Print 1. Project 4: Dread

With war and terrorism prominent in the news these days I considered the emotions of the population caught up in war zones, those who don’t have anything to do with the fight but who are trapped in regions of unrest and fighting.  I thought about the unpredictability of their situation and what they might be thinking:  Will they come out alive?  Will their lives be forever changed?  Will their homes be destroyed?  Will they be able to find food, water and medicine?  How will they rebuild the future?  Who will be in control and how will that effect them?

The two emotions I felt could be applied to each of these hypothetical questions are fear and dread.  I went with dread.

War-1Not wanting to depict something too visually contemporary I selected war images from WWI.  These were collaged, lightened and cut to shape before printing on to paper.

War-2Charcoal grey was mixed and, using a mask, printed as a border and bar.  This is intended to indicate the feeling of being trapped within – within a situation, within a geographical location, within something that you have no control over.

War-3Print 1: 110gsm cartridge paper.  Imagery as described.  Red paint was spattered on to the print plate.  I tried white spirits to dissipate it, as a technique suggested by my tutor earlier in the course, but it had no effect on these oils.  So the spatter was roughly wiped with a paper cloth.  A final very light ghost print of translucent red was applied over the whole print.

War-4Print 2: 80gsm photocopy paper.  Not having used text before, and using a mask, I decided to add DREAD prior to the red layers.  The red spatter is a ghost print from the first image (repositioned twice), whilst the more solid overlay is a ghost print from Print 3 below.

War-5Print 3: 185gsm smooth watercolour paper.  Here I made the lettering much more prominent as it seemed to disappear into the print on the last version.  I also left out the spatter and created a much more solid and  semi-translucent red overlay.  The roller was used roughly, so leaving lines, marks and a variation in colour density.  The edges of the print were not masked, hence the uneven outer edges where the roller was applied to the print plate forming a rough rectangular outline.

Maybe not a concept that is truly unique but I’m fairly pleased with the experimentation.  I learned a lot regarding creating texture, adding text, positioning and overlaying colours, especially over darker  layers.

Techniques used include collage & collage manipulation, layering colours, rolling unevenly to create texture and interest, spattering paint with brushes, positive and negative masking, textural effects using rough paper cloths, working with text, freeform print edges without using a print plate edge or masks.

I’m not sure how these will be received by my tutor (or anyone else interested) but I’m fairly happy with the outcome of Print 3.

Below, ghost print of lettering on A4 paper.  All other prints on A3.

DREADImage Resources:
Firing squad
Sacrificed in vain
Shore landing & Men with gun & American soldier
Crashed plane
Gun Crew


About Claire B

I am a passionate printmaker, paper maker and book artist. I'm a 'forever' student and frequently attend courses and workshops to extend and improve my creative skills.
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3 Responses to Print 1. Project 4: Dread

  1. Jane B (epocktextiles) says:

    I must say, these do not leave me with a happy feeling, so the emotion is there

    • Claire B says:

      I’ve recently been involved with an on-line discussion re what constitutes art. One of the things that came up is that it is something that may not be immedialtely obvious, makes you think and evokes an emotion. Well I feel I’ve achieved all three of those but I wouldn’t be confident enough to decide if they are art or rubbish.
      Having said that, I’ve also been researching textural monoprints on the net and much of what I’ve found I’m also having difficulty in deciding if they are art or rubbish but as most are in art gallery collections I guess they are art.
      Many of these abstract pieces are very subjective and I feel that their true worth can often only be appreciated by the maker.
      In the case of my Dread pieces I am veering away from the art label. Let’s see what my tutor thinks.

  2. Pingback: Print 1. Assignment 1: Tutor feedback response | TactualTextiles

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