Monthly Archives: March 2014

Monthy Output

I have added this category to my blog and intend to publish a gallery of work produced (across all disciplines) each month from April 2014 onwards. This might be interesting for me to look back on as the course progresses, and will hopefully spur me on to produce more work if I fall behind in any month (and stop me stalling completely again as I did for a while at the start of 2013). We’ll see how it goes….

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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

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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
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