Monthly Archives: June 2014

Project 1: Shallow geometric relief sculpture


It was suggested to look at the works of:

  • Naum Gabo (1890-1977)

  • Antoine Pevsner (1884-1962)

  • Laslo Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946)

  • Vladimir Tatlin (1885-1953)

  • Kasimir Malevich (1878-1953)

  • Ben Nicholson (1894-1982)

  • Victor Pasmore (1908-1998)

  • Pablo Picasso (1881 -1973)

I looked at work from all of these artists, making notes in my sketchbook which I don’t intend to repeat here.

Sketchbook001 Sketchbook004 Sketchbook003Sketchbook005 Sketchbook008 Sketchbook007 Sketchbook006

I think the first two artists were the most inspiring for me, although for their more 3D work than the shallow relief sculpture I will be producing in the first project. Ben Nicholson and Victor Pasmore seem to have produced the most relevant work for this project.

Adding a recent artist to the mix, I came across Ron van der Ende. Working in salvaged wood he creates very impressive 3D looking shallow relief’s. He constructs a bas-relief and then adds a 3mm thick veneer with whatever paint colour was on the found wood he salvaged. The results are very impressive.

Project 1

I made a couple of brief sketches before diving in and starting to cut wood and my initial decision was to include a large semi-circle, so I started out cutting that and some long rectangles.


My baseboard was pretty much exactly the dimensions suggested by the course notes of 600x300mm (you can have too many choices!) and I decided on a vertical arrangement.


Initial arrangements


Added a smaller circle


Moved the semi-circles apart and added a square


Added holes (worked out positions using rolls of tape)


Working on the square area


Final arrangement of the square area and another hole added on the circle


To the final arrangement. I left it laid out overnight and returned to it the following day. I was happy with most of it, but decided that the final adjustment would be to cut down the bottom right hand rectangle to be thinner.


The final unpainted relief.


The final painted relief.

The course notes ask “did you achieve the composition you intended?” – a difficult question to answer when the sculpture is produced as a process of experimentation with no real initial outcome in mind! I guess “no” as I had no fixed intention and “yes” as I achieved a composition I am pleased with using elements of my initial sketches.


Tonal sketches of the relief hanging on the wall and lit from different sides.

Appraisal of outcomes

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

My choice of materials was based on the course notes brief and the pieces are well secured.

I could have used a greater range of shapes or developed the sculpture further, but in many ways have played it safe here.

Quality of outcome

In the main the composition of this piece works well. The square with rectangle however, doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the piece and could be improved by adding a cut circle to the square piece (added in Photoshop below):


The finishing is all good, although the white (or cream actually) is a bit bland.

Demonstration of creativity

This piece was created through experimentation with different shapes and their arrangement on the baseboard, the final result arrived at through balancing the different elements.


This sculpture was not intentionally influenced by my research, but was arrived at through experimentation.

I have followed the course notes too rigidly in this project and not thought outside of the box. This sculpture could have been much more exciting and adventurous.

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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.


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.


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










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.


‘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.


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.

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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:


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.



  • Red/black

  • all straight lines. Triangles?

  • Slashes of colour?


  • Light green

  • all sweeping curved lines

  • chine collé?


  • Light blue/dark blue

  • Curves

  • Dab printing?


  • Violet? Yellow/orange rainbow rolled

  • Draw in curves/spirals?

  • chine collé?



  • ‘Broken glass’ background

  • orange/blue?

  • Dripped red? On yellow with dark blue print

  • Hands in mouth? Mouth open?

  • Print lino twice miss-aligned?


  • chaotic print

  • scratching head

  • cubism style?


Portrait prints

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



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:

I love this one:

Finally Chris Pig does some fantastic portrait work:

I love the atmosphere in this linocut. Maybe try this for the calm print?,-linocut,-11-x-10cm.gif


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

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.


The bottom left image on this site works well for this –

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


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 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 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


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


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.


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

"Happy" chine collé

“Happy” chine collé

"Happy" plain background

“Happy” plain background


‘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:


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:



‘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:



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:


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


And one which did:



And last but not least, ‘Angry’:



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


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



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

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