Category Archives: Printmaking 1

Printmaking 1 assessment result

I received a mark of 58% for this course – a much better result than my bare scrape through the drawing course, which was a huge relief.

The area I fell down in was “Context”, only achieving 9 marks out of 20 with a result of “Variable levels of self-reflection and research, and poor analysis and synthesis of information”. My overall comments were:

Your technical skills have been enhanced by the exploration of some fruitful avenues of enquiry through the combination of method and idea; try to develop these aspects of practice as you move forward. Try to establish more of a dialogue with the process of making in order to develop more of an instinctive approach which might offer up some surprises.

In future be much more rigorous in your comment and include more reflection rather than description. It is important to include comment on relevant artists that you look at.

 I have been addressing some of these issues in my sculpture 1 course, but it is clear that I need to increase my research and commentary of different artists going forwards.

Overall I am very happy with this result.

Posted in Stage 5 P | Leave a comment

Assignment 5 – Combination prints, chine collé and further experiments

Assignment 5 asks for a selection of prints from projects 13-15.

Contents of my submission

Task 1 (Project 13)

3 combination mono and linoprints.

Print 1

Print 1

Print 2

Print 2

Print 3

Print 3

Critical Statement

Choice of subject and colours

For these prints I decided to use an abstract image as I had not explored this area much so far on the course. The lino design was developed from sketches of different shapes and whilst I had no fixed idea in mind when I started out, it has resulted in a design which looks aboriginal in origin.

Once I had my lino design, I tried out some colour combinations in my sketchbook, then experimented further when trying different mono printed backgrounds.

The prints chosen for submission are:

  1. Rainbow rolled lino block on top of a secondary print from a plain brown background with ribbons placed on it (and removed for this print). Zerkall paper.
  2. Rainbow rolled lino block on top of a green tissue paper textured background. Somerset Newsprint paper.
  3. Green lino block print on top of a rainbow rolled background. Fabriano Rosapina paper.

Outcome

Three clean prints of an abstract lino block on a mono print background using some interesting textures and methods of inking the blocks (although maybe a bit too much of a focus on rainbow rolling). The background print with ribbons, whilst an interesting texture, does detract somewhat from the design of the lino block. The rainbow rolled background is maybe too bright to work with the aboriginal theme of the print. The tissue paper background provides an interesting but neutral texture background which makes the lino print stand out.

Task 2 (Project 14)

Series of prints which incorporate chine collé techniques.

'Kilnsey Show'

‘Kilnsey Show’

'Cornfield sunset'

‘Cornfield sunset’

'In this soil'

‘In this soil’

Critical Statement

Choice of subject and colours

After a long period of experimentation with this technique, I ended up with a number of different prints using different lino blocks.

‘Kilnsey Show’ – Re-use of a lino block from project 6 with tissue paper added to give colour to the sky and grass. Zerkall paper.

‘Cornfield sunset’ – Continuing my obsession with rainbow rolling, this print used the outline of corn in front of a rainbow rolled sunset background, with a tissue paper white sun. Zerkall paper.

‘In this soil’ – The idea for this design came from a quote from an anonymous poem by the Mapuche tribe in Chile – “in this soil dwell the stars”. It was intended to make use of metal leaf under the ‘seed’ design but, despite repeated attempts to make it work, I couldn’t get it to stick without the print pulling it off the paper. Saunders Waterford paper.

Outcome

Not so much a ‘series’ of prints in this case (apart from the ‘in this soil’ triptych), but a wide ranging set of prints using the chine collé technique.

‘Kilnsey Show’ – The addition of chine collé works well with this block and makes the print work better than the original version. The tissue paper does however create some miss-alignment between the cut tissue paper and the lino block as it is not possible to get it perfectly aligned.

‘Cornfield sunset’ – A simple design which perhaps lacks a bit of imagination. The lino is also not perfectly aligned with the background.

‘In this soil’ – Changing to tissue paper from the intended metal leaf actually improved the design, as the roughly cut tissue paper loosens up the design which had become a bit staid. They work together well as a triptych, but the lack of variation in the ‘seed’ area could do with more development.

Task 3 (Project 15)

Series of 4 contrasting prints on a theme

 

'Happy'

‘Happy’

'Sad'

‘Sad’

'Anger'

‘Anger’

'Fear'

‘Fear’

Critical Statement

Choice of subject and colours

The theme I chose was ‘expressions of emotions’ using self-portrait sketches, both to offer me a challenge in working out how to depict these, and because I enjoy figure/portrait sketching.

Researching the subject revealed that there are very few emotions humans can easily identify. I brainstormed a number of options with colour / pose options, before deciding on these four:

  1. Happy
  2. Sad
  3. Anger
  4. Fear

The designs for these were planned out using a mixture of sketches, Photoshop and experimentation with different backgrounds. Having created the first two lino blocks cutting away the light areas, I decided to vary the other two by cutting away the dark areas.

‘Happy’ – Chosen as an easy expression to recognise, with a smiling face. Printed in recognisably ‘happy’ colours of purple against a rainbow rolled yellow to red background, with ‘star’ texture added to the lino block. Zerkall paper.

‘Sad’ – Chosen to go as the opposite of the print above. Not quite as easy to recognise, but with the head on the hand and down turned mouth, hopefully obvious enough. The colours chosen were all blues and a plain background with added texture from a darker blue tissue paper print on top. The lino block was cut using lots of curved lines. Zerkall paper.

‘Angry’ – Again, chosen as an easy expression to recognise and a fun one to depict. Red and black colours were chosen, with slashes of dark red against a lighter red background achieved using masks and a lino block cut using hard straight lines. Zerkall paper.

‘Fear’ – Chosen as an interesting expression to try to portray, using a self-portrait of me with hands in my open mouth and wrinkled forehead. The background was trying to represent splattered blood, using a plain yellow background with thinned out red ink dropped on it and run down the plate. White was chosen to print the lino block in. Arches paper.

Outcome

‘Happy’ – A mostly crisp and clean print. The rainbow rolling could perhaps have been more graduated, but I didn’t have a roller big enough and had to do this with two rollers, one just for yellow, the other with the rainbow rolled yellow – red. The original print for this worked better in yellow – orange, but unfortunately it was damaged in the post when sent to my tutor due to still being wet.

‘Sad’ – The least successful print of the four I think, as the background didn’t work out as I had planned. The plan was for a mid-blue plain print with dark blue texture from a tissue paper print, but it ended up just looking like a plain blue background.

‘Angry’ – A bold and powerful image reminiscent of a propaganda advert. The original print had a much denser colour, but was sent off to my tutor whilst the print was still wet and suffered because of this. The replacement print is more mottled, but is an improvement on the damaged print.

‘Fear’ – This would have worked better with a very dense white face, however the white ink will not print much denser than this. The background didn’t work out as it was envisioned, but the red splodges give an equally interesting background as the planned image of dripping blood.

Assessment criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Materials: I have used a variety of papers during this stage. I could have experimented further with more different types of chine collé, but was put off by my unsuccessful attempts using metal leaf.

Techniques: I have used a wide range of techniques for these prints, although I could probably have experimented more with them to see what they had to offer.

Observational skills, Visual awareness & Design and compositional skills: I think my colour and composition choices have all worked well. I could have done more colour experiments in my sketchbook or on test prints before committing to the final prints. Also, whilst I have worked more on the initial designs in my sketchbook, this could be developed further.

Quality of outcome

Content: The prints are all clean and crisp, with good registration for the majority of them.

Application of knowledge: I set out to use as many of the techniques I had learnt in the final prints and think I have achieved this.

Presentation of work in a coherent manner: This blog is the record of my work, with my accompanying sketchbook.

Discernment: Some of the prints for task 1 do not work together as well as they could, and those for task 2 could be more adventurous. I think the composition, choice of materials and application of them works well for my final print series in task 3.

Conceptualisation of thoughts: For task 1 I produced the prints more through intuition and experimentation. In task 2 the prints were thought out more in sketch form and adapted when initial prints were not successful. For task 3 I planned these prints much more before starting work on them. Thought was given to the colours / colour combinations, cutting techniques, texturing and the mono-printed backgrounds.

Communication of ideas: The prints for task 3 were aiming to communicate 4 distinct expressions which I think they do well.

Demonstration of creativity

Imagination: I have produced images with original designs and strong compositions.

Experimentation & Invention: This is evidenced in the work throughout this stage and my use of many different combination techniques in my final prints. I think I have improved in this area, working on designs more and developing ideas in my sketchbook. I chose a challenging concept for my final project and worked through it to produce 4 original and distinctive prints which I think communicate the intended expressions well. I could have been more adventurous with my chine collé materials used in project 14 and my mono prints (particularly the ‘Sad’ background in project 15).

