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Category Archives: Stage 3 P
I started out with a playing card sized reduction linocut as a quick experiment:
In Project 4, I tried a combination monoprint of a piece of rusty metal from a water tank, on top of a map of where it used to be on Yarnbury Moor. I wanted to explore this idea of printing objects on top of maps further.
I started collecting maps and ideas and played around with some small reduction cut lino pieces. Because these were small, it was easy to register them by simply placing the lino on top of the paper to fit the last print.
My printing plan (modified when printing):
First two colours:
Because the ink was still wet, this has created a great mottled texture which I must try again.
Second two colours:
The final prints:
The print on the right is the closest to what I was aiming for, although the grey doesn’t work well as the last colour.
Some different colour experiments:
Maiden Castle print – 1st attempt
I then decided to move on to a new print. Keeping the same idea of related objects on top of maps of their location, I decided to produce a print of Maiden Castle (an iron age enclosure in Swaledale), with cotton grass heads on top. The maps are not shown here as they are copyrighted.
My printing plan:
(again modified during the printing process)
My best print:
This time printing on wet ink didn’t work as well. Maybe this only works with certain colours? It is certainly safer to wait until the print is dry.
I also remembered to reverse the fort sketch, but not the bog cotton heads.
Maiden Castle print – 2nd attempt
I decided to do this print again on a larger piece and with the bog cotton heads reversed.
My printing plan:
(with modifications before and during printing)
My best prints on thicker paper:
The first of these is on Arches Velin paper and I stopped at the dark green stage. The second is on Fabriano Rosapina paper with the brown on top. I like the mottled effect of the paper showing through on both of these prints.
My best print on Hosho Japanese paper:
I think the subtle colours work well on these prints and I have managed to register them quite well, although not perfectly.
I think this idea would work well with many other subjects.
Photograph and maps for farm machinery on top of a map of where it lies:
Sketch for a print of an iron age spearhead over a map of the cave in which is was found:
With this print I have worked harder to develop the ideas into a finished print. What I haven’t really done is experiment as much with the colours / processes / etc. and taken more risks, as suggested by my tutor. So, whilst I have ended up with a print I am pleased with, it is very “safe”. The next project will hopefully provide me with a good basis for experimentation.
Look at the work of Clare Curtis or Mark Hearld, both contemporary printmakers, and look closely at how their prints are created. What makes them work? Are there any techniques you could re-use?
From looking through her website, it looks like Clare mostly uses different blocks for each colour rather than using the reduction cut method, although her techniques could be equally well applied to this method. She works mainly in a single (black) or double colour and create bold and expressive work. I particularly like the way she composites different images together into a whole, such as in these prints:
Separate areas for different images
or different elements merged into one print
although I prefer the former method.
Her single colour prints are mainly the ones which grab my attention. Although I like images like http://clarecurtis.co.uk/?attachment_id=334, the use of lots of colours makes it look too “busy” for my liking.
Other images which give ideas are:
I like the depiction of the sun in this image, and the isolation of it in a white area also works well. I have seen these swirls around a sun used in other work, most notably for me in the paintings of Kate Lycett – see http://www.katelycett.co.uk/wp-content/plugins/kates-gallery/image.jpg?id=172 or http://www.katelycett.co.uk/wp-content/plugins/kates-gallery/image.jpg?id=97. If the opportunity presents itself in the next projects, I will try doing something like this myself.
What surprises me most about Mark Hearld is that he appears to be doing quite well as a printmaker, but has no website (or none that I can find)! How he manages to do that in this day and age is beyond me.
Moving on to his prints and working methods, the best source I could find on these was St Jude’s Prints, an online gallery.
Probably a reduction cut lino print? I like the way the cutting marks echo the design which would be a good thing to try to do.
Looking at this, it appears that he has re-used the border of the “Fest dog” print, another good tip to take from his work.
Again, the cut marks emphasise the design, leaving lines towards the centre of the flowers
I first thought that this must be a reduction cut print with all the detail which is present, but then saw the overlaid colours at the bottom of the print. I guess he has printed the light blue colour first, then the brown/black (always hard to tell on a computer screen) over the top. On close examination these don’t exactly match up which adds to the design and gives it a bit more life.
In this image he has used multiple blocks for different colours.
