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.
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:
- 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.
- Rainbow rolled lino block on top of a green tissue paper textured background. Somerset Newsprint paper.
- Green lino block print on top of a rainbow rolled background. Fabriano Rosapina paper.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.