Sunday, 23 March 2014

Letterbox Prints: Postcards from the Press

Making postcards is more challenging than I thought it would be. It's a whole other process; one has to come up with an image that is simple enough to print quickly and in quantity. Hence my tentative foray into linocutting - which I have to say, is a lot more difficult than I remember. My crow (inspired by a memorial to King Cnut's daughter in Bosham Church) is looking a bit more dishevelled than he should. But actually, I quite like that about him... who wants tidy crows anyway.

I guess this is more of a design brief... and I've left it a bit late to get started so I'm trying to treat it a bit like a commercial project. Paper wrapping band simply designed on the computer - check; plastic pockets and brown paper sourced - check; Cowprint rubber stamp designed, ordered and collected - check, check, check. And bit of a printathon to produce a good number of cards. Now on to the next design...

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Influences 3 - Marcelle Hanselaar

Self-portrait of Yesterday ~ oil on canvas, 2012

I first came across Marcelle Hanselaar's work some years ago in an article in Printmaking Today (I'll find the issue number and post it for anyone who wants to track it down) and saw some of her etchings at Originals shortly afterwards (or was it the RE Summer show...). I'd been quite captivated by the tiny reproductons but seeing the actual etchings was a very different experience; the powerful rawness, was quite stunning. I spent some time in front of them and found it quite hard to tear myself away.

Le Petit Mort 10: Notes From an Incomplete Journey ~ etching and aquating, 2005

Stormwarning ~ etching and aquatint

She is in the same camp as Paula Rego for me; dark, violent narratives in which people (quite often she herself) and strange creatures coexist in nightmarish scenarios. Dogs seem to figure frequently in a rather Jungian Shadow-type way. Bizarre, macabre and faintly comical.

Open Sesame ~ etching and aquatint

Le Petit Mort 6: Notes from an Incomplete Journey ~ etching and aquatint, 2005

Etching and aquatint

In this short film, Hanselaar talks about her relationship with the medium, in particular oil paint. She talks about the intimacy which develops over time (she says it took twenty years for her to really get the measure of it) and one gets the sense that it would be impossible to separate her from her art and vice versa. The interviewer asks 'Who is Marcelle Hanselaar?' She replies, 'I have have no answer to that but I paint about that.'

Marcelle Hanselaar - Postcard From The Edge from Beats Shots on Vimeo.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Ten Public Hangings

This linocut will be overprinted with drypoint

Pirate Baby is taking a break whilst I work on some other projects. Having messed up his solar plate, I got a bit stuck about where to go next. The fog is slowly lifting on that one but in the meantime, I'm making headway with the Cowprint postcard project in preparation for our exhibition as one of the Ten Public Hangings at Red Hot Press over the next few months. Intrigued? More details soon.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Influences 2 - Grayson Perry

Composition in my own work has changed over the years to become less… static? I don’t quite know what words to use here. My images have become a mix of elements, some portraiture, some narrative, some diagrammatic, with text thrown in for good measure; all jumbled up then fitted together like a jigsaw. I suppose I’ve always done this a bit but that way of working has gradually taken over. It may be partly due to moving from card cuts, where the image has to be complete before varnishing, to etching where the image can evolve over time. Elements can be added or taken away and this gives great flexibility to the creative process. 

I think it’s this that inspires me about Grayson Perry’s work. Rich, dark, satirical; his images evolve as he works on his pots or tapestries, almost like subconscious doodlings. I love his style of drawing and the macabre humour he often displays. His pots are always a surprise; beautiful in shape and colour schemes which, on closer inspection, reveal worlds of the grotesque and wryly comic. I guess I am also drawn to his pots for the craft aspect - there’s a lot of process and technique required in the same way that there is with etching. Steps, stages, states, layers. And the guy is such a dude. What’s not to like.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Dilys Bryon: 'Outside Eye - Inside Eye'

Dilys Bryon ~ Earthquake
Went to the private view of an exhibition of works by Dilys Bryon at The First Gallery this evening; lovely monoprints, etchings, mezzotints and paintings. Being an intaglio printermaker myself, I was particularly drawn to the etchings; beautiful abstracts printed using the Hayter method, a kind of viscosity printing which enables the printmaker to achieve an incredible vibrancy of colour - and Dilys Bryon is a master of colour. Go see.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Influences part 1 - Paula Rego

Paul Rego ~ Three Blind MiceCopyright Victoria and Albert Museum  

Lately, I've been thinking about artists who influence my work. This is a tricky one. I found I could name many artists I like but had to think hard about whether they influence me in making my images. Do I like them because I see similarities between their work and mine, or are those similarities there because I have been influenced on a subconscious level? Probably a bit of both. 

Anyway, to get some clarity on this issue, I think I shall throw in more posts about artists I appreciate - because they probably do influence the way I work to some extent, even if I don't realise it. 

Top of the list has to be Paula Rego, painter and etcher extraordinaire. I'm not going to give you a bio because you can look that up for yourself if you're interested, but here are some images I like (hard to pick just a few!). Figurative, narrative, a darkness... these are things that immediately grab me. She's a story teller.

Celestina's House
Paula Rego ~ Celestina's House

Paula Rego ~ The Flood

Paula Rego's work
Paula Rego ~ 'Crivelli’s Garden (The Visitation)', 1990