A bit late in the day for a promo, but I’m taking part in a group show at 44AD Gallery in Bath as a part of Wiltshire Print Creatives. We are an informal collective of printmakers, united only by the use of the same workshop space at Wiltshire College in Trowbridge.
We hung the show on Monday morning. Coming back for the evening Preview and seeing the show as a whole for the first time it was obvious that sharing the same workspace has allowed for some sort of artistic osmosis. Everywhere I looked I could see commonalities in vision and expression across all the work. I was very proud to see what we had achieved. Despite the fact that this is the work of friends I can genuinely say that the work on show is to a high standard both technically and creatively and well worth a visit if you can. My thanks to the other 11 for their support over the years and for their work in putting this together and making it happen.
The Wiltshire Print Creatives are…
- Tonia Gunstone
- Caroline Morriss
- Kerrie McNeil
- Martin Covington
- Bella Bee
- Judy Brett
- Ian Bertram
- Hayley Cove
- Flora Jayne Camacho
- Alex Nash
- Claire Camacho
- Jane Temperley
I’ve been looking at this series of paintings and prints by Richard Diebenkorn (via this book, but also here.) There is something about them that keeps drawing me back. They are deceptively simple with subdued colours, apparently just variations on geometric subdivisions of a rectangle. This makes them seem akin to Mondrian, but they have much more depth to them. They clearly owe much to Klee, but also to de Kooning, at least in terms of colour values. In the end though they are themselves and stand on their own merits.
When I was at school, studying maths we were always told to ‘show your workings’ and in many ways that’s what is going on with the Ocean Park paintings. Variations, second thoughts have been painted over, but their ghosts remain.
I think this is part of their appeal to me, since I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of palimpsest, even before I became an artist. Both the urban and rural landscapes of Britain can be viewed as archaeological palimpsests. Take the time to look around any British town or city you will find signs of previous activities. The street pattern in many Northern industrial towns can often be mapped against ancient field boundaries, while alignments going back into pre-history may still be seen. (http://locateit.leeds.gov.uk/CharacterOfLeeds/UrbanHistory.aspx?p=3) Beneath the streets archaeological investigation and civil engineering projects alike reveal layer after layer of activity. (http://www.crossrail.co.uk/sustainability/archaeology). The same applies in the wider landscape. Anyone familiar with Britain, will read into these paintings the pattern of fields, woods and lakes which almost define the English landscape. That landscape is almost entirely man made, even in the supposed wild areas like Dartmoor or the Scottish Highlands and has developed out of complex and cumulative processes of human intervention.
So just as imperfections and variations disturb the surface of the modern world, revealing its past to those who look, so the Ocean Park paintings reflect the process of their creation, revealing the changes made and to my mind, humanising their geometrical abstraction.
I’ll come back to this another time with images from prints inspired to a degree by Klee and Diebenkorn, and also to some new work I’m planning which will attempt to marry the geometry of this work to another interest of mine, the rock carvings and standing stones of the Neolithic era. Here’s some tasters with a couple of trail proofs.
I haven’t been very good at posting here have I? That’s partly down to my lack of anything to show, but mostly just inertia…
These two are however work in progress. Strange Fruit (on left) is inspired by the song of that name, sung here by the incomparable Billie Holiday.
Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees
This is the best pull so far, but I’m not satisfied. Because it is a drypoint on acrylic, I won’t get many more, so the edition when I make it will be no more than 5-10.
The second image, as yet untitled, is pretty close to my visualisation of it. The greys are a bit dark, and some unsightly blotches of white have appeared at the bottom, but otherwise close enough to be considered as the AP (Artist’s Proof). The brown tone at the top, outside the image is just a colour cast in the phone photo, The paper for both of these is Fabriano and is white.
I’m continuing to add listings to my etsy shop, including a batch from two series of tiny monoprints I made in 2014 and 2015.
The 2014 set were all monoprints made by hand using acrylic paints on watercolour paper. These are bright and colourful and each is only about 2″ square.
The 2015 set are slightly larger and more restrained in colour. They are all made on a variety of papers including Khadi handmade, Somerset and Fabriano. Despite their size, these are quite complex with multiple passes through the press and often several separate plates.
You can find the two sets by following these links. There are still many to come, so check back later for more.
I enjoyed making these very much so I may repeat the process for 2016, perhaps making a set of ACEOs or perhaps some postcards. I’m going to be submitting some postcards to the Black Swan ‘1000 postcards’ fund raiser in Frome so I’m leaning that way at the moment.
I’ve reopened my Etsy shop selling my own work. I’m rewriting all the listings, taking advantage of the experience gained operating my other shop selling reproductions. I’m also taking the opportunity to present the prints differently, organising the work into ‘collections’ based on themes rather than subjects like landscape or abstract. It’s a bit amorphous at the moment but I intend for the structure to be fluid and always changing.
Finally I’ve also bitten the bullet and have started selling my digital prints as limited editions. I’ve always resisted this but it seems that this is what people want and expect. Whatever happens though I will not be selling reproductions this way. All the digital prints have been conceived and created digitally with the intention of producing a physical print on paper. To take advantage of the flexibility of the digital process I will generally be selling in editions of 50, of which 10 will be large format – around A3+ – and 40 slightly smaller, around A4 size. I’m not wedded to this breakdown of sizes and may change things for future prints. Once an edition has started selling I won’t make changes however.
The other thing I’m going to do is provide with each image a statement describing the image and how it came about, a note on the digital process and details of the breakdown of the edition. Each print will of course be signed and numbered.
This is a proof print from a collagraph plate made some time ago, that I have just returned to. I made it after visting the Kurt Schwitters exhibition at the Tate in London. I’ve made a couple of coloured versions, but nothing so far has worked out and I still prefer the proof! One option might be to add collage elements, but I really wanted to interpret his work, not replicate it. I think I shall add some texture to the area surrounding the two main elements in order to increase the density of ink. I will probably do that with carborundum.
Collagraph after Kurt Schwitters
I generally want to concentrate on my handpulled prints in this blog, but this digital print is one of my most popular pieces. I think it captures the bright cheerful sunny days in a similar fashion to the work of Beryl Cook and Donald McGill. I’ll be adding it to my Etsy shop soon.
As well as my own work I have a shop on Etsy selling reproductions of a wide range of graphic design, maps, comics, travel posters, advertisements etc. I’ve started playing with some of these, removing text and making freestanding pictures from them. You can see what is currently available here, while I have posted a couple of examples below.
The travel agent only mentioned jelly fish…
A drink under the stars
Lattice – Mixed media monotype inspored by Paul Klee
I have already posted the ‘basic’ version of this, (here) which is available in an edition of five. This is a one-off experiment in printing over prepared paper, in this case washes of acrylic paint plus some acrylic ink. I suppose this makes it a monotype – or perhaps it is mixed media?