Project 14: Investigating Combination Printmaking and Incorporating Chine Colle Collages – Part Two

26/09 – 11/10/17

Project 14: Investigating Combination Printmaking and Incorporating Chine Colle Collages – Part Two

In this project you will continue with your investigation into combination printmaking by selecting your own mixture of techniques to create a print series.

First of all – hands up to a three-week break through illness and am now finding myself with a pretty tight deadline for two projects. It sounds feasible, yet when developing ideas, deciding which techniques to use and drying times it all starts to crowd in. This may have influenced my decision to be looser in my designs, however, I am also very aware of how long I take to develop an idea and then how restrictive this can be. This time, I plan to be more abstract and more experimental during the process.

Themes

I finally came up with an idea by observing the effect of a round shaving mirror in early morning light, it’s reflective qualities both in image and light, together with the shadow also cast. This made me think of circles in relation to extremes ie extreme heat and cold can both burn, so instead of a straight line with extremes at each end, they form a circle and come together – therefore opposites attract. There is also the eternity of never-ending circles.  As for colours, I was drawn to earthy colours of ochres, siennas pushing towards red ochre/oranges and their complementary of blue to give contrast. To balance circles, we need lines, I thought of parallel lines – things starting and finishing, following a similar path but never meet. Back to balance and that I believe we need balance in all things. These are not heavy political themes but things I sometimes contemplate but have never thought of trying to illustrate before. Of course these are loose symbols and not necessarily obvious to those that think differently to me, this is where I could use text to help explain. I tried not to be too obvious and I wanted to only use two words per image, words that stand alone and together to hint at what I was visualising. I researched some idioms per image of extremes, balance, parallels and eternity – I decided on:

Opposites Attract

Balancing Act

Parallel Lives

Never Ending

Development of ideas in sketchbook 1

Development of ideas in sketchbook 1

Development of ideas in sketchbook 2

Development of ideas in sketchbook 2

 

 

 

 

 

Process and Techniques

First print called Opposites Attract work in progress, several experiments on the theme:

The Never Ending theme was approached in much the same way. Below are the collagraph blocks for the Parallel Lives and Balancing Act themes.

Once I came this far, it was the process that became the challenge. I couldn’t really see lino cuts being the best way forward, particularly for the circles. I decided on using monoprinting masks to build layers of circles in and without squares ie both positive and negative masks.

My main issues became apparent when trying to incorporate the chine colle collage. I decided to use a combination of PVA and glue stick (Pritt Stick as suggested by my tutor). The glue stick was very usable for thicker paper as long as it wasn’t left too long before being stuck down. The PVA was used for thinner papers such as tissue and this was more tricky. I had to keep the application thin and away from the edges to avoid squelching (not sure if that’s a technical term or not?), plus when using masks, it  became obvious that the glue would stick both ways because of the porous nature of the paper. I’m afraid I had to divide the process by sticking the thinner papers down first.

Another problem occurred with subsequent print layers where the paper had dried out. This stopped the ink being taken up so well and was a particular problem with the text masks. Often the entire word would not be successfully printed. I tried re-pressing the print which resulted in smudged lettering, I tried adding more collage and reprinting but had to think of a way to make the ink fill the cut-out text. I then discovered a small water spray bottle, this was a revelation and saved me many times as long as I only partially lifted the print paper to check the result and replaced it exactly. I had one mishap with this where I over-sprayed the paper and it pulled the top layer of the print paper off. Using masks and chine colle took an enormous amount of patience and care, however, I am fairly pleased with the results of the best  prints.

Regarding the “line” based prints, I decided to use collagraph blocks. For straight lines I used a combination of dried spaghetti and thread secured at each end with brass paper fasteners which allowed me to pull the thread tight and straight. For the balance print, the few small circles in the design were cut from thicker paper and stuck down.  As I have mentioned before, proper PVA glue is not available on the island so I use a respectable alternative called Alkyd Sellador. This is very similar, however, it does retain some tackiness, which again, caused a few issues with the collage. I had to ensure that the glue on the print paper side was stickier than the Sellador on the print block side. Often I had to carefully lift the print from the block and use a scalpel to prise the edges of the collage paper from the block, all without smudge the print! All in all, not withstanding the tacky print block, it was more successful to use the collagraph block than the mono print masks. I did return to masks for the text  though. I note that in my sketch book, I had considered using the back drawing/writing technique for the text, however, the text masks worked pretty well.

Below are the prints discarded for various reasons stated in the captions:

Opposites Attract - dislodged print block on registration

Opposites Attract – dislodged print block on registration

 

This was a ghost print of a previous attempt, which looked promising until the block dislodged on registration. I carried on and printed a ghost print of the text after I’d realised, just to experiment. It’s a shame but it still wouldn’t have been the one I chose.

 

 

 

 

 

Opposites Attract - Reprint of text misaligned

Opposites Attract – Reprint of text misaligned

 

This was a contender even with the misaligned text down the edge. In the tradition of going with happy accidents, I pasted some collage paper over the initial text print and then reprinted the word “attract”. This came out a little misaligned, however, it gave the impression of 3D letters, which I liked. I continued and added the blue tissue and copper leaf circles, however, I felt the colours and tones were too similar.

 

 

 

Opposites Attract - Unsure how to proceed

Opposites Attract – Unsure how to proceed

 

This one I still like. The yellow hand-made paper over the entire printed layers of circles, gave it subtly. When I came to print the text, it did not print very clearly so I ran it through the press again, which gave it a blurred effect. I found some lighter hand-made paper and pasted this over the text but this sent the lettering back a little too much. To counteract this, I added the printed dark blue circles. I was pleased with it except it needed something else in contrast and I wasn’t sure what to do next. This one is in limbo.

