Sunday, 20 May 2012

May course inspiration...

After printing my Oystercatcher 1 and meeting my new paper love while printing the Robin it's back to the real world of my once monthly linocut workshops. This time we had Tracey a Motion Designer/Animator and Nick a retired teacher of teachers. I always get a bit nervous having teachers on the course. Not sure why, perhaps I feel they will be mentally marking my teacher methods, or lack there of, and maybe even slip out the odd tutting noise at my lack of 'proper' teaching technique. Of course they are all far too polite to do such I thing but what if they find out I'm not a teacher after all but merely an artist taking a workshop! Detention for a million years, then extra homework.

As usual for all those that come on the courses they get straight down to listening to my ramblings, drawing up idea and producing a blizzard of lino shavings as they began to cut their black and white. Tracey, perhaps as an art professional was very confident, even a bit gung-ho and her great attitude was summed up in the phrase; " lets give it a go." Which she said to pretty much all of my suggestions.
She had some lovely images of Durdle door and we looked at old woodcuts for ideas of patterns to use then she was off cutting away and managing to use just about all of them. I think this is a really strong richly patterned, atmospheric print and, as I always do, feel quite inspired to actually do a black and white print of my own. Rather than just telling other people to do them.

Tracey Aston - Durdle Door

After the success of the B/W we decided to use the same drawing for the colour print to see the difference strengths and otherwise between B/W and colour. Again Tracey was quite confident and tried cutting a two toned pattern in her sky to suggest clouds and then got all carried away again over the cutting of the pebbles. That I understand, I love spending hours cutting the pebbles on a beach, after a while it gets really Zen.

As with the B/W a really lovely strong print. The yellow sky to blue works really well and as I mixed the colours I feel okay about stealing this particular combination for a future print. I did admit to Nick and Tracey that one of the main reasons I have the courses, other than to maintain some semblance of social contact with people, is to be exposed to new ideas, inspirations and ways of looking at the world that I can then steal for my own work. I think they thought I was joking.

Nick as an obviously very competent teacher teacher was much more cautious, deliberate and thoughtful over his print than Tracey. Though it was a bit of a Tortoise and the Hare, as they pretty much finished at the same time - ish.

Nick had an interesting print of a Cotswold cottage which didn't immediately shout out as an effective subject for a lino. With a bit of tweaking, we thought, it may work. Nick was also labouring under the obvious handicap of having no cricket to listen to while working and having me hurrying him on while being showered by a cascade of lino shavings from Tracey across the table. His black and white, while it did work strongly as a print had areas he wasn't totally happy with. We also used the same drawing for the colour to show the comparison and allow Nick to work on those areas he wasn't happy with. Nick also had a bit of a concern, as a lot of people on the course do, over the use of colour. So I initially told him we would choose a simple ochre like colour and just darken it down for each layer to show how the layering worked in reduction without stressing about choosing colours. I sort of lied.

After using the same initial colour as Tracey, a warm golden brown, I informed Nick he would be using the same selection as Tracey. To demystify colour he wouldn't even get to choose/agonise over his own, we would use Traceys cast-offs as he called them, to show how effective apparently random colours can be.
 Also I think the idea of using golden brown, blue ( teal?) and then a deep purple would have been a bit worrying. Here is Nicks colour print, which I think you will agree is absolutely lovely. It has a great variety of texture, depth and really feels like a scene from a story. I want to see the rest of the book from which it appears this print has been lifted!
The stone wall in the foreground works very well and has a real weight and presence to it that sets the tone for the rest of the print and contrasts well with the lighter cutting further in to the print.

Well done both, and I look forward to seeing new work from both of them in the future. Oh and Nick was very complimentary about my teaching technique, even when he didn't do any homework!

Course over it's back to my own prints, and Oystercatcher 2 which I transfered to the lino and then with course suggestions still in my  head I coloured in all the white areas directly on the lino. Something I suggest to coursees  to help see how the white section of the print will look and where to print. As there is so much white on this print it does help and I quite like colouring direct onto the lino.

Really happy with my little beach bound Oystercatcher. More on them and the progress of this print soon. Next blog though something I tried a while ago and had to have another go at Friday gone before I can print this picture, or any other.

Yes I can put it of no longer, I have to recover my Baren. HELP......

1 comment:

  1. Great, Ian. I After watching your work, I feel like making an engraving. The ‘Oystercatcher in the beach’ looks fantastic. Regards