Development of a personal voice: It is hard to assess this as the course requires experimentation on so many different fronts it is hard to develop a personal style at this point. Certain themes keep emerging in my work though, and think they share common attributes.

Context

Reflection: Overall I am pleased with my final prints and my development over the length of the course.

Research: Most of my research has been done whilst experimenting with techniques and materials through this stage of the course. I think I have started to incorporate this a bit better into my work rather than treating it as a separate area.

Critical thinking (learning log): This post and the others through this stage of the course and my sketchbook covers this.

Tutor Feedback

My tutor’s overall comments:

Assignment 5 explores your use of the range of printmaking techniques you have acquired from the previous assignments, with the intention of exploring and expressing your own themes and subjects from which you will make a set of prints for your portfolio.

Overall your prints for assignment 5 have been competed to a good standard. You have rounded up this course displaying a good use of techniques with a desire to tackle some direct themes. Some more rigorous preliminary work and a tackling of one or two of the themes with more directness would have produced some more imaginative responses to your prints.

He also suggested some changes to my reflection notes on the final prints which I have done by amending this post.

Posted in Stage 5 P | 2 Comments

Project 15 – Series of four combination and experimental prints

I enjoyed doing the figure print in Project 10, so I decided to explore this further. To get a series, my thinking was to capture expressions/emotions and use these as a basis for the prints.

Some sketches from life drawing classes which I did with these lino blocks in mind:

P1010819P1010820

It was going to be easy to get “calm”, or “sad” from a life drawing session, but a model wasn’t going to stand in a position of “angry” or “happy”, as it would be too difficult to hold for any length of time. I also realised that the face was going to need to be big enough to see the features to be able to do some expressions.

I decided therefore to do a series of self-portraits with different expressions.

Brainstorming

Angry

  • Red/black

  • all straight lines. Triangles?

  • Slashes of colour?

Calm

  • Light green

  • all sweeping curved lines

  • chine collé?

Sad

  • Light blue/dark blue

  • Curves

  • Dab printing?

Happy

  • Violet? Yellow/orange rainbow rolled

  • Draw in curves/spirals?

  • chine collé?

Thoughtful

Fear

  • ‘Broken glass’ background

  • orange/blue?

  • Dripped red? On yellow with dark blue print

  • Hands in mouth? Mouth open?

  • Print lino twice miss-aligned?

Confused

  • chaotic print

  • scratching head

  • cubism style?

Research

Portrait prints

The use of line for shading works really well in these images by Mark Rowden:

Dark: http://www.wingedlionpress.com.au/Awaiting%20-%20Mark%20Rowden.jpg

Light: http://www.wingedlionpress.com.au/Eyes%20cut%20through%20the%20day.jpg

I could possibly try a dark background print and white linoprint on top using this method?

Or Dirk Hagner’s work:

These two look sad:

http://www.dirkhagnerstudio.com/PRodr1.html

http://www.dirkhagnerstudio.com/PYan.html

I love this one:

http://www.dirkhagnerstudio.com/PSzym.html

Finally Chris Pig does some fantastic portrait work:

I love the atmosphere in this linocut. Maybe try this for the calm print?

http://www.chrispig.com/Linocuts/Lorenzo,-linocut,-11-x-10cm.gif

Confused:

I could try doing this in a cubist style like these:

http://www.johnlindquist.se/pics/paintings/Older/CubistSelfPortrait.jpg

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/futuristic-picasso-inspired-cubism-portraits

I liked this idea, but decided that I didn’t have the time to explore this sufficiently to produce this print. Also, it would result in one print being wildly different from the others which would seem to go against the brief of a series.

Fear:

The bottom left image on this site works well for this – http://www.artofmarina.com/

Print planning

I started out working on ‘Happy’ and ‘Angry’. As it was going to be difficult to pose with a fixed expression, I set up a photo-shoot with myself, resulting in these images and sketches:

Happy1 Angry

P1010821P1010822

Rather than try to paint 20 different options for each expression, I worked on them in Photoshop to establish how to work them with the backgrounds. Some of this process is shown below:

‘Happy’

Happy black cut out colourHappy white cut out colour curved borderHappy white cut out colour

Deciding whether to cut the light or dark areas + border options (curved option decided against)

Happy rainbow rolledHappy with stars

Background image option & texturing

Happy with background 1Happy with background 2

Images using a rainbow rolled print as a background to work out orientation

‘Angry’

angry black on redangry white on blackangry red on black

Deciding whether to cut the light or dark areas

angry red on black eith grey linesangry black on red stripesangry black fragment on red stripes

Background options

angry black fragment on red stripes 2

Final background option

Plate with masking tape used to mask the areas which were not to be printed:

Red lines

Print planning continued

I decided that the other two blocks should be white prints on darker backgrounds, using some of the influences of the research mentioned above. So after mulling over various options for the other 2 prints, I settled on ‘Fear’ and ‘Sad’ and took some more photos and made some more sketches:

Fear photo Sad photo

Sad sketchFear sketch

‘Fear’

For this background, I thought I would try using a background of yellow with thinned red ink splattered on and run down it to look like blood. When I came to do this, the ink was still too thick and when I printed it, the red areas merged into each other a lot, but I still liked the result:

Fear background

Testing the print options on this background:

Fear with backgroundFear with background 2

I changed my mind with this and decided that ‘white’ with fright would be more appropriate and would go better with representing the light areas of the face. I also decided to texture the lino with saw marks:

Fear lino

‘Sad’

Well the colour for this print was going to be blue, but I was struggling to think of how to do the background. A textured option would be easy and would probably work well, but was it interesting enough? Maybe three shades of blue might work, a plain background, followed by a print from tissue paper, followed by the lino print?

Test image:

Sad with backgroundSad with textureSad with texture

For lack of any other inspiration, I went for this idea. I printed a plain medium blue background, then a darker blue tissue paper print. Unfortunately it didn’t provide very much contrast so didn’t quite give the effect I was hoping for.

Prints

‘Happy’ was the first print to be completed in 3 versions:

"Happy" chine collé

“Happy” chine collé

"Happy" plain background

“Happy” plain background

'Happy'

‘Happy’ rainbow rolled

The chine collé print didn’t work as I used insufficient pressure on the edge of the tissue paper. The plain background worked well, but the rainbow rolled version was the best print of the three.

Unfortunately this print was damaged due to being posted to my tutor whilst the ink was still wet:

P1020051

The replacement print didn’t have quite as good ink coverage and was rainbow rolled red – yellow which didn’t work quite as well as the orange – yellow:

'Happy'

‘Happy’

‘Fear’ was the next to be finished. I was really pleased with the background so I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would work out well. The white didn’t print as dense I had hoped and the textured surface didn’t show up very much. I also got a grey line around the print from the black pen I used to draw the design on the lino. Despite all these changes, I am really pleased with the result:

'Fear'

‘Fear’

I did try this print again to see if I could improve on the saw marks. However, I needed so much ink on the lino to get a dense white print that making these deeper did not have much effect as the ink filled them in:

P1020050P1020049

Next came ‘Sad’, a couple of versions which didn’t work fully:

P1010864P1010867

And one which did:

'Sad'

‘Sad’

And last but not least, ‘Angry’:

'Anger'

‘Anger’

This print was also damaged due to being sent to my tutor whilst still wet:

P1020052

The replacement print is not quite as dense a colour, but a definite improvement on the damaged print:

'Anger'

‘Anger’

Overall I am very happy with the results of these prints.

Posted in Stage 5 P | Leave a comment

Project 14 – Combination printmaking and chine collé

Research point

I looked for some examples of good use of chine collé in printmaking.

I started out looking through the printmakers council website, but with little success, although Sarah Garvey’s print ‘TANGLED UP IN BLUE’ monoprint and chine colle’ which I had looked at before did stand out again.

http://printmakerscouncil.com/ArtistsPages/Sarah%20Garvey.html

Looking further I found the following print from ‘DawnR@6’ (real name unknown) which makes good use of chine collé:

http://www.clothpaperscissors.com/media/p/8654.aspx

Then I came across Cybèle Young who does some very interesting work. These two prints in particular worked well for me due to their simplicity:

http://www.cybeleyoung.ca/prints_files/Are-You-Finisher-with-That-.jpg

http://www.cybeleyoung.ca/prints_files/Shirt-with-Hangers.jpg

Then some work of Nicki Dennett whose website doesn’t allow links to individual images, but a number of the prints in this gallery use chine collé:

http://www.nickidennett.co.uk/memories.html

And finally another artist Liz Toole who uses simple single colour chine collé to good effect:

http://www.liztoole.co.uk/gallery/linocuts

Prints

As with some of the prints looked at in the research, I thought I would try adding colour to an existing print. So I started with my small single colour linocut of a man at Kilnsey Show from project 6:

Man print

I cut tissue paper in blue for the sky and green for the grass, inked up the block and added the tissue paper, pasted it and printed. Result = tissue paper very well stuck to the lino block! That was with diluted PVA, so I tried again with the cornflour paste. Same result! I’m guessing the problem was that I was applying it to too dense an area of ink and the stickiness of the ink was stronger than the glue.

