Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Making monoprints

Apart from the usual work on collagraphs that are in progress and finishing off drawings, the latest venture has been completion of a monoprint piece, made up of 3, 20 x 20 cms parts. It follows the theme of the High Country, and is referenced from photos I took of native beech leaves, in the forests of Mt Erica (near Baw Baw), one of my favourite walking places. Years ago, we used to walk to the summit there and sit and enjoy a panoramic view over the mountains of the Great Divide, stretching away in varying shades of blue towards the horizon. 

Now the walk near the mountain top is through snow gums which have grown back since cattle stopped grazing there in summer, and the panoramic view has gone. I do miss it, though of course the snow gums are beautiful too, with their vivid bark colours in never-endingly different patterns, tempting me to take just one more photograph.

The work is not just monoprint. Like all of my bright ideas, it involves lots of painstakingly cut details, collaged onto the monoprinted leaves, as well as some coloured pencil work.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Playing with strips of paper

I have just finished a 3 part collage series. Yet again, it was one of those projects which sounded good at the time but which involved a lot of painstaking work. I really have a talent for tackling things like that.

The work is inspired by Snow Gum bark and its sinuous flow of lines and vivid colours and is part of my current theme, the High Country.

My approach was to glue thin strips of paper of varying colours onto boards, based on a broad, preconceived idea and then adding further strips to this base, until I was happy.

The first step of course was to produce the coloured paper and again, it was a time consuming process, involving sponging watery acrylic paint in a variety of colours, onto paper and building the colour up over a number of “coats,” with drying time in between. When I was about half way through the project I realised that there would not be enough of the coloured paper, so I had to have another sponging bee. Then, after I decided that I was not happy with a couple of areas and pulled everything off, another lot of paper was also required of course.

Still, I am now fairly happy with the results and, like any project, a lot was learnt that would make the process more streamlined if, in the future, I was ever foolish enough to succumb to a similar bright idea.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Some prints at last

There is a lot of work on the go but until now I have not had any “High Country” work complete and ready to share.

The drawings are detailed and slow to finish as I work in layers, building up the blacks for depth and the whites for highlights, just using a HB pencil and a pencil eraser. There are 12 drawings roughed out and I collect one from the studio regularly in the evening and “doodle” away at it under a very bright LED light, while I listen to an audio book (one of my other addictions – definitely better for the mind and soul than TV). It will be months before any are complete.

I have also prepared a lot of plates and am now working my way through printing them one at a time. Plate 1 is done (see attached plate and print). This too is a slow process (something at which I seem to excel), as each plate is worked up in stages. The first stage is to create an impasto gel “texture” on the plate for the flower and leaf colours. Once these colours are printed I then paste paper over them as a “mask,” create the background with textured impasto gel and print the plate in a dark colour. Finally, I use a coloured pencil to provide greater definition and depth to my satisfaction.

The most tedious part of the process, is cutting, testing for size and finally

pasting on all of the fiddly little shapes after the colours have been printed. Despite having a tracing of the plate, I frequently find that I have to draw and cut a shape 2 or 3 times before it completely covers the impasto gel texture beneath it. The image of the plate (attached) shows why I find this process difficult. There are after all lots of very small pieces of paper to attach and yes, I know, many would say that I am crazy…..

A nine panel monotype and coloured pencil work, inspired by Snow Gum bark, is another thing completed recently (see panel egs below)