed. I'd go back and cut more and more thinking it was just right, but nope. I must have done about 10 of these with varying degrees of lines showing up. It doesn't look that bad but wan't what I was going for.
My wife took a look and said many people completely cut out the area they want to be white. As in just removing large sections of the plate. I'd had enough by then so took her advice and made 2 last prints with the areas cut out and it did the trick more or less.
It was an interesting experiment but I don't think I'll be doing it again any time soon. I think the time I invested wasn't really worth the result, though I do like the image. Probably using lines or crosshatching to create varying shades would be a better way to go. Live and learn.