 

 

Never Ending - smudged ink

Never Ending – smudged ink

 

I was very disappointed when this went wrong. I had carefully added the collage aspects and printed on top successfully. I then saw that it needed a contrast and used the yellow ink to mask in some circular pattern, however, when pulling away the print, I realised that because the previous print ink was still too wet, it had smudged. I did consider continuing with it and using a window mount up to the print but I felt this would be unsatisfactory.

 

 

 

Parallel Lives - collage paper ripped

Parallel Lives – collage paper ripped

 

I was pleased with the outcome of this apart from a novice error with the press.  Forgetting that the collagraph block was thicker than the  perspex mono print block previously used, I omitted to adjust the pressure on the press. I tried to do this mid print but it wasn’t having any of it and on pulling away the print paper, I found that the tissue collage paper had ripped. I tried to tell myself that it added more texture but it wouldn’t wash. I also considered that there was too much dark for the text to print over, so recreated the block with slight adjustments and it worked better.

 

 

Four Prints in a Series

Series of Four Prints

Series of Four Prints

Once the prints are thoroughly dry, I will separate them with newsprint and weight them down to flatten them.  I think on the whole they have been successful and sit well together. I tried to keep the colours consistent although a couple of contrasting elements have helped each be individual but still work together.

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Project 14: Investigating Combination Printmaking and Incorporating Chine Colle Collages – Part One

26/09 – 11/10/17

Project 14: Investigating Combination Printmaking and Incorporating Chine Colle Collages – Part One

In this project you will continue with your investigation into combination printmaking by selecting your own mixture of techniques to create a print series.

I had never come across Chine Colle printing before that I was aware of, so it took a bit of sinking in to my brain to get it! I had to read up quite a lot to understand the technique and order of process, because of this, I decided to practice with a simple birthday card design for a friend. I have to admit it never quite made it to delivery as I forgot how long oil based inks take to dry but the thought was there.

I had some small cards and envelopes and lino blocks, so the print was about 10 x 12.5cm on a 12.5cm square card. I also received, for my birthday, a small dye cut machine, called the XCut that can be used as a small printing press for up to A4 size.  This was the first time I had used it and it was great fun and so much easier.

I had already decided to colour the tongue with red ink by hand and I was really pleased with the results for a first attempt.

 

Final print with tongue hand coloured redFinal print with tongue hand coloured red

Final print with tongue hand coloured red

 

After this minor success, I looked out a previously made lino block from the course and made a simple reprint on coloured paper and used gold tissue for the sun. It was simple yet effective. I now felt ready to try to create a new series of print using chine colle – See Part Two.

Montana Roja on red paper with gold tissue sun

Montana Roja on red paper with gold tissue sun

 

Research Point: Investigating Combination Printmaking and Incorporating Chine Colle Collages

25 September 2017

Research Point: Investigating Combination Printmaking and Incorporating Chine Colle Collages

Find some examples of good use of chine colle in printmaking and share them with other OCA printmakers via the forum or make notes in your learning log.

I have searched for Chine Colle print images online and found many examples. Those that particularly appealed to me, I have added to a newly created Pinterest Board imaginatively called, Chine Colle Printing. I have to admit that, for some reason, I was having a mental block against this technique. I couldn’t get my head around how to do this, maybe because I hadn’t really explored collage extensively. However, after reading different methods both in the course manual, online and in instructional books, it began to sink in. Plus after reviewing other artists’ take on the technique, I began to see ways of having fun with it and experimenting.

From the selection I “pinned”, it became obvious to me that I preferred those images where the chine colle was not used to colour precise aspects of the subject. Whereas I respect the skill of registration required, I found it too tight and restrictive. This is something I have felt I have become from over-planning in my previous projects. Therefore, where there is overlapping of the printed line or other layers of paper is much more interesting to me. I also liked where strips of paper have been used to extend the boundaries of the entire image to alter the orientation, shape and scale of the original print.

Another method I enjoyed was where more than one print block was placed side by side, for example, to create one image and then chine colle was used to bring them together and give a shared sense of place. A good example of this is the Coyote & Chicken by Melissa West:

 

Coyote & Chicken by Melissa West, two images to make one with chine colle bringing them together

Coyote & Chicken by Melissa West, two images to make one with chine colle bringing them together

 

I really like this as the bright yellow, what looks like, handmade paper top and bottom implies the straw in the hen-house and hints at the narrative about to happen, although not so good for the chicken!

Another simple but effective print I found used the chine colle to extend the border of the image as previously mentioned. Striped Cat by Robyn Sinclair:

Striped Cat by Robyn Sinclair. Example of pushing out the borders of the image with Cine Colle

Striped Cat by Robyn Sinclair. Example of pushing out the borders of the image with Chine Colle

 

I was also taken with more abstract and textural images where chine colle was employed using all sorts of materials not just paper. I liked the layering of materials and printing – the effect was fuller and richer with depth. This print was eye-catching with its using of colour and texture, unfortunately, I am unable to give credit as the link appears to be broken, I only know the artist’s name is Kate, I have no title either.

 

Abstract with chine colle using various materials to create texture

Abstract with chine colle using various materials to create texture

 

One more that again is simple with regards the addition of coloured paper but I like that they are tonally similar, complementary and do not slavishly match the outline – Green Tea 1 by Rosemary Eagle.

Green Tea 1 by Rosemary Eagle

Green Tea 1 by Rosemary Eagle

 

The best thing after doing this exercise? I can’t wait to have a go!

Project 13: Combination Mono and Linoprint

20/07 – 11/08/17

Project 13: Combination Mono and Linoprint

In this project you will be putting two printmaking techniques together – monoprinting and linocutting. Firstly, you will need to choose a subject where colour and line play equal parts… the two printed layers will need to contrast and compliment each other.

