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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