23/1/214 Went out drawing again because the light was flat and I could actually see what I wanted! Pretty cold, but I was pleased with what I got. I didn’t want to draw from photos as the line quality and shapes are more exciting if I draw in the field. 14/2/14 Assignment 1: I am thinking along the lines of the church in the community as a link between rural and urban. Stowmarket and Onehouse churches are both lovely, and are easy to get to and draw from several angles. The complementary bit will be size/format and church and the individual part will be method and image. When we were out yesterday driving into town, the lighting was contre-jour, on a wet road, with just the traffic lights showing any colour – sparked off some thoughts for the abstract print. * one job I need to do is to talk to friend Sara and watch her do a page of her blog, she uses WordPress very well, and I haven’t worked out how to make my pages look as good as hers yet. 15/2/14 I have been looking at the book and some You Tube videos of Paul Nash’s work, “The Elements” from the exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery. One was based on earth, air, fire, water (We are making a New World 1918) and others (eg Event on the Downs 1934) had pictorial elements that were less easy to understand, but it made me start to dissect what goes into a picture. On checking the DPG site, I have also just discovered that there is an Exhibition celebrating 60 years of David Hockney Prints on now until early May. http://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk/exhibitions/coming_soon/hockney,_printmaker.aspx I need to see this. It also mentioned a previous exhibition of Whistler’s London prints, so that needs researching too. http://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk/exhibitions/coming_soon/whistler_in_london.aspx My intention had been to choose Mary Cassatt as my artist to study as I love the figures in her work and the way she treats them. Some of Hockney’s work had similar qualities, so it has opened up a question in my mind about the significance of their other work and how printmaking skills contributed to it. I am following painting and printmaking, so it would be a good idea to choose someone whose work fed off both disciplines. I need to research more about what else Mary Cassatt did. 17/2/14 February/cloudy with sunshine/ 2.30-4.00 pm Yesterday I walked locally with my husband, and today I went back with my sketchbook to some of the vantage points I had identified. I did seven sketches in all, and the “Paul Nash elements” I looked at were church, spire, trees (background and feature), clouds, fields. I also noted some dramatic colours. Wish I had taken my camera! There are some specimen trees I need to go back and draw. Walking between sketch points was a good chance to think about different printmaking techniques and what might work – collage/monoprint/ masking/reduction woodcut and when to use intaglio technique. I have booked tickets to go to David Hockney Prints Exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery on 15/3/14 25/2/14 Drawing morning with Karen and Sara – used the time to do thumbnail sketches trying to combine the elements I have. 26/2/14 Getting back to routine reflections on how Project 1 image is shaping up. 05/03/14 First proofs 14/3/14 restart block 16/3/14 Printmaking- Progress against plan Page 7 of sketchbook 2 – I have redone my schedule. There are 41 steps to fit into 32 days. I have realised that I need to step up the professionalism. I would not leave an attended college course without knowing when and what my next tasks were. It is tight but manageable – is it? I have not been feeling great – extraordinarily tired, and am waiting for blood tests. I haven’t bounced back since my mum last came to stay – 3 weeks ago, which is a bit alarming. Tuesday 18th March
- Finish acetate plate, started yesterday using paint, tape, tissue, glue and scrim. Set to dry
- Mark up plate size/position on printing paper, make up cornflour glue, add tissue to dampened paper. Keep damp and flat in towels . Tidy up.
- Mask edges. Ink plate by hand polish with newspaper and scrim. Remove masking and clean edges.
- 1st proof on damp cartridge paper – disappointing blacks – cleaned too well? Or paper not as absorbent as it could be. But pleased with image.
- 2nd on Somerset paper – more absorbent. Tissue collaged for field. Handprinted which gave more control. Will try masking tree and also adding colour to hedge. Plate is beginning to break up – PVA clouds are failing and also some of the hedge.
- 3rd on Somerset paper – kept it wetter but tissue lifted had to mask and replace one area – most painterly effort. Now need to go and cook and I have an evening meeting to go to. Not sure that I have a suitable “successful” print.
Wednesday 19th March. Clive implied that I should be OK – “you did some printing yesterday” – I showed him my task list which I think helped him to understand the time I need. I have to decide now whether to
- leave this project and learn from it,
- learn by continuing on with it to solve the problems
I woke this morning feeling that asking for an extension would be helpful. I don’t like doing it, but given that I am planning to enlist some help with other things, hopefully progress will speed up in future. Looking at the prints I have done – I like the overall effect – it is quite painterly and free. The colours I have added help and demonstrate another technique. What bothers me is the quality. I want my trees to be crisper – the ink was moving about under the acetate as I printed it. The skyline is blurred and the effect of the church is totally lost. The contrast between the tree and the hedge has been lost and this was one of the most important aspects of the design. I think that I need to resolve these problems before moving on – prove to myself that I can get the effect I want. The proportion of the image is better, but I wonder if I am working too large. I want the next set of prints (townscape ) to match in size and format, and to be on the same paper. However, if I change it too much, the proportion of the cut out tree changes. I have decided to redo the plate for the sky, sun and field using the acetate. I will make up a mountboard plate for the tree line and church. I will use another technique – plasticene for the hedge (This provides a different image each time but can be used a good number of times). My cut out tree is still usable. The print will be an assembly of four pieces and I can still use tissue on the print paper to create colour. This gives me a lot of combinations and options for printing, but the main improvement I want to see is crisper printing. My next session is Thursday morning at art club, and Thursday afternoon at home. I need to complete 24 tasks in 13 days to allow myself two weeks for the final piece. I will aim at this but also forewarn my tutor. Thursday 20th March I have been granted an extension which feels really good, and I am pleased that the pressure has been lifted. Yesterday evening I found the acetate I had made when I learned the technique (on a day course at Kettle’s Yard Cambridge with Curwen Studio), and the notes I had made at the time. During my morning walk, I decided against the plasticene on the basis of “less is more” – I think it would be too many methods in one picture. So I am thinking more about using “cut away” methods with the acetate. I spent the afternoon starting to make a new plate. This time I am going right up to the edges to make ink rolling easier. I have obtained some sandpaper to use instead of the PVA, the marks are more stable. 20th to 27th March – working on acetate plate. Thursday 27th March This afternoon, I had chance to print from my finished acetate plate. I had problems with the plate being very slippery and moving whilst I was printing it, I also got uneven patches on my print. Some of my glued shapes started to drop off, although it was easy to ink them and place them individually and randomly on the print. I managed to get a print that I was happy with, so am very pleased that I stuck with it and did not move on too early. What works well?
- Dampened paper.
- Ink worked better when it was slightly wetted to improve flow.
- Mix inks/colours on plate
- Ink the plate with roller, then soft cloth. Complete polishing for a line print, or leave ink on to create darker areas. Be even and careful with the direction of wipe, and use it to your advantage.
- Leave a border around the WHOLE PICTURE and mask the edges when inking. It makes the plate much easier to handle and give a sharper edge with no smudges.
- Cut out shapes, retain the pieces and re-attach with STRONG GLUE. Electrician’s tape works very well and cuts easily, this creates 3 layers.
- A weighty object placed in the centre of a print holds everything in place while you work on hand-printing each area in turn. You can lift up edges to check (easy to accidentally leave pale/underprinted areas)