Development of the Subject

The most time-consuming element of this exercise for me was the development of the subject. Again, as is the way of this crazy world at the moment, it is the daily news that inspires my ideas. This time, I was, as many others were, horrified by the Grenfell Tower fire in London. Horrified not only by the huge loss of life, the absolute terror of those people affected, both of the survivors and those that had to await the inevitable with no hope of escape, but the apparent sheer incompetence, disregard and disdain demonstrated by those charged with their responsibility of care. The more that was revealed of the extent of their failings, the deeper the understanding of the lack of compassion for human life cut. Saving money appears to be more important. The appearance of the structures to be beautified to preserve the ambience of the locality for the gentrified areas seemed to be placed above safety.

All these points kept taking me back to my RE classes at school, my teacher was always referring to the biblical quote: ” the love of money is the root of all evil”, commonly misquoted as “money is the root of all evil”. These two statements, that are readily confused, are so different in meaning, it is understandable that this has stuck in my memory. The love of money encourages greed, envy, division and corruption of power. Money as an entity, can be the bringer of so much good and improvement. I decided to concentrate on the true quote and its meaning. How to put that into an image that would work as combined mono and linoprint was the challenge.

I began with visual brainstorming using imagery as well as words.

As in the above gallery, I began with representational ideas and then began to explore a symbolic direction using the golden bulldozer to illustrate the clearing of areas ripe for gentrification and “improvement”. This misnomer completely ignoring the fact that communities were already thriving, being multi-cultural, colourful and “ordinary”. These communities, particularly in city areas are comprised of people who live and work in the city but can ill afford the extortionate real estate prices. They rely on social housing, yet they are not, as commonly reported, all single mothers having more children to get a council flat, dole scroungers, immigrants who have jumped the council queue. I am ashamed to say that up to a point, I had also been brainwashed by this lazy journalistic reporting, and I was overwhelmingly impressed by those interviewed during the Grenfell tower fire. They were not the dregs of society, they were like you and me – families settling for the evening, school kids doing last-minute revision for their GCSEs and A Levels, young professionals building careers, extended families coming together to feast after fasting through the day for Ramadan, senior citizens settling down to watch the evening news, people being people in the perceived safety of their own homes. The eloquence, the stoicism, the empathy for their neighbours – it was true and honest and extraordinary. To represent my subject was a challenge indeed!

The idea so far was to use text to represent the existing communities, with the Golden Bulldozer clearing the path for improving the neighbourhood, with its clandestine objective of attracting a “better type” of person – whatever that means! However, I then looked back at my inspirational quote, and wondered if this was putting across the message? Was the bulldozer too clichéd, I looked at amending the design by using the yellow brick road analogy winding through from the green parks and glass fronted penthouses towards the badlands to be transformed. However, I could not see how to make this work in a combined mono and linoprint. I returned to my original plan after some thought.

As this decision was made, I then had to consider scale, the final composition and how to fit what text into the design. I had been advised to look at the work of Angela Cavalieri by my tutor some time ago, and how she used text to fill shapes.  This is where the use of words to create tower blocks etc grew from. I considered an A3 format, a square – looked at how I could incorporate the perspective I wanted and finally, came to the conclusion that a 30x20cm size would fit my idea best. I also had to look at which aspects should be made by monoprinting and which by linocut. As mono printing belies excessive detail, I decided to use it to give the bulk shape of the bulldozer and the background of the image. Text would suit the linocut as I had used the method in a previous project fairly successfully, along with outlining the details of the bulldozer’s tracks and components.

Monoprint Element

After deciding on the overall design, I needed to create a template for both negative and positive masks for the monoprint. Using the scale of 30x20cm for the entire print, the template had to fit in size and position. Once traced and transferred to a piece of card, I cut out the main shape to create the positive and negative templates, I then made several masks to enable a series of prints. I must admit, after marking out my graph paper guidelines and positioning the negative mask first of all, I found I had completely forgotten the process. I mistakenly started working as if the mask were a stencil, rather than masking an inked area – I did realise my mistake after the first attempt but decided to use the result to practice the registration and concept.

At this point, I had read ahead of my instructions to note that I should consider different colour schemes and representations within the series. So prior to printing, I also made notes to explore how different colour treatments could influence my message and prints. I considered the background first, thinking about atmosphere:

  • dark and moody to reflect the downtrodden
  • blue skies to show happiness in an ordinary life lived
  • orange/red to denote vibrancy, maybe anger, conflict
  • neutral blue/grey to sit behind the dominant foreground

Next the bulldozer, I made the decision that this would be yellow regardless, although, there was  a consideration of a mixture of bright, shiny, golden-yellow that would bring bling to the area, and a green tinged, tarnished effect in the vein of all that glitters is NOT gold.

Then the tower blocks themselves. This was where I could have a bit more free rein:

  • they could be black/grey to show dereliction or decay, lower class
  • or the colourful creativity of the less wealthy to make things their own, the diversity of the residents from age, to culture and taste
  • gentle soft colours of comfort, routine and familiarity
  • Clashing colours of hot-blooded differences from culture, age groups, belief systems

I then looked at the combinations of these three components and noted them to put in front of me whilst inking.

Whilst printing, again I was hounded by the registration. I was expecting to have some white space around the central bulldozer, as printing up the edges of the mask is always elusive depending on the thickness of the paper or card used. This added to the image, I think, where the registration was more accurate. Although, where the registration was off, it only served to highlight the problem.

