Tuesday, 30 June 2020

lock down life.... part three.... playing at printmaking

We have survived more than 100 days.

OH ( my other half) and I. Together, like never before.

Day after day.

Meal after meal. Walk after walk. Episode after episode of Breaking Bad.

Waking when the birds wake us.

Sleeping when the day has been worked through, minute after minute, hour after hour.

We are still here. Still friends. 

Easing out of lockdown carefully.

OH itching to fly south to see sun and the Mediterranean. Cold beer and a pool.

Me itching to fly to Vancouver to see my children, but unwilling after all this time to spend two whole weeks in enforced isolation in a hotel room before being reunited. Not to mention travel insurance issues.

We have explored Kent.

Taken long walks in the countryside.

strawberry farm, kent

Seen apple and cherry orchards and soft fruit growing in huge greenhouses.

Who knew that strawberries no longer grow in the ground?

strawberrry farm

We found quiet corners away from the perambulating suburban crowds.

a quiet corner of Kent

And last week even found a pub selling real ale, to be consumed on a grassy field across the road.

Things are looking up.

So what has been achieved, artistically, in the last 4 weeks of lockdown?

Mostly very little, with a couple of forays into monoprint and chine colle.

 monoprinting in the garden

With the encouragement of Nick Archer's on-line art classes I tried making monoprints using oil paint, a roller, an acetate sheet and some A4 paper.

Paint is rolled onto acetate or glass, then marked by drawing in the paint, masking it with paper, or pressing on the reverse of the A4 paper once it is placed over the inky acetate sheet.

Messy, unpredictable and mostly fun.

I soon had a large number of inky prints around me , and nowhere sensible to dry them.

It started to rain. The wind was blowing them around the garden.

So they ended up on the floor of my home studio.

Filling it completely.

monoprints drying on the floor

These being oil paint, they take a good week to dry.

More time than I could tolerate really. I had wanted to chop them up immediately and make little books with them.

I ended up with just a couple that I really liked.

The one below I called 'pointless'.

Because that was how I was feeling.

'pointless' monoprint

I would like to make a series of 'pointless' prints.

That really appeals to me now that I have given up work and am locked down, doing nothing of great use.

The following week's lesson was monoprint with chine colle.

Chine colle is a form of collage where fine paper is bonded to a print during the pressure process. In traditional printing the pressure of the print creates a seamless transition. For the purpose of this class, and in the absence of a press, we were to use glue and hand pressure.

Here is an example of a print with red tissue chine colle

I wanted to add some sea creatures and fossils to my prints.

I sourced some public domain images from the Harvard University, Ernst Mayr library archives

I printed these on thin paper and cut out some shapes, along with some birds from my own archive.

monoprint with chine colle
Mostly the fossil shapes disappeared into the ink, as in the image above.

The birds were a bit more successful when their wings didn't tear off as I tried to apply the glue.

I need a lot more practice, and a real printing press (of course....).

So I tried simple landscapes. Masking areas of the paper with torn newspaper.

just a monoprint

Later I cheated by adding a bird digitally.

monoprint with bird

Next I tried two crows chosen from my photographs from India. Crows seem to be everywhere that I go.

I dropped them into a scene as if landing on rocks.

the landing | monoprint

I was happier with this one, so printed it onto Kozo paper, mounted it onto a board, and coated it with beeswax.

The wax coat is a risky process involving  melted wax and a hotplate in an upstairs bedroom. I was VERY careful.

melting beeswax for wax encaustic overlay

baking tray waxing station

The final product is now waiting for a frame.

the landing | a waxed print

Lastly I went a bit experimental in Photoshop with another print.

This time I layered it digitally and added some colour.

It is no longer a real monoprint.

But as I am now 'an artist', I have decided that I can create work in the way that works best for me.

And if others enjoy it, then I won't feel quite so 'pointless'.

And that will be a good thing.
the dive | a layered monoprint