Time is precious so I do not often run the risk of experimenting. I have to be in the right frame of mind and utterly ready to spend a whole day producing potentially disappointing images. Often I have a very clear picture in my head of what I want and it just doesn’t happen – a trap I fall into time and time again. Well this week I started to experiment in a new direction and as yet don’t know whether it has been a worth while investment of time.
This is the idea
The small experimental plates…
The results so far…
I need to keep playing. It is not quite what I had in mind and I think I need to work more on the background before I over-print.
Watch this space and keep your fingers crossed – I will post updates.
Several of my most popular images have reached the end of their editions and are no longer available or so i believed. On a recent visit to the Bond Street Shop in Hingham, Norfolk, I discovered three pieces that are no longer in stock anywhere else! So if you thought you had missed your chance then perhaps you haven’t. For contact details and directions follow link above.
The shop is packed with beautiful work from local artists and makers. A really classy establishment with a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
So, I have been watching a barn owl quartering the fields – a view from my living room window, how lucky am I?- and building up enough gusto to start on another big collagraph plate. I thought I would post this as a ‘work in progress’ and I will update it as I go along. So I started with a tiny thumbnail which I took straight to the plate and worked up as a sketch.
The next step was to decide how to use tone to build the image. I decided to cut the owl out; peeling the smooth surface of the card away to reveal the texture of the under-layer. This would print as a dark owl shaped silhouette and I could add lighter tones with hammerite. It was necessary to redraw the owl so that I knew where to paint!
So here you can see the plate and the proof with the hammerite highlights. It was necessary to sand some of the hammerite back because it raised the rough texture of the card but I quite liked the way this added to the textures of the feathers.
There is still more to be done. This plate is at a dangerous stage – it looks as though it is going to work well but, I have to add more highlights to the body and it could go badly wrong.
So keep your fingers crossed and I will post the finished print when I can…if I don’t then I am probably sulking about the temperamental nature of printmaking!
Next installment I decided it needed more foliage so I sketched it out onto the proof cut it all out and then printed it again. Here is the final image.
Not so long ago I spent the day printing the plate for Startled Hare. A few visitors to the blog have asked me describe how the plate was made so here are few photos.
I start by laying dried twiggy bits between two sheets of mount board which I then pass through the press so that their forms are impressed into the card. You can see these indents in the second photo. The design is then sketched onto the card working with the impressions of the plants and incorporating them into the design.
I then cut around the hare with a very sharp craft knife and peel the shape off leaving the core of the card exposed. It has a fluffy texture which will hold more ink than the smooth surface of the card and will produce a darker tone. Using gesso and PVA glue I paint facial details and highlights, in this way I can introduce a smooth texture to the fluffy layer and build lighter tones into that area ; it allows me describe the hare’s face and form. The plate is sealed with a varnish before being inked and printed on the etching press. Inking and printing Startled Hare
This is a form of collagraph printing – a process based on collaging textures to a base plate. Rough textures hold more ink – smoother textures hold less ink and in this way you can build up a range of tone. I keep my plates quite simple tending to work into the plate rather than collaging textures onto it – it is a technique that works for me but it isn’t the only one I use, it all depends on the image I want to create.