The only other option I could see was to add the tissue paper to an un-inked block, print, then print over with the ink.

I tried this with some success:

 

'Kilnsey Show'

‘Kilnsey Show’

This worked on the thicker paper, but gluing the tissue paper to the very thin Hosho paper distorted the paper too much.

At the same time as trying the failed attempt of the above print, I tried the opposite – applying the tissue paper to an area which wasn’t inked at all. My idea for the design of this print came from a quote from an anonymous poem by the Mapuche tribe in Chile – “in this soil dwell the stars”. I sketched out a triptych, initially having the words on the first and last blocks. Then drew in shooting stars in the sky area, rounding them off as they looked odd, then gradually changing them into seeds which looked better and fitted in well with the phrase.

The idea for the first block was to cut out the words, use a stencil to ink up the bottom half in brown, then add tissue paper and metal leaf and print. Result = tissue paper not stuck down. My start in chine collé was not going well!

P1010512P1010511

So, I came to the conclusion that (as detailed in the course notes), there needed to be a background colour to give the tissue paper something to adhere to. Then the print over the top of the tissue paper needed to have something there, but not too dense an area of ink (as was the case with the last stage of the reduction cut lino used in the course notes example). So I modified the design of my block and tried again.

First I printed a light grey background using the uncut block. Then I tried two methods:

1) Adding the tissue paper to an un-inked block, pressing onto the paper, letting it dry, then overprinting

Prints009P1010662

This one worked OK

P1010661

A full covering of tissue paper also worked, although maybe it should have gone wider to provide a border?

Prints010P1010663

In this one the line between the tissue paper and the printed area doesn’t line up very well. Maybe best to leave an overlap?

Prints008P1010658

Adding metal leaf was a disaster! It took me three attempts to get the metal leaf to stick to the paper in the first place as it was so fragile and hard to place. In the end, the only way I could get it onto the paper was to stick a larger area of leaf to the paper first (you can see this under the tissue paper), then add the tissue paper surround afterwards.

When I came to print it though, the ink pulled the metal leaf from the paper. Arghh!!

2) Inking up the cut block, laying over the tissue paper and printing

P1010659P1010660

This worked better than the same design glued to the paper first as it lines up better and having much less ink on the tissue paper meant that it stuck to the paper and not to the block this time.

More experiments with metal leaf

I tried out some different types of glue with metal leaf, figuring that as it was almost impossible to cut and place it accurately, I would draw the shape on the paper, paste the paper and stick the metal leaf to it.

Nori

Nori

PVA

PVA

Size

Size

The size gave the best and flattest adhesion to the paper, but it did colour the paper which was then visible in the areas where the metal leaf did not stick – a second coat and re-application of metal leaf might solve this though? PVA was the best at giving a more even coverage.

The final results – not quite as much of a disaster as before, but not a success either:

Nori print

Nori print

PVA print

PVA print

Size print

Size print

Well I tried, but I think I will leave my experiments with metal leaf there!

Final prints (without metal leaf!):

P1010805

P1010806

Final? Well it works, but it has become rather boring now. Thinking back to the research and how some of the artists had used roughly cut shapes to add splashes of colour, I decided that adding colour to the seeds might work better and had one last go:

'In this soil'

‘In this soil’

I also tried a couple of other prints using chine collé. First of all I cut a lino block of a close up (imagined) map which I planned to print on top of a wider map view from a road atlas. The second block was an outline of corn which I planned to print in front of a rainbow rolled sunset with tissue paper sun:

CornP1010808

For the map print:

P1010818

After printing the first of these, I realised that I should have left a border around the edge, so I tried to get ink into the cut areas to give a better block feel:

'Inset map'

‘Inset map’

And for the corn print:

'Cornfield sunset'

‘Cornfield sunset’

P1010815

I also thought I’d try some different corn prints using an orange background and yellow / pinkish red tissue paper on top:

P1010813P1010812

There is obviously plenty of room to play around with this printmaking method, but I must move on to the final project before my 2 year deadline runs out!

Posted in Stage 5 P | Leave a comment

Project 13 – Combination mono and linoprint

I decided to explore abstract images in this project as I had not done much in this area so far on the course.

I started out with some sketchs of shapes, which developed into this drawing:

P1010811

I tried a few colour combinations in my sketchbook, but the only one which seemed to work well was the green on a yellow-red rainbow background:

P1010809P1010810

I decided I would experiment further with colours when it came to printing.

Mono print backgrounds used:

  • Rainbow rolling

  • Scrunched tissue paper

  • Masked print

  • Ribbons pressed in

  • Painted background

With the lino, I either printed a single colour or rainbow rolled the lino block.

The results:

P1010792P1010793P1010794P1010795P1010796P1010797P1010798P1010802P1010803

With the three chosen for the assignment submission:

P1010799P1010800P1010801

Posted in Stage 5 P | Leave a comment

Land Art research continued

Yorkshire Sculpture Park exhibition – Uncommon Ground : Land Art in Britain 1966-1979

My overall impression of this exhibition was that it was very 70’s! Making pictures by burning card with a magnifying glass for 5 hours (Roger Acking “Five hour cloud drawing, 1980”), filming the lighting of fires in grids (Anthony McCall “Landscape for fire, 1972”), photographs on walks (Richard Long & Hamish Fulton), etc. It would be interesting to know how many of these artists are continuing with similar work today or whether they have moved into new fields.

Andy Goldworthy’s images (e.g. “snowball, 1979”, “Black (soil covered) snowball, 1979” or “Forked Twigs in Water – Bentham, 1979”) are very distinctive and obviously his work. Whilst they do show his style, they do seem less perfected / beautifully photographed than his later work.

Tony Cray “New Stones – Newton’s Tones, 1978” is a surprisingly beautiful work given that it is made out of plastic debris, but the colour arrangement (in the approximate sequence of colours in the spectrum of white light) and the arrangement of the items in a perfect rectangle make the piece work well. He is also making an obvious statement of ecological concern by using plastic rubbish sources from along the banks of the Rhine neat to his home.

I also particularly liked John Hillard’s “Across the Park, 1972” which is a series of 8 photographs framed in pairs one above the other. The top photograph of each pair is the same section of a photograph of a man walking, the bottom photograph of the pair reveals more of the scene below, to the right, above and to the left of the man. The overall effect of which was very clever and brought a smile to my lips!

Posted in Gallery Visits, Stage 5 P | Leave a comment

Assignment 4 – Collatype collage block prints

Assignment 4 asks for a selection of prints from projects 11-12.

Contents of my submission

Task 1 (Project 11)

Collage test plate

Collage test plate

Molding paste plate print

Molding paste plate print

2 prints of textured collage test block

Critical Statement

Choice of subject and colours

These test collage blocks were done after experimenting with larger blocks and hand rubbing the impression using a wooden spoon which was found to not be very effective. Working with a smaller block and concentrating on very low relief items, I was able to get a good impression using a small hydraulic press.

The block using different textured objects was inked up in green with a paintbrush to get into all the crevices, wiped off and then re-inked in orange. This combination gives a nice effect to the print.

The collage items used were:

  1. Hole reinforcers
  2. Parcel tape
  3. Star, circle and square stickers
  4. Scrim
  5. Plasterboard tape
  6. String
  7. Onion and fennel seeds
  8. Textured wallpaper
  9. Sandpaper
  10. Textured wallpaper
  11. Carbundrum
  12. Textured wallpaper
  13. Ribbon
  14. Metal foil
  15. Tissue paper

The textured surface block that worked best was the one using acrylic gel medium molding paste. This was inked up by dab printing in green and purple. The marks made give a strong differentiation between the raised inked and the low un-inked surfaces.

Outcome

Two clean prints of test collage blocks, showing the impressions of some interesting textures and methods of inking the blocks which have the potential to represent many different things going forwards to the representational print in project 12.

Task 2 (Project 12)

Grey map print

Grey map print

Coloured map print

Coloured map print

Trees print

Trees print

3 prints of representational themed collage block

Critical Statement

Choice of subject and colours

Map block

The map based block is a progression from using maps in some of my earlier prints. I chose an area where there are many interesting features which I thought would translate well into a print and created the block through sketching on site, simplifying and making up areas.

