Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Owl and the Hare by Tamsin Abbott

The beginning of this week I had the pleasure of a two day one to one workshop with a very talented stained glass painter called Tamsin Abbot. You may know stained glass, and you may know glass painting but Tamsin's work combines the two into a very attractive individual artform.

you can see Tamsin's glasswork here.

DAY 1 - Tamsin has always had an interest in various forms of printmaking and aspects of her composition, subject matter and the way she draws on the glass have a marked affinity with the look of a lino print. When she sent me a link to her website my first thought was; "oo they're nice", and the second; "They'd work very well as a lino cut"

( My third thought was, " I wonder if I should get her to do the window for my sauna " but that's another story. )

It is nice being right occasionally, even if it is through someone else's hard work. On the first day Tamsin worked intently on a black and white print of one of her signature images, the barn owl. She was a natural with the lino!

 One of Tamsin's main concerns was the use and layering of colour. Though Tamsin selects each piece of glass in relation to her overall composition she doesn't get a chance to create the colours. These comes from the beautiful hand blown glass she sorts through and chooses for each picture. Layering complimentary colours and the do's and don'ts of colour use within reduction printing are a whole different story.

We decided, therefore, to start by adding a single colour layer, but use a graduation to increase the colour range within the single layer. As is self evident from Tamsin's glasswork, the planning and cutting of a lino fitted perfectly with her personal visual language. In a relatively short time Tamsin was using the tools confidently and varying her mark making to suite the different areas of the subjects plumage.  Her hard work and affinity for the medium show clearly in her first print. This quite exquisite barn owl:

'Owl' by Tamsin Abbot

DAY 2 - After Tamsin had fortified herself for the task ahead with a hearty breakfast at the Wynnstay Arms, we discussed Tamsin's second print. We ( I ) decided, after the unqualified success of the owl on day 1 that we could push on to doing a full three colour reduction print. Quite a lot of work for only your second print and even harder to complete in a single day... ( Not that I told Tamsin that! )
Tamsin had done some homework and redrawn a scraperboard picture of a hare fleeing a gathering storm which we discussed how to turn into a colour print. We settled on using a similar graduation to the Owl print, but darkening down the tone for each succeeding layer. We could then think about the tonal variation between layers without worrying about any colour change. Tamsin and I decided this would fit in with her usual imagery.
 Over the course of the day we played around with these layers, darkening each one through the edition to see how they worked in contrast to the following layer. There was also a lot of discussion on the best way to realise the hare standing out against the dark hillside. After a last minute mutiny on whether to print the hillside black, which had been the plan all along, then an injury time distraction from my two young children invading the studio, ( Which Tamsin dealt with admirably) we had 'Storm Hare' (my title). Another lovely print and a very impressive amount of work in a day:

'Storm Hare' by Tamsin Abbot
The 'Storm hare ' is a very effective honest print in it's own right that also fits in completely with Tamsins existing body of work. The cutting of the hair of the hare using both the colours and marks of the cutting are particularly effective and very well realised.
It is always fascinating to see what an accomplished artists can create with their first bit of lino and a helping hand and, if I'm honest, it also recharges my own visual batteries. Seeing new ways of working the lino can make you look at your own practice in a different way and rekindle a bit of enthusiasm. The use of black in Tamsin's work is particularly effective, strong and very dramatic without being too heavy or deadening.

I've already told Tamsin I shall be following her example, so expect to see a darker piece from me in the near future. ( In fact that A3 print of the swan with reflection I was going to cut out on a white background should work quite well on black, mmmmm......)

1 comment:

  1. Really beautiful, you have great drawings.