I like the transparent red colour which sometimes goes over the other designs and sometimes around other colours. Although this is a hand drawn lithograph, the inspiration looks like it has either come from a lino print or he has worked with lino in the past, as the print looks like he has left some of the cutting marks around the edge of the standing birds, and used these marks to add movement to the birds flying. However they were done, they both give a nice effect on the print.
I decided that rather than divide a block up into separate squares, I would cut out squares of lino/etc and create a frame to place them into for printing. Despite the title of this project, I also wanted to try out a number of different materials, so this is what I started out with:
Working left to right from top row to bottom row, I had:
- Rhenalon plate, glues onto cardboard
- Left over flooring lino
- Easy cut lino blocks (ones which I have been using so far)
- Asian plywood
- Harder lino blocks
- Funky foam stuck onto cardboard
And a frame for printing them (floor lino strips):
Tools used to make marks:
- Abig Etching Needles
- Bread knife
- Hole punch
- Car hair brush
- Cookie cutter
- Wire wool
- Staple remover
- Lemon zester
- Chicken wire
First of all, I tried different tools on individual squares and then printed 9 of them in the frame I had made:
This wasn’t as successful as I had hoped, the small blocks were difficult to ink well as they got picked up by the ink roller and the blocks were different heights which didn’t make it easy to get a print off from them (I’d also made one of the block holders too small which didn’t help!).
The ones which didn’t work were the wire wool, rasp, screws on harder lino, pliers and the staple remover. Comments on the ones which did work are further down this post.
I tried 4 blocks of the funky foam together:
But this would probably work better creating a grid on one piece.
I then decided to print the small blocks separately:
The lino type tool was a sharper version of what I had been using on lino, and would allow similar marks to be made on wood.
The breadknife gave very rough and random markings which could be used to represent an old/damaged photograph, a rain streaked window, or just give a pattern as a basis of a print?
The pyrographer allows you to create more rounded lines which could be useful for more organic based prints.
Whilst the wood seems to work quite well in producing prints, it didn’t seem to clean up afterwards – although given that many printmakers have used woodcuts, maybe that was just me?
The screws didn’t leave much of an impact on the lino.
I rolled the chicken wire into the lino using a metal rolling mill. This is small so wouldn’t allow a very big piece of lino to be used, but I think the effect works really well and could be used with many different items. The chicken wire used here could be used to represent what it is (could have a chicken print behind it!), or any kind of fence / cage.
The lemon zester gave five parallel lines which could be used to represent ploughed fields, or a mesh, or just a random textured base?
I used the saw on a larger piece of lino to stop me from damaging myself. It gives a nice random effect in the way I have applied it – reminiscent of tree bark in places?
The cookie cutter gave a very crisp outline. This one is restricted to an image of a sheep, but there are plenty of different cutters available in many different shapes.
Only one layer of the brush really gave am impression here, and any printing from this would be restricted to the edge of the plate. Pressing the end in to give a line of dots may be more useful, but there are probably better ways of getting this effect.
Screws worked better on this than on the lino, but may have limited use.
The sweet corn fork gave nice strong lines, useful for any print which needs two parallel lines.
The fork worked well, leaving a bigger blob where the initial depression was – these look almost like comets (it they travelled in fours!). Maybe more like rain streaks?
The bread knife gave a nice hazy set of parallel lines. I can’t think of a particular thing these could represent, but they would work well as a background.
I tried a print from the shiny side of a piece of floor lino (without any cuts) which gave a very nice texture – maybe one to save for the next stage.
Funky foam took on impressions really easily, and gave a smooth even print. However, the ink didn’t seem to come off the foam afterwards, so it may only be suitable for one off use?
I used Abig etching needles to make the marks on the top three plates here. The marks are all pretty unspectacular, but the effect I love is where the ink has produced small dots between the lines – possibly from grease on the plastic? I will tinker with deliberately applied grease and see what happens!
The hole punched plate didn’t work very well.
I didn’t seem to have much to submit for this project after the first experiments, so went back with the tools which seemed to work and added a few more:
- Screwdriver hammered in
- File hammered in
- Countersink hammered in
- Various screwdriver bits hammered in
- Various cookie cutters
- Thin knitting needle
- Power hacksaw
I produced marks on lino, funky foam and Rhenalon plate.
This was a disappointment as I didn’t get those lovely marks I got using the small squares. The uneven ink was due to using a roller too small for the plate.