Collage items were chosen for their textures and ability to represent the features on the aerial view of the landscape.

Grey was chosen for the single colour print in the same way as a black and white map. For the coloured block, the colours were chosen to represent the features.

Trees block

This was chosen as a subject because I thought the textures used in my test block looked like tree bark and various types of vegetation. I collected materials from the woodland featured in the map block and tried to use some of this in the prints.

Colours were again chosen to match the objects they were aiming to represent.

Prints chosen:

  1. Grey map print: inked up and rubbed off in places before printing. I think this is the best print from this block, although whether you can tell what it represents without the colour is another matter. Printed on Saunders Waterford paper.
  2. Coloured map print: All over brown print, rubbed off in places. Followed by a green print with the river ink rubbed off, followed by a blue print with the land masked out. There is a slight registration error on this print and the green ink would have worked better being rubbed off partially in the trees. The masking has also produced white lines separating the ground and river which detracts from the print. Printed on Saunders Waterford paper.
  3. Trees print: selectively inked in green and brown. These colours aren’t that different which works quite well and almost gives a monochrome image. Printed on an unknown make of watercolour paper.

Outcome

Two prints I am quite happy with and one which is the best of the rest. I struggled to get the collage blocks to print very well, even with my hydraulic press and I think an etching press is a must for this type of work.

Assessment criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

I think the design and composition of my prints work well, but the translation into colour with the map block hasn’t worked very well.

My image registration is not perfect where it was used on the three colour block, but the main problem I had was in getting good ink coverage.

Quality of outcome

I am pleased with the grey map and tree prints, but not with the coloured map print. I think this print could have worked using selective inking, but only using an etching press to get sufficient pressure.

Demonstration of creativity

I am happy with the subjects chosen which I think both work well in this medium. I could have perhaps been more adventurous with the textures used, using more different textures to represent the landscape features and a different, more interesting texture for the top background of the tree print and more variety in the tree trunks.

Context

I think I have mostly made the right decisions in composition and materials for what I was planning to achieve and overall I am moderately pleased with these prints, especially considering the difficulties I have experienced in getting a good print. I am looking forward to returning to lino though!

All my background work for this assignment is in this blog and sketchbook.

Tutor Feedback

My tutor’s overall comments:

Assignment 4 explores the new techniques involved in Collatype printing, experimenting with collaged materials to create a textured surface for printing from. Overall your prints for assignment 4 show a good sense of experimenting with materials in order to make your collage blocks. Some struggling with print pressure has shown your ingenuity in making your own press! More development of ideas in your sketchbook would help to expand the compositions possibilities as you approach the final print.

Suggestions to take forward:

Sketchbook work

  • much more rigorous drawing in my sketchbook, getting into an idea for a print, developing the subject and experimenting with the composition and colours.

Research

  • pick out one or two examples of work in the next project, write a short paragraph on what elements of the print might inspire your own development.
  • look at the surrealist artist Max Ernst collage prints, to see how you can use texture to marry powerful ideas with experimental print techniques.
Posted in Stage 4 P | Leave a comment

Project 12 – Collatype collage prints

Map collage print

The aim with this project is to produce a representation image. I decided to continue my work with maps and produce an aerial view of a section of river and woods near my home. Conscious of my tutor’s advice to not rely on photographs, I went out to sketch this area instead of using an existing map.

Sketches001 Sketches002 Sketches003 Sketches004

Because this was sketched rather than from an actual map, I have simplified and adjusted shapes/lines to make a pleasing composition rather than trying to achieve an accurate representation of the features on the ground. Using a map format will allow me to simplify the features and reduce the detail to what is possible with collage prints.

I need to use a range of textures, but the colouring is going to be pretty much fixed as close to the actual colours of the landscape features, otherwise it is likely to end up unrecognisable as what it supposed to represent, which would go against the idea of a representation image. In some ways that is going to preclude me going for “bold and adventurous” too much with this print.

P1010614

I thought I would try making up a block on card, cutting it to give the two green areas either side of the river, and the river separate. I could then ink up the blocks separately, place them together and print from them.

Map plate 1

Using two types of wallpaper, sandpaper, seeds, tissue paper, scrim and acrylic gel

P1010609

Well, the theory may have been OK, but in practice, the blocks were curved (probably due to the varnish on one side?) so they didn’t sit flat together which made it a bit tricky. It mostly printed OK, although the blue of the river didn’t come out very clearly at the top. The main problem was that the wallpaper representing the trees, didn’t look like trees!

Prints001

So, a rethink back to a single block and using circles cut out of handmade paper for the trees:

Map plate 2

Using wallpaper, sandpaper, seeds, scrim, acrylic gel and handmade paper

I tried a number of different inking methods:

Single colour:

Prints002

I used grey ink and wiped it away in areas such as the river. This print was the one which actually worked best of all I thought.

Using masks:

P1010606 P1010613

Prints003

In terms of using colour, this was probably the most successful attempt. Printed in brown wiped off, then green with river wiped off, then blue with the ground masked off. Unfortunately there are the characteristic white outlines which I got when using masks earlier in the course.

Selective inking:

P1010601 P1010603

Prints007

Unfortunately the colour hasn’t come out very dense in this print, but this is the second most successful colour print and probably could have worked.

Multiple colours:

P1010607

Prints006

This is a print in brown followed by a print in green, but it unfortunately just looks like sludge!

Whilst the course notes suggested trying rainbow rolling, I didn’t do this for this print as I didn’t think it would work well with my subject.

Woodland scene print

I also tried a couple of blocks showing a woodland scene:

P1010616

Block 1:

Woodland plate 1

Using two different wallpapers, sandpaper, seeds, pine needles, ferns and leaves.

Block 2:

Woodland plate 2

Using two different wallpapers, bark, sandpaper, seeds, pine needles, tissue paper and scrim.

I printed these using selective inking and also multiple prints using masks:

P1010600 P1010611 P1010612

Prints004 Prints005

The block without leaves gave the best print using selective inking. The block with leaves shown here was printed in three colours using masks. The masks worked better in this case than with the map, but the red used for the leaves hasn’t really shown up. Also, the path hasn’t printed which makes for an incomplete print.

Overall

I had limited success with these collage block prints. Mainly I think this was due to the lack of an etching press to give sufficient pressure on the print. At a preview the other day I had a photographic exhibition preview next to Annwyn Dean at Farfield Mill and talking to her about her collagraphs, she thought it was essential to use an etching press. The hydraulic press I was using worked much better than a wooden spoon could manage, but it still wasn’t sufficient for the job. I think the pressure isn’t even across the block either as some of the edges haven’t come out very well.

P1010617

After having the test prints buckle a bit, I dried out these prints by taping them to the desk which seemed to work well.

P1010619

Posted in Stage 4 P | Leave a comment

Land Art research

Robert Smithson

I had a brief look at Robert Smithson’s work after being recommended to look at him by my tutor. On my first trawl through the internet, I found some interesting land art, but nothing which moved me. Pieces like “spiral jetty” and “broken circle” are seriously impressive feats of engineering, but it is hard to get a proper impression of them from a small photograph on the screen.

I have a couple of books on the work of Richard Long and Andy Goldsworthy, so I decided to investigate their work instead.

Richard Long

My sister bought me “Richard Long: Heaven and Earth” back in 2009 and, apart from a skim through, I hadn’t really engaged with it before now. From reading the introduction, I could tell that this was an artist I could connect to, as he shared the same interests as me – walking and “playing” in the landscape.

His early work “A Line Made by Walking 1967” is a striking image and an idea he continued to use through his career. Overall, it seems to me that he likes to play, with work such as “From Uncertainty to Certainty 1998” where he walked in the manner described by a word on a pebble randomly picked out of a bag. I like that!

That got me thinking – where is the boundary between “playing” in the landscape and art? Is there one?

I used to play more in the landscape, but haven’t of late.

IMG_0013 IMG_0026

My focus with photography up until now has been on “pure” landscapes, with “playing” done for playing’s sake, not to record. In an interesting coincidence, on my honeymoon in Harris seven years ago I took this image of a standing stone:

Harris

There were shells around the base of the stone which I cleaned up before taking the image. After taking it, my wife and I arranged them in a pattern. Along came another photographer (who happens to live close to us) who took the image of the stone with the shells we had arranged at its base:

Image by Tristan Campbell

Result = 2 very different images!

Reading more about Richard Long, it is interesting to note in one of his artist statements that he considers his art to be the essence of his experience. In that case, what makes his experience of a walk any different to mine or anyone else’s? Only that he calls himself an artist?