Linocut Element

This is really the detail to go over the monoprint. Initially, text was to be used in the tower block, and on the bulldozer. I was hoping to use some choice words to further expand on the golden bulldozer motif ie  GENTRIFICATION across the scoop/bucket, GREED on top of the back of the body following the perspective and finally AFFLUENCE across the back. Unfortunately, in reality, when I began mapping out the lettering, it became abundantly clear that there was little space for this, particularly considering that these would have to be carved out of the lino and remain in one piece. I really wanted to include the word GENTRIFICATION, but had to concede that the smallest word GREED, was the only one that would fit anywhere. However, as I needed to add the details and outline to the bulldozer with the linocut, it would have been impossible to add this to the machine itself. In the end, my compromise, was to add GREED beneath the body of the vehicle between its tracks, following perspective lines. This worked to give some movement to the bulldozer going forward and had no ambiguity as to its meaning.

I also thought I could give more substance to the bulldozer by detailing its wheel tracks, cab, bucket and general outline. This proved to be a little delicate after successive inking, printing and cleaning, and some of the thin lines came away, however, I don’t this particularly detracts from the intention.

The Combined Mono and Linocut Print

Whilst I was drawing and cutting the lino, the monoprints were hanging up to dry. Once done, I reviewed them to decide which colour inking treatment to go with each. I initially worked on the red backgrounds, working in various black/greys, these included one monoprint ghost print just for curiosity (not particularly successful but interesting). Then depending on the background, I used a variety of ink colours and inking techniques such as selective and rainbow rollering, dab printing and wiping out.

All linoprints were made with a jig and strips of card that could be placed around the print block to keep the print paper edges clean and then folded back whilst the block was inked. The print paper was a heavy cartridge that had been soaked in water and blotted, and the inks were Japanese Sakura oil based inks (quickly depleting in quantity now) with white oil paint for mixing. Once dried the printed papers were placed beneath a drawing board with heavy books to flatten out the kinks. I had a selection of varying results, with the main problem, as usual, being the registration. The predominant cause seemed to be the misalignment between the two print techniques. If I could have devised a combined jig to use for both, I think it would have been better. However, I actually feel, as long as it was not too far out, the slight differences add to the image in a way – maybe because the individual elements in the design are misaligned it reinforces the message?

Results and Lessons Learnt

Overall, looking at the prints hanging up to dry, I was quite pleased. On closer inspection, as noted above, not one was particularly well registered, however, on a few, this added rather than detracted (my own opinion). Some of the colour combinations I really liked and those on a lighter background seemed to work best – this is purely in an aesthetic sense. I was disappointed that the so-called tarnished yellow did not really come through, not tinged enough with green. I also feel I missed a trick by not including the pieces of text on the bulldozer.

Do they convey the message of gentrification clearing away existing communities? Yes and no – without the text, then no. There are a few things that I made conscious decisions about during the  idea development that still leave me unsure. Should I have added more ghost buildings to give perspective and sense of place? I had decided not, as it may have overcrowded what I had hoped would be a concise and simple message. The text conundrum has already been mentioned. How much explanation should go along with a piece of work – should it need any? I have often watched art critics explain well-known works and listened to their renderings and interpretations that start with “What the artist was trying to say here was…” and I’ve thought “Really? How do you work that out?” So who knows – maybe it’s down to the viewer only, I’ve tried to express myself, I can not really stop someone else taking another meaning from it if any.

As for lessons learnt, my main lesson from this particular project is to not constrict myself. By that I mean, if I had decided to work bigger, I could have added the text I initially wanted. However, I think the word I chose ie GREED does sum it up – I just think it needed more punch!

I also think, looking back at my work on monoprints, right at the beginning of the course, I didn’t really exploit this technique enough this time. I was much freer in my approach before, I think my striving to put a meaning behind my composition is starting to inhibit my creativity and I am trying to control the outcome too much. I think I need to loosen up again – think more abstractly, consider colour as mood, shapes as emotions, still think symbolically but more expressively. Sounds easier than it will be I’m sure.

Last but not least, I must get my head around accurate registration or throw caution to wind and make my lack of skill part of the work – purposeful bad registration – sounds as easy as a pianist deliberately playing the wrong notes!

Best Three Prints of the Series

Which do I consider the best of a mediocre bunch, with possibility of putting these forward for assignment 5?

This was tricky, I felt I should have a cross-section of colour combinations, so out of the four that were more striking, I discarded one that was too similar to another. I have selected the best registration, or the least bad! I did notice that I may have set myself up to fail by cleaning the edges of the monoprint plate too emphatically and therefore making the background reduced in size. This may have assisted in scuppering the two print blocks from lining up properly. Another lesson learnt.

Series of combined mono and linocut prints - 2 of 9

Series of combined mono and linocut prints – 2 of 9

Print 2/9 is an example of the red background and black/grey text, The text graduates from black in the foreground to a grey in the distance, the idea being it would recede, not overly successful but the lettering is fairly consistently printed.

 

Series of combined mono and linocut prints - 5 of 9

Series of combined mono and linocut prints – 5 of 9

The next selection is print 5 of 9. It is straighter than the photograph suggests and a better registration outcome. The black ink is fairly well-printed and gives the bulldozer presence, unfortunately, the yellow should look more tarnished than it does to contrast with the brightness of the community it is encroaching upon.

Series of combined mono and linocut prints - 8 of 9

Series of combined mono and linocut prints – 8 of 9

Print 8 of 9 has arguably the best registration although it does illustrate the over-wiping down of the background edges as it is reduced in size compared to the linocut. Generally, I like the directional marks pushing the bulldozer forward with the perspective of the GREED text helping it along. I had tried to work in some texture in the blue background with wiping out and scratching of colour – not sure this works, but in general I quite like this one.

Whilst reading this through, another thought occurred regarding the text. What was to stop me preparing small linocut blocks with text separately to the main block? These could have been positioned carefully on the printed paper, turned over and pressed into the block. A little late now but an example of my working too closely to the subject and not being creative in my thinking!

Tutor Feedback – Assignment Four

13/07/17

Response and Reflection on Assignment Four

I have taken excerpts from my tutor’s report that reflect areas for improvement and/or suggestions for research and/or experimentation. My responses and reflections are noted beneath each.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

  Task 1 [project 11]

“I believe you are using oil based inks, reflect further on how you are choosing colour. These inks mix well on a slab. I recommend exploring your colour choices further.”

