printmaking – my new obsession

It’s been awhile since my last post because I’ve been so busy with commissions, teaching a pastel class and being a student in a printmaking class that there’s been little time left over for anything else.

I’ll post some of my favourite commissions after Christmas when all should be happily gifted and it’s safe to publish them without ruining the surprise.

The printmaking has been a world of discovery and I’ve become fascinated by the rich variety of prints that can be made with and without a press . I’ve particularly gravitated towards collagraphs and I think that’s probably down to my messy, imprecise and “what-if?” attitude to artmaking.

My first ever collagraph made with some grasses and sissal . I loved the way the wiping left such a beautiful tone on the background.

Collagraphs are made by adding or subtracting material from the plate. The plate can be strawboard, matboard, or acrylic. You can glue on plants, feathers, seeds, fabric , or cut away the top layer of the paper board to create a pattern or combine all of these!

A collagraph combining glued on paper cutouts and plant material then inked with black and orange which produced some greens where they met.

There’s also linocut relief prints, chine colle techniques, reduction linocuts and a whole range of different ways to create prints from the very precise to the much more abstract and organic.

A linocut inked with black and green using the brayer to create the dappled look of light filtering through the trees as well as the white of the trunks.

Once the pattern has been made the plate is sealed with shellac or varnish and then inked. Inking can be the intaglio method where it’s applied then wiped off to create tones on the raised surfaces and leave ink in the depressions or the relief method where its brayered onto the plates raised areas.

Once it’s all inked up through the press it goes and then the magic moment when the image is revealed!

I love that prints from the same plate can look so different depending on the colour of ink, the method of inking and the amount of wiping.

Of course I can’t resist adding pastel to some. This one was my first attempt at a reduction linocut and it wasn’t a great success but some pastel worked it’s magic and I was happy with the end result.

Mixed media- soft pastel over a reduction linocut print.

I’ve got a whole lot more experimenting to do but think I’ve found my new obsession for 2021!

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