Andy Goldsworthy

Looking through the book “Wall: Andy Goldsworthy”, I was struck by the similarities between his work and Richard Long’s in the way he works with natural materials and his connection with the landscape, but also by the differences in presentation of the work. Richard Long’s photographs are more records of the art work than works of art in themselves. Andy Goldsworthy’s photographs are more considered and works of art in themselves.

In the way that research takes you, off on tangents, I went looking for an image of the fleece Jan Hicks made on the side of Wild Boar Fell (I included her in my photography book ‘Working the View’). I failed to find an image of the final piece, only work in progress images, but it led me to Steve Messam with whom she did this work with.

Steve Messam

He has some very interesting blogs on his work and the work of others. I will definitely explore his work further. Interestingly, in one of his blogs, “Behold“, he describes how he sets out to make work that is beautiful, echoing my thoughts on art, but written much more eloquently.

And in the way of web searching, some other land artists I came across who deserve further investigation:

I noticed that there is an exhibition of Land Art at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, so I hope to get to this and experience some of these works in the flesh.

I’m not sure if any of this research has given me any ideas for printmaking yet, but it has given me much food for thought, and a lot more to research. I can see a lot of potential in the land art movement and since my ‘Working the View’ project, I have been looking for a new direction in which to take my photography. This could be it!

This research blog is a bit sketchy, but will be something I will definitely return to.

Sources:

Robert Smithson website: http://www.robertsmithson.com

Tate: http://www.tate.org.uk

Steve Messam: http://www.stevemessam.co.uk

Kate Raggett: http://www.kateraggett.com

Everton Wright: http://www.evewright.com

Yorkshire Sculpture Park: http://www.ysp.co.uk

Richard Long: Heaven and Earth. Clarrie Wallis. Tate Publishing, 2009

Wall. Andy Goldsworthy and Jerry L. Thompson. Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2000

Posted in Stage 4 P | Leave a comment

Project 11 – Making a test collage block

Research point

Well the course notes say to search online for examples of collographs/collatypes. I tried that and got lots of other OCA posts, including this one http://movedbybreath.com/printmaking/assignment-4-project-12-researching-collagraphcollatype-printing/ which says that she found just the same problem. I also found this post http://www.thenextfewhours.com/KH/?p=471 on “the problems with collographs” which made interesting reading (and persuaded me not to use a corrugated cardboard base).

Back to trying to find artists using this method.

Fortunately I am already familiar with a few, so I will concentrate on their work.

Emily Harvey

Different materials:

http://www.emilyharvey.co.uk/photo_7136321.html

Plate made from a real cobweb – how on earth you manage to do this, I’m not sure!

http://www.emilyharvey.co.uk/photo_7620897.html#photos_id=7136556

Plate made from impressing fish into cement + carving

http://www.emilyharvey.co.uk/photo_7620897.html#photos_id=11949990

Chicken wire, wood and something else

http://www.emilyharvey.co.uk/photo_7136114.html#photos_id=7562900

Fabric

http://www.emilyharvey.co.uk/photo_8234436.html#photos_id=8234738

Braille, wallpaper and ferns

Prints I really like:

http://www.emilyharvey.co.uk/photo_11148702.html#photos_id=7136747

Seed splitting

http://www.emilyharvey.co.uk/photo_7136114.html#photos_id=12506490

Great colours and I like the division of the image into sections

Annwyn Dean

The images on her website don’t do her work justice and I can only find small images there to link to, so will just post the link to her gallery:

http://www.pagepaperstitch.co.uk/page3.htm

Obvious collograph elements in her work are hole reinforcers and material

Hester Cox

http://www.hestercox.com/photo_1754547.html

Collograph and carborundum print. Apart from the feather, it is not clear what she has used in this print.

http://www.hestercox.com/photo_1754547.html#photos_id=1754560

Wallpaper?

http://www.hestercox.com/photo_1754547.html#photos_id=1754535

Sand and sea are some kind of texture, I think the feet here might be cut out of the sand plate as the ink is darkest around the edges and will have been rubbed away in the centre bits.

http://www.hestercox.com/photo_8928967.html

Not sure what a “plaster plate” is, but these look like collographs to me.

http://www.hestercox.com/photo_8928967.html#photos_id=8929109

The twisted wire/string(?) works well here.

http://www.hestercox.com/photo_1771007.html#photos_id=1771022

I love the colours on this one.

Others

Additional ideas from online searching:

http://www.printgarden.co.uk/id3.html

Use of sandpaper for tones

From the book “Collagraphs and Mixed-Media Printmaking, Brenda Hartill and Richard Clarke. A&C Black, 2004”, the following artists also caught my attention:

Lesley Davy

Uses acrylic gesso sanded.

Also uses multiple plates placed together, with a newsprint stencil over the top which isolates the colour, but retains the texture embossing through the paper.

Peter Ford

Uses broken plates of plywood to create interesting effects.

Trevor Price

Uses car filler on metal plates, textured (or polyfiller and PVA glue mix).

Sources:

http://www.emilyharvey.co.uk

http://www.pagepaperstitch.co.uk

http://www.hestercox.com

http://www.printgarden.co.uk

Collagraphs and Mixed-Media Printmaking, Brenda Hartill and Richard Clarke. A&C Black, 2004

Test collage block

Rather than create one collage block divided into 16 sections, I created two smaller ones as I had two pieces of thick card this size which were offcuts from mounted photographs. I divided the first into 11 sections, the second into 8 sections.

Collograph1 Collograph2

  1. Dried skeleton leaf
  2. Foil stars / circles and circle cut-outs
  3. Ribbon string
  4. Thick holey ribbon
  5. Metal mesh and textured sheet
  6. Paperclips
  7. Nails
  8. Bandage
  9. Hole re-inforcers and stickers
  10. Washers and key
  11. Plasterboard tape
  12. Parcel tape
  13. Acrylic gel medium molding paste
  14. Handmade paper
  15. Cut into the cardboard
  16. Acrylic gel medium molding paste
  17. Thick string
  18. 3 grades of carbundrum
  19. Ribbons

I sealed the blocks with 3 coats of shellac varnish.

First prints

I soaked some watercolour paper and used some linseed reducing jelly to loosen up some red ink and then tried inking up.

The first think noticed was that high textures next to low ones didn’t work well and made it difficult to get ink onto the lower levels.

Working around that, the next issue was of how to get a print off. The block was irregular heights and the paper wanted to keep slipping off. I was hoping to use my homemade hydraulic press as I doubted I would be able to get a very decent print off by hand rubbing, however, the paper moved around so much I thought I would just get a set of smudged ink marks. So I concentrated on hand rubbing to start with.

For any other OCA students reading this, some tips on materials not to use:

  • Wire mesh – the ends come lose and are pretty lethal
  • Nails – the flat ends have sharp points which then poke through the paper as you rub onto it

My next thought is whether I have made the block too shiny by applying 3 coats of shellac varnish and that is why the paper slides around so much? I am used to the paper sticking to the printing block and allowing some movement of the block and paper without it coming lose, but this wasn’t happing in this case. Or maybe I had added too much linseed reducing jelly and the ink wasn’t sticky enough?

The results were not great:

P1010514 P1010516 P1010517

P1010515 P1010513

After giving up in disgust at that point, I went back to it on another day determined to get it this time. Outcome = same result!

P1010506 P1010505

So, I decided to give up on hand rubbing and create a new smaller block (which would fit in my press), with only low level textures.

Collograph plate 3

This was stuck onto a plastic ex-display panel which was around A4 in size.

The moment of truth……

P1010507 P1010508

Much better! The press seems to be critical in this process and I will continue with using a smaller size block for this stage.

A block painted with green ink so that it got in all the crevices, rubbed off and then re-inked using a roller with orange – I like the effect this has given:

P1010509 P1010510

Experimental collatype – printing from a textured surface

So, having found the right size block and printing method, it was onto producing a texture block. I tried two methods for this on different blocks, one using polyfiller and the other using acrylic gel medium molding paste. I drew into them with cocktail sticks, bamboo skewers and pieces of card cut into various shapes:

Polyfiller plate

Polyfiller plate

Gel medium plate

Gel medium plate

Prints:

Polyfiller plate print

Polyfiller plate print

Molding paste plate print

Molding paste plate print

The molding paste block worked much better than the polyfiller (possibly because I had problems drying the polyfiller (mainly due to applying to a plastic base and leaving in a cold workshop!), so it was a much rougher surface.

Posted in Stage 4 P | Leave a comment

Assignment 3 – Developing Relief Prints

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

reduction002reduction001

Critical Statement

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.