This also suffered from uneven ink distribution due to the roller being too small and it was also difficult to ink well as I hadn’t stuck it to cardboard this time and it kept trying to stick to the ink roller. The cookie cutters and the squiggle lines from the thin knitting needle worked best here.
This was more like it. The marks all worked well on this and the two colours merging together made a nice print.
The saw (1) gives some nice random lines.
The screwdriver bits (3) and countersink (2) made very good stars and large dots which would be good to represent stars, or more abstract texture markings.
The knitting needle (4) made nice smooth curved lines and the end pressed in made neat little dots, which will have plenty of uses.
The files (5) were a bit too brutal and didn’t give any new mark which couldn’t be made with more control with other tools.
The power saw (7) gave some very nice markings, but was very difficult to control. Therefore it is probably best for abstract texture and the best use of it would probably be to mark up a whole sheet and then cut out the shape required from it.
The marks from the rasp (8) were lighter than the saw and only partially showed up, but create a more subtle textured effect.
Looking at the course notes, it looks like I got ahead of myself in the last project by straying away from lino into different mediums at that stage!
I have been collecting photographs of lost items of clothing for use in an as yet unidentified art project. A recent addition was a photo of a glove on a signpost which I wondered about using for a print.
I sketched out some ideas on how this might be done.
Paint peeling door
Another idea was from a photograph of an old door with peeling paint, with the ideas of texturing the lino with a saw to represent the wood, transparent printing the blue of the peeling paint on top and then adding bits of detail afterwards.
Moss patches on a tree trunk with ants crawling up it.
Rock strata using different textures and fossils using screwdriver heads
Were any of the above ideas bold and adventurous? Probably not! Maybe some more thinking is required.
We were asked to take a look at some contemporary printmakers who use experimental methods to make their prints. A suggested starting point was exploring the printmakerscouncil.com website, where I looked at the following practitioners:
I particularly like:
The sweeping lines in the sky, sea and cliffs work really well as a background to the image
The way the image has been printed to go outside of border is very effective in this print.
The use of textured/patterned backgrounds with a bold figure outline on top is very effective. I also like the way in “Shadows & Reflection” that the colour changes inside the figure outline.
I particularly like:
There are some great textures in the skies in these prints from etching the lino – a technique I would like to try.
I like the first image on this page “Tangled up in blue” monoprint and chine colle’. I think we move onto chine colle later, but what I think particulary works with this is the way the work goes out of the frame.
I don’t like these prints very much, but it gave me the idea that I could use stencils on a textured background, followed by a transparent overprint.
“The rambler’s yellow scarf”, etching and acquatint is on a similar theme to my lost items idea – maybe artists pick up on similar things?!
From the research, the work of Pauline Bradley seemed to offer a more bold and adventurous idea. Using a figure in the print also appealed, having just completed stages 4 and 5 of the drawing course concentrating on figure drawing.
So I decided that I would go for 2 printing blocks, the last block to be printed would be a figure outline in a dark colour, the first block to be printed would be a textured block (s).
I found a model pose that I liked from a life drawing DVD and produced a drawing from it, initially thinking that a 25cm square print would work quite well:
In scanning in the drawing for this blog, I decided that it actually looked better cropped to A4, so went for this layout:
So, my final block used this image, lino cutting the shadow outlines and cutting out the lighter areas, following the outline contours and leaving some cut marks to pick up ink (referring back to my research from project 8 of Mark Hearld and the way he uses the cut marks emphasise the design).
For this I tried a few different things:
- Saw marks – randomly applied similar to my experiments in project 9
- Etching lino – I like the effects Steve Edwards achieves from etching lino, so decided to try this out
I decided to either use one block of a similar size (but not identical) to the figure block, or two half size blocks placed together at a slight angle.
For the etched lino, I wanted to try etching the full block in a complimentary shape to the figure drawing. Then etching the separate blocks in a random fashion
For inking up the textured blocks I aimed to try two methods:
- 1st colour with a figure stencil used
- 2nd colour without the stencil
- Dab printing different colours
The best notes on this I could find on the web, were these two pages:
I initially tried this on three blocks:
2 hessian backed lino blocks, one with oil pastel lines on it, one with candle wax dripped on it.
1 on my easy cut lino (or whatever it’s real name is).
Taking all the necessary precautions, I etched the three blocks for around an hour.
The oil pastel didn’t provide enough of a resist for this length of time and whilst you can see a few lines remaining, it has pretty well etched the whole area.
