Printmaking class: More linocut work

31 March 2011

This week, the students carried on with the linocuts that they started in the last session. As everyone's starting to do so well, I showed them how to created their first "limited edition" of prints.






Modern British Sculpture

30 March 2011

Yesterday, we went to the Royal Academy to see the Modern British Sculpture exhibition. Or, as it should have been called, the "Modern" "British" "Sculpture" exhibition, with liberal use of ironic quotation marks.

It wasn't that "Modern": The exhibits included Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Greek sculptures, borrowed from the British Museum).

It wasn't that "British": As well as the Egyptian and Greek works, the exhibits included work by Carl Andre (American) and Jeff Koons (American).

And whether it was "Sculpture" depends on how you define sculpture: There were two Ben Nicholson reliefs (on the wall); a collection of "Page 3" pages from The Sun, also stuck on the wall; and a "recreation of a visitors' bench from an Caro exhibition", on which we were allowed to sit.

And I haven't even mentioned the Damien Hirst flies, or the pile of Malteser chocolates in little plastic bags. Or the blatant omission of anything by Antony Gormley or Anish Kapoor.

There was something in the little Weston Room which I can't even comment on because you had to look straight into a blinding spotlight.

Image (C) Copyright Royal Academy.

Fortunately, I think the word about how bad this exhibition was has got round; it was almost deserted of visitors.

I did quite like the Victor Pasmore installation though, probably because I'd just seen some inspiring Pasmore prints at Tate Modern.

Image (C) Copyright Royal Academy.

The exhibition continues until 7 April. Don't rush.

More multiple blocks

29 March 2011

Another, more abstract, image based on Ashdown Forest, realised as a three-block linocut.

The first block is the paler pink (it's actually burnt sienna with lots of white); the second block is the darker pink; and the third block is the black. The "black" it actually black with quite a lot burnt sienna added: pure black is too cold and hard on its own.

Then I tried printing the blocks on coloured paper. The yellow makes the image much warmer.

I liked this, so I experimented a bit more. This time, I used another square of uncut lino to print a plain black background, and then printed the blocks in a different colours:

And then in completely different colours...

Multiple blocks, multiple colours

27 March 2011

The good things about making linocuts with multiple blocks is that you can try multiple colours...


and purple...

and green...

and brown...

and yellow.

Then all you have to do is decide which one you like best.

Multiple block linocut: Forest moon

26 March 2011

I've been trying multiple block linocuts; never got them to work satisfactorily before, but that's no reason for not trying again.

This one is printed from three blocks. I cut this block first:

I transferred this block onto the other two blocks, and then cut those. The first block has just the moon cut out.

The second block has some distant hills and a track between the trees.

Then I printed all three blocks together.

Forest moon. Linocut, 10 x 7 cm.

Happy sheep

25 March 2011

Happy sheep!
I've got those hap-hap-happy sheep!
Give them a low-down bleat
And they begin dancing!

Acrylic on canvas, 15 x 15 cm.

Getting somewhere with collagraph

23 March 2011

Another collagraphed landscape, and I'm at last getting somewhere that I want to be.

Approx A4.

Except it isn't really collagraph: there wasn't any sticking. It's printed from strips of foamboard, which has two useful features: the smooth surface makes it easier to print flat even colours; and when you bend it, it creases, breaking up the surface and creating unpredictable textures.

More collagraph landscape

21 March 2011

This is another landscape, made from string and card and tape and paper, printed in white and black inks onto brown kraft paper, and then the sun stencilled on.

Approx A4.

Perhaps collagraph is starting make sense now.

Collagraphed landscape

19 March 2011

Still fighting to get collagraph to "work". I managed to stick enough paper and string and card and foil and even leaves to a couple of backing boards to make a landscape.

I experimented with printing the first board in white ink onto coloured paper, the second board in black, and then stencilling a circle for the sun.

It's difficult to get enough ink onto the uneven surface of the collagraph plate; you can see how the density increases with successive prints, but it's possible to have some control over this with careful burnishing.

All: Collagraph on paper, A5.

Printmaking class: Starting with linocut

17 March 2011

This week at the printmaking class, I introduced the principles of linocutting. Starting with some sample blocks to explore the tools and marks that they can make...

... we moved onto cutting our first images in lino. These are proofs of the first stage; there's more work to be done in the next session.





More information about the printmaking class.

Tractor collagraph

15 March 2011

Struggling with collagraph. At last, I managed to make this image by printing individual textures separately.

Tractor collagraph
Tractor, A3

For example, the furrows of the ploughed field are printed from corrugated card; the clouds with a kitchen sponge; and the trees with, appropriately, leaves.

Experimenting with collagraph

13 March 2011

I tried collagraph: printing from found textures. You stick stuff onto a board, and then print from it. It's a lot more difficult than it sounds.

I printed an owl.

Paper owl. Collagraph, A3.

The printing plate is made from paper, kitchen towel, tin foil, corrugated card, kraft paper... anything I could find. The interesting thing about collagraph is that makes you see things differently: anything with a texture you pick up and think, "I could ink that".

But I'm yet to be convinced that all the work involved is worth it.

Linocut with chine collé

11 March 2011

Looking for easier ways of applying colours to black-and-white linocuts, I tried the chine collé method which is more commonly used in etching.

I cut the tissue paper to shape, glued the back of it with PVA, put it on the inked linoblock, and then printed it.

It didn't work. Glue everywhere, except on the tissue paper, which floated and moved around.

Then I tried sticking the tissue paper to the printing paper. When it was dry, I printed the block on top. The extra thickness of the tissue paper made it more difficult to burnish, so I tried thinner printing paper. This was more successful. For this example, I used kraft paper instead of tissue paper.

Fiddling with tiny bits of tissue paper gets frustrating quickly. So I cut larger pieces, aligning them only roughly with the image.

This is starting to work.

Even better when I didn't trim the paper to the shape of the block.

Bella and the cello

09 March 2011

I made this black and white linocut, inspired by a recent session at our life drawing group.

Bella and the cello. Linocut, 10 x 15 cm.

As a quick way of adding some colour, I printed the block onto yellow paper...

... and then onto brown kraft paper...

... and then in ultramarine ink on white paper.

Printmaking class: Working with found textures

08 March 2011

This week at my printmaking class, everyone rose to the challenge of working with found textures. Starting with the principle that "If you can ink it, you can print it", we experimented with applying ink to as many different surfaces as we could find, and explored the best way of printing them, combining collagraph, stamping and transfer techniques.




More information about the printmaking class.