Prints chosen:

  1. 5 colour reduction method linoprint on Arches Velin paper
  2. 5 colour reduction method linoprint on Hosho Japanese paper

Outcome

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

P1010418

Critical Statement

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.

Outcome

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

Two etched lino blocks at angles to each other

Two etched lino blocks at angles to each other

Rainbow rolled texture block - My favourite print

Rainbow rolled texture block – My favourite print

Dab printed figure in yellow and red using a template

Dab printed figure in yellow and red using a template

Critical Statement

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.

Prints chosen:

  1. Purple/Black lino cut figure on a background of an etched lino block printed twice in brown on an unknown Asian paper.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Outcome

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.

Assessment criteria

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.

Context

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.

Tutor Feedback

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

Printing

  • Allow intuition within the process and don’t stick rigidly to a pre-conceived idea

Research

  • 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

Posted in Stage 3 P | Leave a comment

Project 10 Experimental relief prints

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!

Initial Ideas

“Lost” items

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.

Glove

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.

Others

Moss patches on a tree trunk with ants crawling up it.

Rock strata using different textures and fossils using screwdriver heads

Check

Were any of the above ideas bold and adventurous? Probably not! Maybe some more thinking is required.

Research point

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:

Laura Boswell

http://printmakerscouncil.com/ArtistsPages/Laura%20Boswell.html

I particularly like:

“Bird Dance Cliffs”,  combination woodblock and linocut

The sweeping lines in the sky, sea and cliffs work really well as a background to the image

“Late Summer, Horses”, linocut

The way the image has been printed to go outside of border is very effective in this print.

Pauline Bradley

http://printmakerscouncil.com/ArtistsPages/Pauline%20Bradley.html

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.

Steve Edwards

http://printmakerscouncil.com/ArtistsPages/Steve%20Edwards.html

I particularly like:

Historia II, etched and cut lino

Historia III, etched and cut lino

City – east, etched and cut lino

There are some great textures in the skies in these prints from etching the lino – a technique I would like to try.

Sarah Garvey

http://printmakerscouncil.com/ArtistsPages/Sarah%20Garvey.html

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.

Michael Kennedy

http://printmakerscouncil.com/ArtistsPages/Michel%20Kennedy.html

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.

Michael Atkin

http://printmakerscouncil.com/ArtistsPages/Michael%20Atkin.html

“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?!

Project method

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).

Figure block

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:

Figure drawing full

In scanning in the drawing for this blog, I decided that it actually looked better cropped to A4, so went for this layout:

Figure drawing cropped

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).

P1010433IMG_5325

Texture block

For this I tried a few different things:

  1. Saw marks – randomly applied similar to my experiments in project 9
  2. 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:

  1. Stencil:
    1. 1st colour with a figure stencil used
    2. 2nd colour without the stencil
  2. Dab printing different colours

Etching lino

The best notes on this I could find on the web, were these two pages:

http://jennyzigzag.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/venus-and-lino-etching-experiment.html

http://printmakingart.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/etching-linoleum-with-caustic-soda.html

I initially tried this on three blocks:

P1010427

2 hessian backed lino blocks, one with oil pastel lines on it, one with candle wax dripped on it.

P1010428

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.

P1010430P1010453P1010454

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:

P1010451

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:

P1010462

Textures

I used a saw to texture one hessian backed lino block:

P1010429P1010452

As the etching didn’t work on my easy cut block, I washed it off and applied some textures instead:

P1010431

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.

Background Prints

So, I have ended up with a number of different backgrounds.

1/2 size blocks:

P1010456

Using 3 different blocks

Full size blocks:

P1010455P1010457P1010458P1010459P1010460P1010461P1010462

Various combinations including rainbow rolling, dab printing and the use of stencils

Finished Prints

I added the figure outline in purple, black and red ink depending on the background and ended up with these prints:

Two etched lino blocks at angles to each other. Red figure print over the top which doesn't show up very well

Two etched lino blocks at angles to each other. Red figure print over the top which doesn’t show up very well

Stencil used on textured block. Unfortunately this ended up too close to the edge of the paper

Stencil used on textured block. Unfortunately this ended up too close to the edge of the paper

Two sawn lino blocks at angles to each other. Red figure print over the top which doesn't show up very well

Two sawn lino blocks at angles to each other. Red figure print over the top which doesn’t show up very well

Dab printed figure in yellow and red using a template

Dab printed figure in yellow and red using a template

Full yellow print of texture block, then stencil used with orange block - no registration used though, so not aligned correctly

Full yellow print of texture block, then stencil used with orange block – no registration used though, so not aligned correctly

Rainbow rolled texture block - My favourite print

Rainbow rolled texture block – My favourite print

Two etched lino blocks at angles to each other

Two etched lino blocks at angles to each other

Two etched lino blocks at angles to each other

Two etched lino blocks at angles to each other

Dab printed figure in yellow and red using a template

Dab printed figure in yellow and red using a template

IMG_5315

Textured block with an outline left after using with a stencil and the figure block offset from this so as not to obscure it.

Textured block with an outline left after using with a stencil and the figure block offset from this so as not to obscure it.

IMG_5313

Textured block with an outline left after using with a stencil and the figure block offset from this so as not to obscure it.

Textured block with an outline left after using with a stencil and the figure block offset from this so as not to obscure it.

Outcome

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:

  1. The print using stencils should have been registered to ensure it was aligned correctly.
  2. The print which almost went off the paper should have been aligned correctly.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. I think the full size background works better than the half size ones as these cut the figure in two.
  6. I have got too much ink on the bolder dab print which is a shame because I really like this effect.
  7. 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.

Further ideas

  • 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
Posted in Stage 3 P | Leave a comment

Project 9 Experimental mark making on lino

Preparation

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:

P1010319

Working left to right from top row to bottom row, I had:

  1. Rhenalon plate, glues onto cardboard
  2. Left over flooring lino
  3. Easy cut lino blocks (ones which I have been using so far)
  4. Asian plywood
  5. Harder lino blocks
  6. Funky foam stuck onto cardboard

And a frame for printing them (floor lino strips):

P1010320

Tools

Tools used to make marks:

  • Abig Etching Needles
  • Pyrographer
  • Bread knife
  • Saw
  • Hole punch
  • Rasp
  • Screws
  • Fork
  • Car hair brush
  • Cookie cutter
  • Pliers
  • Wire wool
  • Staple remover
  • Lemon zester
  • Chicken wire

Experimentation

First of all, I tried different tools on individual squares and then printed 9 of them in the frame I had made:

P1010417

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:

P1010416

But this would probably work better creating a grid on one piece.

I then decided to print the small blocks separately:

P1010406

Wood

P1010410

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.

Overall

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?

Lino

P1010411

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?

P1010415

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?

Funky Foam

P1010412

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.

P1010413

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.

Overall

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?

Rhenalon plate

P1010414

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.

Experimentation continued

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
  • Rasp

I produced marks on lino, funky foam and Rhenalon plate.

Rhenalon plate

P1010420

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.

Funky foam

P1010421

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.

Lino

P1010418

This was more like it. The marks all worked well on this and the two colours merging together made a nice print.

P1010418 with areas

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.

Posted in Stage 3 P | Leave a comment

Project 8 Reduction method linocutting

Experiments

I started out with a playing card sized reduction linocut as a quick experiment:

Sketchbook001

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):

Sketchbook002

First two colours:

Sketchbook003

Because the ink was still wet, this has created a great mottled texture which I must try again.

Second two colours:

Sketchbook004

The final prints:

Sketchbook005

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:

Sketchbook006Sketchbook007

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:

Sketchbook012

(again modified during the printing process)

My best print:

Sketchbook013

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:

Sketchbook021

(with modifications before and during printing)

My best prints on thicker paper:

reduction003reduction002

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:

reduction001

I think the subtle colours work well on these prints and I have managed to register them quite well, although not perfectly.

Further development

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:

Sketchbook018

Sketch for a print of an iron age spearhead over a map of the cave in which is was found:

Sketchbook019

Review

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.

Research point

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?

Clare Curtis

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

http://clarecurtis.co.uk/?attachment_id=167

http://clarecurtis.co.uk/?attachment_id=138

or different elements merged into one print

http://clarecurtis.co.uk/project/woodland-coppicing/coppicing-lg/

http://clarecurtis.co.uk/?attachment_id=133

http://clarecurtis.co.uk/?attachment_id=140

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:

http://clarecurtis.co.uk/?attachment_id=123

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.