The wax resist worked very well though.
As for the easy cut lino – this didn’t etch at all.
As I didn’t have a full size etched block, I tried one more time on lino using oil pastels and wax and etching for half the amount of time:
I mixed up a new solution for this etch though and either got the proportions wrong, or it etched more quickly for another reason, as I lost all the oil pastel detail again:
I used a saw to texture one hessian backed lino block:
As the etching didn’t work on my easy cut block, I washed it off and applied some textures instead:
For my two half size blocks (the hessian backed ones), I have an etched and a sawn one, but I am not sure they will work together, so I will print these two times on each print and will have to forgo the use of stencils on these.
So, I have ended up with a number of different backgrounds.
1/2 size blocks:
Using 3 different blocks
Full size blocks:
Various combinations including rainbow rolling, dab printing and the use of stencils
I added the figure outline in purple, black and red ink depending on the background and ended up with these prints:
I am very pleased with some of these and I feel I have achieved more bold and adventurous prints. As always, there are plenty of improvements which could be made:
- The print using stencils should have been registered to ensure it was aligned correctly.
- The print which almost went off the paper should have been aligned correctly.
- The textured easy cut lino block has a flaw in the back of it which shows as a dot on some prints (see yellow mark on the left hand side of the third print from the bottom.
- Red wasn’t the best choice of colour on the dark brown background prints as it doesn’t show through very well, particularly with the sawn block background.
- I think the full size background works better than the half size ones as these cut the figure in two.
- I have got too much ink on the bolder dab print which is a shame because I really like this effect.
- I like the cut marks outside the figure, but should have left a few more visible within the figure. Also, I don’t think the shadow under the leg works very well.
The course notes ask “Did your planning help you prepare for your final print process or were there unplanned aspects you should have foreseen?” The figure outline was a planned element which I think mostly worked very well. The textured easy cut lino was also planned and apart from the flaw in the lino, I think this also worked as planned. The etched lino blocks were a mixture of planned and unplanned, as I was going for a random effect with the candle wax resist which worked well, however the wax crayon resist didn’t work as planned. I perhaps should have forseen happening on the second block, but using a different mixture altered the variables. I really like the effect achieved by the etching, but I suspect it will take time to master it.
- Add saw marks to the figure lino block
- Experiment further with etching
- Full block of sawn marks for a background
- Other figure poses
- “Theme” the pose/colours/textures based on emotions. Possible option for stage 5?
- Texture as part of a reduction cut
Assignment 3 asks for a selection of prints from projects 8-10.
Contents of my submission
Task 1 (Project 8)
2 prints of a reduction method linoprint
Choice of subject and colours
These prints are a development of an idea from Project 4 of overlaying objects onto maps of where they were found, linking the representations of the world on a paper map, to the reality of physical objects.
In this case, I chose a map of “Maiden Castle”, an iron age enclosure on moorland in Swaledale, an area where I love to walk, overlaid by bog cotton heads which are found there (and make an interesting print).
The choice of colours for these prints was determined by looking for fairly realistic colours for the features, using subtle shades of green.
- 5 colour reduction method linoprint on Arches Velin paper
- 5 colour reduction method linoprint on Hosho Japanese paper
In developing my ideas, and working on the same idea twice, I have moved further away from taking more risks with my subject and working processes, to a very “safe” and precise print where there is also not much variation in the mark making. The thicker paper has introduced a mottled effect with the paper showing through the print, which does give a nice effect and softens the preciseness of the print. The registration of the prints is quite good, although not perfect, with even printed ink quality throughout.
Task 2 (Project 9)
2 prints of test linocut
Choice of subject and colours
This test linocut was done after experimenting with smaller blocks using a single tool on each one. This block was prepared with the tools I knew would work. The marks are clustered together to distinguish the different tools, so it is a test block rather than an exciting image. I did use rainbow rolling to give it a bit more interest than a single colour print though. Printed on Hosho Japanese paper.
The tools used were:
Saw – giving some nice random lines. This might be used to good effect to represent hatching in a drawing?
Screwdriver bits and countersink hammered in – made very good stars and large dots, gives interesting abstract texture markings.
Knitting needle – made nice smooth curved lines and the end pressed in made neat little dots.
Files hammered in – bit too brutal and didn’t give any new mark which couldn’t be made with more control with other tools.