I note that on the next project, I am asked to explore unusual combinations of colour, so it should be more at the forefront of my mind. I agree that colour has not been given enough importance in my printing so far. I need to address this more within my development and planning process.  As the simplification of shapes and images are necessary for a successful print, this then puts colour as a major component in the success of the message I am trying to convey.

TASK 2 project 12

“You really have taken on the world with this theme Gina!

You have produced technically able and well inked collagraph prints .You have a lot of pressure on these prints, I’m presuming you have access to a press. You need to set the pressure to the highest surface on your plate or board to run through the rollers. The paper is nearly ripped! You are showing very good inking skills at avoiding oozing and uneven inking.

I recommend reflecting further on how you use and mix printing ink. Oil mixes very well. I would take some more time honing your colour pallet .You have picked a vibrant and bold colour pallete. I’m unsure if this reflects the message of the work.

Language has inspired you to the make these prints I’m curious as to why you didn’t include text? Donald Trump has caused such controversy by his choice words these ‘quotes’ may have proved more powerful than being representational in your approach.”

Three points to tackle here. Firstly, the pressure used when printing. I had to smile when I read that I may have access to a press. Unfortunately, I don’t at the moment. When taking the first couple of prints, I used a combination of a clean roller and the heel of my hand to make the impression. It became obvious that I was losing a lot of the texture and ink between the collage materials and the prints were looking “empty”. From then on, I used the same as before, plus my thumbs and fingers to negotiate the lumps and bumps beneath the paper. Some aspects needed such intense pressure my hands were throbbing! It was just my sheer over enthusiastic attempts to eek out as much detail as possible that almost tore the paper. I had soaked and blotted the paper prior to printing and this helped enormously, although I realised I had to ease off a bit as it was rubbing away the damp surface.

The issue of colour again. I had actually tried to incorporate the choice of palette in the design, however, it may have missed the spot on the final image of the three in particular. I had considered more sombre colours ie greys, heavy purples and blues and these did find their way into the final print. The problem was conveying the “warming” aspect of global warming. I spent a long time looking at the different colour treatments of the prints for the final image. I think the second print may have had the right tone for the sky, in that it looks more foreboding. I rejected it because of the ridges that appeared – I think from the overly thick layers of glue on the block. I also thought the foreground was not strong enough. In the final print for the last image, I now think – with hind sight, that the yellow was too prominent and “sunny” in character. If the setting sun was more red, it would have been more dramatic and “angrier” against a darker sky. So on reflection, I had considered the colour quite a bit, but have not really made the best choices to fully illustrate the message.

The last point was regarding the omission of text. I did touch on adding it within my idea development, although, I think my main concern bubbling around in my head, was how to incorporate it within a collagraph. I tried it out in a thumbnail in my sketchbook, but it looked more like something that would work in a linocut rather than a collagraph. Maybe I should have taken up the challenge? … Why on earth did I not even think about using the man’s tweets as quotes??? I still can’t believe I missed that!

Sketchbooks

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

”  You are using your sketchbook like it’s a really important part of your process and thinking. It’s good to see you combine text, evaluative reflection and visual ideas in this book. As you develop you may wish to build on your imagery – by this I mean work out as many methods and compositions for your concepts through experiments and drawing as you can. Reflect upon why you reject something and not other ideas.

You have a great deal of pencil drawings in this book I would vary this to include biro and fine line pens. This will give a different energy to the drawing.”

I think I am beginning to work out variations of my ideas and am more open to changing my mind and swapping ideas around and documenting it in my sketchbook, although I need to reflect more on those decisions.

I will try and use other drawing materials and not just pencil. I will need to put these out ready to hand as once I get going, I just pick up the nearest thing to draw with and that’s usually a pencil, but yes, varying line will help put life into my thoughts.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context

” I spent a good while looking at your log trying to find a ‘response to tutor feedback’ section. I might have just not seen it. This may help you reflect upon what’s written and if you wish to reject or include actions in your new work. I would also look in detail at the artists recommended.

Squeak Carnwath maybe of interest to you for the way she uses objects and her approach to painting, selection and composition.

http://www.squeakcarnwath.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSPWbgdkqj8

The point regarding responses to tutor feedback is a very valid one. I do look at the suggestions and follow them up but am lax at documenting this. I have rectified this now by creating a Tutor Feedback – Response and Reflection tab in the menu under Printing 1 – Introduction to Printing. I have retrospectively documented responses for each assignment of this course, which incidentally has been very useful coming up to Part Five as many of the techniques will be revisited here. I will continue to add this under subsequent courses.

Squeak Carnwarth – I can see why my tutor thought this artist may interest me. Apart from the mountain of quality work spanning four decades – the use of text, the incredulity of DT being POTUS, the inspiration of song titles and lyrics and probably many more things that my initial perusal has missed. I like the return to familiar motifs and themes, the reworking and multiple layers. I will have to return to her many times I’m sure.

I enjoyed the video – I always like to see and hear artists in their studios, watching them work and hearing how they think. Very interesting to hear that she never plans her work (I’m a serial planner!), yet she won’t entertain any other method than paint. Even as she said this, a lot of the work appeared to be collage, but it is all paint!

Suggested reading/viewing

Context

“Have a look at the Guerrilla girls and how they use text and graphic imagery to discuss and protest. They also have a response to Donald Trump’s policies.

https://www.guerrillagirls.com/projects/

Barbara Kruger is a pivotal artist for combing text and image

http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/feminist/Barbara-Kruger.html

https://www.moma.org/collection/works/64897

Guerilla Girls – Informative but extremely depressing. Things have not moved on much have they! The graffiti wall of quotes (was not aware of most of them prior) was horrific. It certainly is an eye opener and a catalyst for future themes.