Mark Hearld

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.

http://www.stjudesprints.co.uk/collections/mark-hearld/products/feste-dog

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.

http://www.stjudesprints.co.uk/collections/mark-hearld/products/tollie-dog

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.

http://www.stjudesprints.co.uk/collections/mark-hearld/products/flowers

Again, the cut marks emphasise the design, leaving lines towards the centre of the flowers

http://www.stjudesprints.co.uk/collections/mark-hearld/products/rooster

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.

http://shop.tate.org.uk/mark-hearld-limited-edition-print/invt/10950&bklist=icat,4,shop,designedfortate,markhearld

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.

Posted in Stage 3 P, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Assignment 2 – First Relief Prints

Assignment 2 asks for a selection of prints from projects 5-7.

Contents of my submission

Task 1

2 prints of my lino test cuts

Lino001Lino013

Task 2

3 single colour linocut prints (1 initial print on sugar paper & 2 of the final cut on Arches Velin 160iw and Hosho paper)

Lino014Scene print 3

1 additional linocut print (on Somerset newsprint 250gsm)

Man print

Task 3

Multi-block linocut prints (Hosho paper – dense print)

Three colour dense

Multi-block linocut prints (BKF Rivers 280gsm paper – mid dense print)

Three colour mid

Multi-block linocut prints (Somerset newsprint 250gsm paper – grainy print)

Three colour grainy

This last one suffers from incorrect registration of the red ink, but I like the grainy effect of the print. I had a better registered print on cartridge paper, but the black ink is refusing to dry!

Green linocut print

Green print 2

Red linocut print

Red print

Black linocut print

Black print

Assessment criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

I think all the prints have come out well. There are some areas which could be improved on the multi-block prints, but more in the cutting of the blocks than with the registration when printing (although I did get registration problems on the Somerset newsprint print with the red ink). I also got some ink on the edges of the Hosho print which I found difficult to place on the block because it is such a thin paper.

I am getting a better grip of the printing processes and the difference the papers make, although I still struggle to get the ink coverage equal across the print.

Quality of outcome

I am very pleased with the prints submitted for this assignment. The one I’d do differently if I did it again would be the multi-block print where I’d chose an image which has the three colours throughout the image and I’d learn from my problems of using transparent inks!

Demonstration of creativity

I think I have demonstrated creativity with these prints. Again, the multi-block print is the one which could be improved in this respect as this print doesn’t have as many different textures / lines.

Context

All my background work for this assignment is in this blog and for my next assignment I need to concentrate on producing a good accompanying sketchbook and also reviewing other artists work.

Tutor Feedback

Feedback from this assignment is that whilst the prints are to a good standard, I have not developed my ideas far from their original source resulting in a drop in standard from my first assignment. Due to other commitments whilst carrying out this work it is very true that I have not been focussed enough on making the best work I can for this assignment.

My tutor encourages me to take more risks with my subject and working processes to help me to develop my creative and imaginative skills. I should develop my ideas further, experiment with altering colours / adding patterns / etc.

I also failed to include a sketchbook for my assignment despite it being suggested after assignment 1 – something which will definitely be remedied in my next assignment submission.

Posted in Stage 2 P | Leave a comment

Project 7 – Multi-block linocut

Planning the print

I initially tinkered with the idea of printing an image of trees using brown, green and blue, but wasn’t happy with the test sketches I made of these:

Lino022Lino023

Then, looking through my stock of images, I came across this image of a ladybird which I thought might work well:

Ladybird

I decided to crop it to a panoramic format to give some variation from the previous image, so sketched it out and roughly shaded the coloured areas in pen:

Lino024

Cutting the first block – Green

I cut the areas which were to be left white. Where the white areas were going to be under the red or black areas, I cut the lino wider to give some leeway in getting the blocks aligned correctly.

This turned out to be a mistake as detailed later.

Cutting the second block – Red

Red lino

Red only features on the shell of the ladybird, so I just cut the block in this area.

Cutting the third block – Black

Black lino

This was the most detailed block to cut.

Registering the multi-block linoprint

I used a piece of card with some glossy blocks of card (in case they needed wiping down) glued on top of it, to butt the lino block up against and marked on the edge lines of the paper:

Green lino

Printing the first block

Green print 1

Printing the second block

Green Red print 1

This is where I realised I had a problem. In cutting the white areas bigger than they were needed, I hadn’t realised that the red ink I had was transparent and so the green areas showed through and this over-cutting was highlighted:

Green Red areas highlighted

I had three options open to me, to re-cut the green block, to cut out the red section of the green block, or to get a denser red ink. I tried the latter option first, but unfortunately achieved the same results with the replacement ink.

I also tried printing the red twice to see if it would cover it well enough, but had no luck with that either:

Green Red print 1b

I then went for the second option and this worked reasonably well:

Green print 2

Green Red print 2

Where the block was not aligned exactly, this method doesn’t work as well, but the transparent red on top of the green isn’t as vibrant a colour, so I wasn’t tempted to go back and re-start cutting the green block from scratch. Maybe as I get more used to the inks, I might find a non-transparent red which would have worked better, but I was happy to go forward with these prints.

Printing the third block

Three colour dense

There are a few registration issues with this print, although I think these mostly come from slight differences in cutting the three blocks. Overall I am happy with the results though.

Questions:

During this project did you experience any problems or difficulties? Can you identify any ways to solve them?

  • Cutting the lino blocks to exactly the same size was difficult. Some means of ensuring a clean and parallel Stanley knife cut through these would help.
  • Then cutting the blocks exactly the same where lines in the same area were needed is never going to be possible to do exactly. That issue can easily be resolved by the reduction cut method we move on to next. Doing it with this method would be extremely hard as it would require exactly the same blocks, the tracing paper place exactly in the same place, and the most difficult bit, the line cut exactly in the same way.
  • I knew there would be issues in aligning the blocks exactly, so where the detailed red/black on white areas were, I over-cut the green areas to ensure that any slight alignment issues did not affect the print. This will only work when the inks used are not transparent, which I found out to my cost.
  • I tried Hosho Japanese paper for one of these prints. This was a lovely paper to use for the dense colour you can get on it and ease of transferring the ink to it. It was however difficult to place on the registration block correctly as it is such a thin paper and required a third hand to align the paper and smooth it over the lino block.
Posted in Stage 2 P | Leave a comment

Project 6 – Single colour linocut

Choosing an image

I started out planning to print the following landscape image:

D11022 Parcival Hall

Sketch:

Lino015

However, once I drew the image in bold black pen, I realised that I would have a large area of white “dead” space in the bottom right corner of the image.

I then looked through some of my other images and decided that this one would contain more interest and offer a challenge:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sketches of my chosen image:

Lino017

monoprint050

Planning the image

Chalk drawing of the image on black paper:

Lino008

I didn’t find this very useful for getting any detail, but it did show up that I needed to create some different textures for the fields and that the trees would need some cutting to avoid being completely black.

I made some rough sketches of what these textures could be:

Lino019

Reversing the design on lino

I chose to reverse the design on the lino as the person looking from the left into the image gives a stronger image than from the right, so I transferred the image using tracing paper.

Image drawn onto the lino in permanent black pen:

Lino007

Lino cut with textures added in the fields:

Lino009

Printing the lino

I chose not to proof the image by rubbing with tracing paper, choosing to go straight for printing it, for which I used a “dense black” oil based ink on several different types of paper:

Lino014

This showed up a few areas which needed improvement – the lines in the sky, the top of some of the trees and the edge of the bank of trees.

After cleaning the lino, I re-cut these areas and produced some more prints:

Scene print 3

This was much better around the edge of the trees, but maybe I should have left a few lines in the sky?

Additional single-block lino

When visiting Kilnsey Show (an agricultural show), I took some photographs of people for potential linocuts and decided to do a single colour print of this chap:

Kilnsey Show

I sketched this out, just going for the outline of the man initially:

monoprint051

When tracing over it, I realised that some of his body wouldn’t show up (black against black), so I added in the drystone wall to remedy this:

monoprint052

I didn’t bother reversing the image as I thought it would work equally well in reverse.

I cut the lino bigger than needed to make the edges work better:

monoprint054

The lino cut down:

Man lino 2

The print:

Man print

Although some areas could be improved, I was pleased with this print.

Posted in Stage 2 P | Leave a comment

Project 5 – Linocuts

Preparing a test linocut

The starting point for linocut was to make a test piece of 24 5cm squares, working on each square with a different tool or approach to get an idea of the textures and patterns each blade can produce.

After building my bench peg, I set about cutting the lino:

Lino on bench pegLino006

And my notes about the tools and techniques used:

Lino002

Proofing the lino on tracing paper:

Lino005

This indicated that the lines in two of the squares in the centre made by tool 5 might not show up as the lines are very fine. I re-cut some of these lines, angling the tool to cut either edge of the line in the same way as I had used the craft knife, resulting in deeper lines. The craft knife had greater control in cutting lines though, so I am not sure I would use tool 5 in this way. I left the wire brush marks in the other square which showed nothing on the proofing sheet to see if anything printed.