Power saw – nice markings, but difficult to control (and probably not very safe really!). Therefore it is probably best for abstract texture and the best use of it would probably be to mark up a whole sheet and then cut out the shape required from it.
Rasp – lighter than the saw and only partially showed up, but created a more subtle textured effect.
A clean print of a test lino block, showing some interesting marks which have potential for many different subjects.
Task 3 (Project 10)
3 impressions of experimental relief print
Choice of subject and colours
Influenced by the work of Pauline Bradley where she uses bold outlines of figures (see ‘SHADOWS & REFLECTION’ woodcut) and the leaving of lino cut marks to echo/enhance the design used by Mark Hearld, combined with the recent completion of the drawing course concentrating on figure drawing, I decided to take a figure sketch as the basis of this project. I cut the figure, leaving cut marks in interesting patterns to pick up some ink, and also cut the block to be irregular on the sides, following the flow of the pose.
I tried a number of different textured blocks for the background meaning that every print produced was different. The half sized etched lino block was etched using a random pattern (which actually etched much deeper than intended), the full sized textured lino block had the same figure sketch drawn onto it and the screwdriver heads and countersink were hammered into it following the lines of the figure drawing. A knitting needle was also used to mark the lino following the lines of the figure and also randomly in the blank spaces around it (although these lines only show up on the dab printed version).
Warm red/orange/yellow colours were chosen for most of the prints, being my favourite colours and also seeming to fit well with a figure drawing. Brown was used for some backgrounds to give some variation. A deep black or dark purple was used for most of the figure prints to ensure it stood out from the background print.
- Purple/Black lino cut figure on a background of an etched lino block printed twice in brown on an unknown Asian paper.
- Black lino cut figure on a background of a textured lino block using screwdriver heads, countersink and knitting needle (knitting needle marks not evident in this print) and rainbow rolled with red to orange on Hosho Japanese paper.
- Black lino cut figure on a background of a textured lino block using screwdriver heads, countersink and knitting needle and dab printed using a template with red, orange and yellow on Hosho Japanese paper.
I am very pleased with these prints, which I think are much more bold and adventurous than my work on the last few projects.
The textured block had a flaw in it which I should have picked up on before I worked on it (or attempted to correct once I noticed it), I used too much ink with the dab printing which has resulted in some areas which haven’t dried, and a few areas of the figure block (shadow under the leg, bottom, and possibly the face) could be better.
Demonstration of technical and visual skills
I think the design and composition of my prints work well, as do the colours. My prints are clean and crisp, with good ink coverage.
My image registration is not perfect and I will need to work on making a better registration setup for future prints, as I only placed blocks for registering the lino and relied on the edge of the blocks to line up the paper (and so “lost” a number of copies of my project 8 print).
Quality of outcome
I am pleased with the prints from both project 8 and 10, and even more pleased that I have managed to produce two very different prints in content and style. Both prints were planned to a greater extent than my previous submissions and I think this thought process has improved both of the final prints and all the final prints communicate the ideas I had in mind.
Demonstration of creativity
I have adapted my cutting to take on new influences from the research and have enjoyed experimenting with new textures, especially with etching (despite my experiments not always working). I feel I am getting more confident in my printmaking work and am taking more risks (with project 10) which are paying off.
Overall I am very pleased with these prints. Some elements could be improved, but I think they are minor issues in registration (project 8) or design (figure cutting in project 10). The biggest area I should have experimented with more was with the colour choices with project 8 as this could have resulted in some more vibrant prints. Other than that, I think I have made the right decisions in composition, materials and techniques for what I was planning to achieve.
All my background work for this assignment is in this blog and my sketchbook.
My tutor’s overall comments:
Assignment 3 focuses on the development of relief printing using more advanced and experimental techniques. There has been a break between these assignments as you complete the drawing 1 course. You have created some technically very precise work with good colour and registration. You have been a bit conservative with your creative and imaginative approach to the submitted prints but the print of a figure with two etched lino blocks at angles is a real highlight and shows good potential for creative development throughout the printing process.
Suggestions to take forward:
Preparation / sketchbook
More observational drawings and drawings developing ideas
Greater risk taking and freedom
Less reliance on photography
Allow intuition within the process and don’t stick rigidly to a pre-conceived idea
Look at the work of the Robert Smithson and Richard Long
Do more research and creative thought into artists and artworks that I have looked at as I progress through an assignment. Write about what I like about their work and the areas which I am drawing upon