Barbara Kruger – Although I understand why it was suggested I look at this artist, I found her work did not speak to me as much as I thought it would. Maybe I’m a bit “researched” out at the moment. I did save a few images to Pinterest for future viewing ie: “Your Comfort is my Silence”, “Questions” and “You Make History When You Do Business”. These provoked the most reaction in me at the time.

Pointers for the next assignment

  • Continue your development of themes and personal voice in your artwork to give meaning to your making. Keep asking yourself what am I making work about and why. You could introduce mind maps to expand you thinking.
  • Make your themes [personal voice] more overt in your log.
  • Spend some time writing up a reflection on feedback and the suggested artists .Are they of interest and why or not?
  • Use your ability to sketch to work out imagery include biro and marker pens in your line work.
  • The next assignment is combination printing with chine colle, this is a collage type process involving glue. You may find Japanese rice glue the easiest and most effective. Some of my other students have found pritt stick glue effective as well

http://intaglioprintmaker.com/shop/japanese-rice-paste-nori

I like the idea of Mind Maps – even as a finished piece.

The other points are in my mind for next time and onwards.

Tutor Feedback – Assignment Three

12/07/17

Retrospective Response and Reflection on Assignment Three

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

 

 Task 1 [project 8]

This is an ambitious lino print with 2 images requiring good technical skills as they mirror each other on the paper. Your choice of paper is excellent as is the space you have given each image to breathe. This demonstrates a good understanding of composition. Your choice of text although autobiographical is powerful and poignant and therefore resonates with a wider audience.

I attach a link to contemporary artists that make work incorporating image and text – this may be something worth expanding on

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2009/aug/04/words-book-text-art

There is a great book, if you can get a copy cheaply, that contextualizes the relationship of image and word, showcasing many artists that explore and expand on these possibilities. Art and Text, Aimee Selby, Dave Beech, Charles Harrison, Will Hill

https://www.waterstones.com/book/art-and-text/aimee-selby/dave-beech/9781910433188

I read you are disappointed with inconsistency of printing, practice makes perfect and out of quantity comes quality. With reduction print I would advise printing at least 10 prints and hope by the end 1 is perfect.

This has been an exciting project and could lead to even more advancement with text if it’s something you wish to follow-up.

I personally was pleased with the text aspect of this print, although I wasn’t entirely sure if it was “cheating”. I really must get out of this purist mind-set – for that is what it is. I remember being told very distinctly that I should not use white in a watercolour painting, I should not use black paint at all, I must not colour outside the lines etc etc. Why not? I must question more! Anyway, hopefully the book mentioned by my tutor is winging its way to me and I am excited to see how text can be an image too and how other artists have incorporated it.

I have also created a Pinterest board called Text in Art for pieces that have text in or as art. I have included the artists noted in the Guardian article. Most of these are using text as art rather than just within it. I am not wholly sure if I like this as much as using it to enhance an image, mainly because mostly they come across as comedic to me. Not that I mind that, it maybe seems more shallow? I will have to source some more examples, maybe I react to the more ironic?

I have kept the possibility of including text in mind, and as these are retrospective responses, I can say that I considered it for Assignment 4, but at the time could not see it working.

 TASK 2 project 9

“You have used quite an array of unconventional cutting tools evident on your blog for this task. Looking at those implements I’m astonished the outcome is so delicate!

I’m a little perplexed by the quality of surface of the print, but I think the marks haven’t indented into the lino/surface enough to cut a mark away. You have certainly been diligent in your experimentation .You have also achieved good inking. I can see from your blog you are having trouble sourcing materials on Lanzarote – you are doing very well with what you have managed to find. I’m interested to know what inks you are using? These are giving you slightly unconventional results for block inks.

You may wish to work further into this block even adding a word to each rectangle!”

I always enjoy the experimentation of mark making with random and found implements. It is never predictable. The inks I’ve used were brought from the UK and are oil based Sakura Japanese inks. I only have four colours, Red (19), Yellow (3), Prussian Blue (43) and Black (49). Unfortunately, Prussian Blue is the only blue I could get at the time, it is a strong colour but hasn’t caused too much of a problem so far. My other option is to use oil paint to mix, and I usually add linseed oil to the inks so this helps them blend nicely, particularly Titanium White. I also have some water-based inks by Speedball (which I may be able to have delivered here) in some interesting colours ie Brown 3606, Orange 3607, and Copper 3616. These have been useful, particularly when I was monoprinting and for some of the lino prints. I also have a small, fast disappearing tube of Black 3400 in the same range. If a larger range of colours is needed, I brought a tub of Daley Rowney System 3 Block Printing Medium with me from the UK to mix with (freely available) acrylic paint. This has been a life saver, although it is a challenge using acrylic at times in this heat, even with the medium! Unfortunately, I am also halfway through the tub but I am hopeful I will be able to order this online – fingers crossed. So far I’ve only come across one other printmaker here but that was before I completely moved over, so I didn’t think to ask where she got her materials from. Everyone else I work with are either painters, sculptors, photographers or potters – I will maintain the search for the holy grail of printing materials!

TASK 3 project 10

“You have resumed imagery developing personal themes and interests for this task. I like your reference to freedom of speech as a theme in your blog. I’m wondering if further experiments with text and words would have resulted in more powerful work for you. There is nothing wrong with obsession.

I quite like the dreamlike quality achieved in this print. Your choice of paper is excellent and is helping the ink .I’m interested in your choice of colour’s, scale of work and movement achieved. I’m unsure if the ‘world’ shapes are needed they are somewhat obvious.”