First test print:

Lino001

The wire brush square did not print anything, and the two squares using tool 5 printed only a few lines (the ones which were re-cut), due to the cuts used being too light. After cleaning the lino, I re-cut these squares using different methods and tools, to test out cutting bigger white areas, and reprinted the test piece:

Lino013

Summary:

Tool 1

Square1Square2Square10b

Good for detail, cross hatching, speckles, grass patterns?

Tool 2

Square3Square4Square5

Wobbling the tool makes a pattern like tree branches (or monkey puzzle tree depending how much you wobble!). Short stabbed lines like grass again?

Tool 3

Not centre cuts

Not centre cuts

Square6Square7

Wider lines, good for removing more lino.

Tool 4

Square8Square9

Tool 5

Square10aSquare11a

Only works to cut either side of a line, which gets fine lines, but without the control of a craft knife. Unless I’m missing something, I won’t be using this tool.

Tool 6

Square12Square13

Seems to be the best tool for wobbling the blade and getting rough edges.

Tool 7

Square14Square15Square16Square19b

Nice wide lines, in a “sketchy” style when used lightly. Wobbling the tool produces lines like tyre tracks. Also good for removing a lot of lino, although the tool seems to go down too quickly and try to exit from the bottom of the lino.

Tool 8

Square17Square18

Tool 9

Square20Square21

Good for wider hatching, or tree branches with wobbling the tool.

Tool10

Square22Square23

Very light lines. Good for depicting grass.

Others

Square19a

Using a stiff metal brush didn’t work

Square24

A craft knife angles from both sides of the line gave clean accurate lines.

Posted in Stage 2 P | Leave a comment

Assignment 1 – Monoprints

Assignment 1 asks for a selection of prints from projects 1-4.

Contents of my submission

    1. Printing0003Early experimental prints
    2. Printing0005Early experimental prints
    3. Printing0009Still Life print
    4. Printing0017Painted plate – ‘Virabhabrasana I’
    5. Printing0023Flower
    6. Printing0037Positive mask – ‘Big Brother’
    7. Printing0043Negative mask – ‘Scribble car’
    8. 2 colour car 2Positive and negative masks – ‘Scribble car II’
    9. 3 colour monoPositive and negative masks – ‘Journey I’
    10. Backdrawing 2Back drawing – ‘Underground/Overground’
    11. Textured bird 2Textured plate & mask – ‘In flight’
    12. Back Drawing3Back drawn still life – ‘The print workshop’
    13. Birds2b‘CommonTern’
    14. Still Life2‘Still Life’
    15. Scene2‘A rainy day in the Dales’
    16. Map4‘Baras’

Assessment criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

I certainly feel that my technical and visual skills are improving through this course and I hope my prints show this development. I need to keep reminding myself to reverse the image before printing as this affects the composition (for example the back drawn bird in ‘Common Tern’ should really be flying left to right across the print).

Quality of outcome

As I am still learning and experimenting, the quality of outcome isn’t as high as I hope to achieve in the future. I used cheap printer paper for a lot of my early prints, but seeing the difference in the higher quality paper used later in the course I will use this for assignment submissions in the future. I need to improve my technique for rubbing the print (particularly when using blue ink) to avoid seeing the spoon marks where these as not required (for example on the background of ‘Common Tern’). I will also mount future work when submitting it for assessment. I didn’t do this for this assignment due to lack of time and also through not leaving sufficient space around the edge of a number of my prints. I think my conceptualisation of thoughts and communication of ideas are strong though, and will improve as I develop the skills to translate my ideas into successful prints.

Demonstration of creativity

I hope this is demonstrated well. I am certainly pleased with the prints I have managed to produce, especially in project 4 where there was a wide scope to produce whatever inspired me.

Context

Unfortunately my sketchbook and learning log is weak on this point. Whilst going through this course I didn’t really know what to do in terms of what was to go in the sketchbook and what would need to be kept aside for the assignment submission. Because of this, the sketchbook was produced after the event, rather than completing as the course progressed in the way I have done for my drawing course. It is also difficult as the prints need to dry before making notes on them or sticking them in a sketchbook. I made notes on my early experimental prints, but not on the later ones. However, now that I know more what I am doing and how the course is structured, I will keep the sketchbook going as I work through the rest of the course, so this weakness will improve. It will also include gallery visits / etc. which are absent in this sketchbook.

Tutor Feedback

The key areas to focus on from my tutor feedback on this assignment are evidence of looking at other Artists works that are of interest to me, exhibitions I have seen, books I have read and adding this to the web blog. Also, the use of a separate sketchbook purely for my ideas is advised.

Posted in Stage 1 P | Leave a comment

Project 4 – Textured and combination monoprints

1) Birds

Techniques: Masks + Back drawing

Inks: Linoprint water based

Paper: Somerset, Newsprint 250 gsm

I wanted to emulate a print seen in “Printmaking handbook: Monoprinting”, by Jackie Newell & Dec Whittington called ‘Feathers’, by Ann Bridges. This was a brightly coloured print of many different feathers on a blue background. I’d also seen ‘rainbow rolling’ in the book “Printmaking handbook: Relief printing”, by Ann Westley, which involved rolling two colours at either end of the roller so that the colour combined in the middle. With these two in mind, I chose a bird image to produce my background print.

I cut out bird shapes from some printable acetate (a slight mistake as a printing medium as although the plastic side worked on my second attempt, the side designed for printing on is effectively a layer of glue which obviously didn’t work very well!).

I then ‘rainbow rolled’ yellow to red with linoprint water based inks and placed the masks on top and printed (these prints were for pressing the ink onto the masks, not for use, although the results were very good and would make a good basis for another print).

Birds3Birds4

The plastic masks were then peeled off, turned ink side up, and placed on a plain blue rolled plate and printed.

Birds2

The print was finished off by back drawing the same bird (a common tern) in a different flying pose on top of the background print.

Birds2b

2) Still Life

Techniques: Drawing on the plate + masks + back drawing

Inks: Linoprint water based

Paper: Cartridge

I ‘rainbow rolled’ a green-blue plate and drew a still life sketch (the area in front of my printing plate) into the printing plate before printing.

I then cut a mask of five flowers which I printed on top of this in three colours, yellow, orange and red.

Still Life1

Holding the print over a light-box I then sketched in the location of the flower stems so that I could back draw these in green to complete the print.

Still Life2

3) Landscape in the rain

Techniques: Painted plate + turps on oil

Inks: Acrylic paints + oil ink

Paper: Zerkall 100hpw white smooth

When I did the turps on oil print for project 3 I thought this could be used to represent rain on a window, so I decided to try to use this to produce a print looking through a rain splashed window to a landscape.

I started out sketching an imaginary ‘Dales’ landscape onto A3 paper to place under the printing plate.

I covered the plate in acrylic medium, painted the landscape onto the plate, then printed it.

Scene1

I then mixed a transparent light blue oil ink, rolled this onto the plate and sprinkled turps onto it to get the raindrop effect.

Scene2

4) Map of ‘Baras’

Techniques: Textured plate + back drawing + mask

Inks: linoprint water based ink + oil ink + oil paint

Paper: Cartridge

‘Baras’ (or ‘Bare House’) is an old farm building up on Yarnbury Moor above Grassington. I have walked past this building many times and it used to have a rusty water tank outside (sadly now gone), which was riveted together and rusted completely through in many parts. The idea of this print was to show a piece of this rusty tank, on top of a map of the area.

The starting point was to produce a textured green background to depict the fields around the building. This was done using scrunched up tissue paper flattened and rolled on a green water based ink plate. I printed from both the plate and the inked up tissue paper, the latter giving the nicest print.

Map1

I then sketched the wall and building details on the back of the print from a map of the area and back drew these in black water based inks.

Map2

I then tried to add the rusty metal to the print by painting it onto the plate using acrylic paints. This looked terrible once printed though, so it was fortunate that I tried it on a test print, as it looked like a dirty splotch on the print.

Map3

It was then time to rethink so I decided that I would use a mask and some oil based inks instead. The brown I mixed up was darker than intended (on the test print) but mixing white to it resulted in a sludgy grey so I risked a second print from the plate, the speckled effect from which actually worked well for the effect I was hoping to achieve.

I then needed to add a lighter colour to the print to show the detail of the rivets and joining plate. I tried this first using a new mask and yellow ink, however this didn’t show up at all against the dark brown background.

So I resorted to adding the detail using oil paint.

Map4

Posted in Stage 1 P | Leave a comment