I did respond to this in an addition to my assignment reflection, of which I have added an excerpt here:

From my tutor’s feedback, I now feel that I was too close to the print result to really assess it clearly. The feedback was positive on the paper used and how it helped the inks work better. Regarding the image itself, it was interesting to see that the elements I perceived as “wrong” or not working were the elements that worked better for my tutor, with the planet shapes considered possibly being too obvious. I actually see that myself now and as I review the prints, I am more positive about them. Instead of re-working for this assignment, I think I will leave this as a moment in time and return to the subject in another project. My tutor is keen for me to explore more text and words in my work and I think this would be an interesting route to explore further.

Sketchbooks

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

  “You are using your sketchbook very well and clearly demonstrate emerging themes and concepts that feed your visual work. You may wish to expand on these further by including bibliographies and references around your thinking. I really like your use of thumbnail sketches that explore imagery before committing to print, this is working extremely well for you. I would expand on this even more – you may wish to use tracing paper to copy bits of the images and overlay these with others to form new patterns and shapes. I would push your choice of imagery even further in the sketchbook. By this I mean expanding on imagery for your concepts and working out as many different ways of representing ideas visually as you can think of. Continue to combine reflective text with imagery as you are doing.”

This is interesting – I read this at the time, however, I didn’t really think I had absorbed it. However, as mentioned, this is a retrospective response, it appears to have subliminally filtered through. I say this, because in assignment 4:

  • I began to note books and sites I had referenced in my sketchbook
  • Used tracings to place over drawings to expand the ideas
  • Used drawings to explore different paths for an idea before deciding on the final images

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context

” For development I would recommend a greater amount of text around your chosen themes [personal voice] this text in many ways should be as detailed as your process text. You could develop your bibliography and research sources here.

It may help you to look at how reviews of exhibitions are written to look at the language used. I attach a few-

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/oct/25/paul-nash-review-pain-wonder-menace-tate-britain-london

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/feb/12/david-hockney-tate-britain-review-retrospective “

I am beginning to include the personal voice aspect of my ideas and their development in my Learning Log. However, I completely agree that I shy away from referencing research sources and influences. I will try and include these points in future reflection as well as sketchbook work.

Suggested reading/viewing

Context

Have a look at how artists are using text with imagery, there are so many good artists I name but a few –

Roni Horn

https://art21.org/read/roni-horn-words-and-pictures/

Tracey Emin

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/emin-exploration-of-the-soul-t11887

Ian Breakwell

https://artmap.com/ianbreakwell#_f0y6b

Kurt Schwitters

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/kurt-schwitters-1912

Scarlette Homeshaw works extensively in reduction techniques cutting small areas of lino away before printing again her work is heavily layered. You may find her imagery interesting.

http://www.scarlette-homeshaw.com/kent-collection

I have captured, where I can, some of the images for my Pinterest board – Text in Art for future reference. Whilst looking at some of the suggested sites in this feedback I have had sparks of inspiration and noted them down in my notebook for future themes. This is what I have been missing, noting sudden light bulb ideas for future reference! I was particularly smacked between the eyes by an image by Ian Breakwell called Maxim 2003. The coloured pencil drawing was simply a circle with the words along the curve internally “It is better to be hemmed in” and at the bottom curve, externally, “than to be hemmed out”!! Now what aspect of current affairs could that possibly illustrate, I wonder????

I was completely captivated by the stunning work of Scarlette Homeshaw – absolutely beautiful – I will return to it.

Pointers for the next assignment

 

  • Continue your development of themes and personal voice in your artwork to give meaning to your making. Keep asking yourself what am I making work about and why.
  • Make your themes [personal voice] more overt in your log.
  • Use your ability to sketch to work out imagery and compositions further.
  • Reflect further on your choice of colour and include this in your reflections.
  • The next assignments focuses on collagraph – be aware that sometimes less is more when placing shapes and collage materials on a surface, its easy to get carried away sticking. The results can lead to an inky mess without planning and control. Begin with ideas and keep exploring your themes that will lead to more sophisticated work.
  • Take multiple prints from your plates exploring different colour options.

I will continue following this advice – particularly now focusing on colour – again as retrospective, I know this comes up again!

Tutor Feedback – Assignment Two

11/07/17

Retrospective Response and Reflection on Assignment Two

Demonstration of technical and visual skills, quality of outcome, demonstration of creativity

Task 1 (Project 5)

“It is very easy to underestimate the skill required to make good quality lino prints. The inking would be improved further with better quality paper even a 200g cartridge paper would help the quality of your work. This clip by arches papers may help you understand the impact of paper on a print. I’m not advocating you spend a fortune but even a thicker cartridge would help.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSJO9ctCi5A “

I watched the above video and began to understand how the quality of the paper can really affect the printing results. The sizing and weight of the paper makes a big difference.  Since then I have considered which paper to use consciously, using Somerset printing paper, heavy weight water-colour paper and quality, heavy weight cartridge. All have given me much better results with subtle differences that I am beginning to recognise and exploit.

“Angela Cavalieri’s large scale lino work shows incredible skill at cutting and printing it’s worth watching this video to help with technique.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0oWrgfd9iE&nohtml5=False “

I watched this video several times with incredulity, I hadn’t even considered it possible to product prints of such dimensions and not putting pieces together like this. I, of course, do not have the space or a ready and willing band of helpers to add press and reveal the print. However, it has opened my mind to possibilities. In addition, I like the fact that if a section does not print perfectly, it is fine to fill in with ink afterwards, and also to paint in the background colour. I did find a reference to this video in my blog here ,  under Preparing Your Design.

Task 3 (Project 7)

“The work presented for project 7 is a leap in sophistication from the other prints submitted. The bird motif is well composed and despite your critical writings you have mastered the technical requirements of lino printing extremely well. I would consider further your choice of colour in these prints. They are tonally similar in strength, have you considered adding more white to one of these colours? There are many more options compositionally that could be achieved from these plates either through the use of colour or placement of the blocks. Reflect how these images could be read by a viewer and are these achieving your intentions? The imagery is quite beautiful but ‘safe’.

It would help you to develop more drawings and thumbnail sketches in your sketchbook before deciding on your compositions and symbols. Draw them quickly using a biro just to get ideas down on paper before making a print.”

The multi-block lino print had to be very carefully planned, thought through, cut and registered. With all this, I must confess, other than reproducing similar colours to those I saw in front of me, I hadn’t overly considered them.  It is another aspect to add to the list! Other than mixing red and yellow to create orange and layering the blue over the yellow to hopefully achieve green, I hadn’t thought any more. My supply of oil based inks is very limited as I bought the primary colours whilst still in the UK. I didn’t think to order white – I thought I just left the paper showing! How “green” was I!? Anyway, going forwards, I just added Titanium White oil paint and, so far, have got away with it. I am having trouble sourcing oil based printing inks here on the island. Although there are legends of two more art shops in the capital of Arrecife, I haven’t yet physically found them in the maze of old streets. The only one I have found, (after some tricky language barriers – Spanish for printing inks is tintas de imprenta apparently), the answer was “No”. By that time whether they be oil or water based was irrelevant. Online ordering is also drawing a blank for delivery to the Canary Islands of oil based inks. So for now – it’s all I have – I will have to use my paints to expand my palette.

Again, I see that I need to think about my themes/subjects more carefully. Why am I making this, what am I trying to say? The suggestion of using more thumbnails and development of ideas in my sketchbook fired me up and now it is a crucial part of my work process. It helps me work through fledgling ideas and move them on to something that may work in print. I can make decisions, change my mind, prove myself wrong or right before committing to the print block.

Sketchbooks

Demonstration of technical and visual skills, demonstration of creativity

“Your sketchbook is developing with each task .You are displaying new conceptual ideas emerging for future projects. Continue to combine reflective text with imagery.

You have extremely competent drawing skills that I would continue to use a source of inspiration and development. I would recommend before launching into making a print produce further drawings around the idea first. There is always more than one way to represent an idea and multiple ways to deconstruct a composition.”

Response as above.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical Essays

Context

“You may be interested in the work of Jackie Berridge who has explored themes around power and control using animals to discuss her narratives in an unnerving manner. I especially like her drawings with donkeys. These are extremely powerful and moving.

http://www.jackieberridge.co.uk/drawing/2011/silly-ass.html

http://www.jackieberridge.co.uk/drawing/2011/Sad-Cow.html

http://www.jackieberridge.co.uk/canvas.htm

 

Your writing also reminds me of Marcelle Hanselaar’s work.

http://marcellehanselaar.com/etchings-2015-crying-game/

 

For improvement reflect upon the artists you are researching and ask yourself how and why their work, methods or thinking influences your own strategies for making.”

Jackie Burridge – I must admit that I did look at these when I received my report but didn’t quite get it then. I think my tutor is more in tune with where I was heading than I was at the time. Now I look at these, particularly the drawings and understand or interpret them in a way that means something to me. The crowd mentality, not accepting anything/one that is different ie “Birds of a feather, flock together!”. This is particularly prevalent in today’s social media society and, I think I alluded to that during my work reflections. With regards to the paintings, it was a shame I couldn’t expand them to see the work in detail, however, a couple made me smile and ponder, these I’ve added to my Pinterest Contemporary Printmakers board – even though they are not actually prints. It was interesting to see the initial drawings that would become the paintings.

Marcelle Hanselaar – The Crying Game series of etchings is hard-hitting and extremely thought-provoking. I see now why my tutor drew parallels with my writing about possible themes and subjects. There is a lot about the exploitation and value placed upon women, however, we can see women as symbolic of all of the disadvantaged, innocent and manipulated. Not that I think women are all these things as individuals but as a perceived global whole, those of us who are “lucky” enough to be in forward thinking, fairly safe environments are shielded from much of what goes on – or are we? Who knows what goes on behind closed doors. A powerful and limitless theme. Marcelle’s etchings are fabulous at putting across the pain, the inner strength, the struggles, the injustice – I hope to be able to emulate the simplicity of the image that clearly expresses the complexity of the subject. A very big ask, but the challenge is laid down!

Suggested reading/viewing

Context

 

“Jackie Berridge for themes around power involving women.

http://www.jackieberridge.co.uk

 

Marcelle Hanselaar’s work for powerful use of themes in contemporary printmaking.

 

Ana Marie Pacheco for symbolism and narratives in work

http://www.prattcontemporaryart.co.uk/ana-maria-pacheco-2/

Ana Marie Pacheco – This artist can certainly tell a story, in paint, sculpture and print! Her sculptures were very disturbing, particularly for me, The Banquet and The Man and His Sheep, especially given their size. Her print series were all exceptional and full of meaning – I have to admit that I was not familiar with some of the stories/themes used for inspiration. However, the ones to which I could relate to more, were “There Was This Jaguar”, a common tale where a majestic beast is brought down by humankind because of perceived fear and danger, “The Miraculous Journey” following journey of the vixen from fear of the unknown, her manipulation and exploitation through to her discovery of herself and realisation of her dream, “Domestic Scenes” which were anything but the visions that may spring to mind from the title, no domestic bliss here but again, exploitation and dominance over the weak.

Pointers for the next assignment

 

  • Continue to reflect on the wider context of your work, keep asking yourself why and what is it about?
  • Continue to use your log in a reflective and evaluative way
  • Continue your development of themes and personal voice in your artwork to give meaning to your making.
  • Reflect upon the scale and shape of your work are your images this shape because that’s how the lino was sold in the packet?
  • Use your ability to sketch to work out imagery.”

Am taking these forward with all projects.