Preparation & design choice
This project involves multi-block lino printing. I spent a little time researching images and analyzing possible methods and order of work.
The weekend AFR reviewed Cookery Postcards from Penguin: One Hundred Cookbook Covers in One Box, published by Penguin. How these images are initially produced I don’t know but they gave me food for thought (!!). The main image shows three coloured prints with none overlapping but together they form a cohesive design.
The smaller images are quite different. I’m drawn to the top right hand one in particular. The first two colours form a wallpaper style background, again not overlapping, with a totally different black image superimposed over this. It has added dimension, visual interest and a complexity that I don’t see in the first piece.
The bottom left picture has less colours than you may think but careful planning has achieved a busy and inviting book cover. It is made up of brown, blue, red and black but with segregated areas united by overlapping text and flags it feels very alive and active, but not overloaded.
The first three works above are by Tony Coleing and are described as ‘linocut, printed in colour, from two blocks’. The colours do not overlap – except very slightly on the shot man – and Google shows me that Coleing seems to enjoy single colour prints or those with just a touch of a second colour. The red creates a focal point in some of his works. My preference is for the Womens Weekly – red heads print. The carving is bold and has produced a strong statement. The Womens Weekly depicts a silhouette that is clearly fashionable, whilst the red-head match is just dying to be struck into flame.
I’ve learned the most from Mark Hearld (last photo above). His two coloured print Rooster has opened my eyes to new possibilities. I thought at first that the blue layer was fairly random but on closer inspection selected areas are left blank whilst adding highlights or shadows in other places.
What has attracted my attention most is the black layer. The artist has moved from positive to negative printing within single items. A close up, to the left, shows a long plant stem & leaves which smoothly moves between print and non-print sections along the length. The leaves are fabulous, some white with extreme detail whilst others are a simple black silhouette, perhaps indicating background and shadow. This positive/negative style is used to great effect in many parts of this work. A Google image search on his name brings up many more similar examples.
Ed Kutz Blickling Hall (top image above) appeals to my neat, tidy and precise personality. It’s a clear uncluttered print, simplified and stylized (would make a great jigsaw). However, as can be seen below, there is a surprising amount of colour overlay.
I came across Gail Brodholt (images above) via the learning log of one of my classmates. I watched the video she mentioned and found it fascinating. My course manual tells me what I instinctively knew, and is very logical, which is to use the lightest colour first, overlay a mid tone and finish with the darkest. Above, if you can read my tiny numbering, you can see Brodholt has used dark blue first, then semi translucent pale yellow/beige, followed by brilliant orange (which has turned brownish over the blue) and finally an egg-yolk yellow layer. What a result! I’ve made a note to try layering the oil paints on a scrap before printing so I can assess exactly what to expect. Yes, I know I’ve overlaid colours before but I think it’s worth a sampler before mixing and possibly making a mistake on a fairly important piece.
Whilst in New Zealand recently I visited Hobbiton, the set where The Hobbit and part of The Lord of the Rings was filmed. Whilst not a fan of The Hobbit movie I’ve long been interested in models, scaled reproductions, theatre sets, props and the like, so it was a wonderful day. Hobbiton had to be built twice. The first time was temporary and just for a couple of months filming, then later the set was rebuilt in weatherproof material and stands as a tourist attraction. I loved it and took a lot of photos. I’ve decided to use this one as the basis of my linoprint.
I started by making a very detailed pencil drawing. It took many hours but I enjoyed it and it focussed my eye on each area.
I changed the angle slightly, bringing the Hobbit house more forward facing. I then started a new drawing simplifying where I could and sticking to the three main colours I could see in the original photo – green, red and grey.
At this stage I photocopied the image above several times. I’m currently drawing a range of house surrounds on the photocopies and as I find something I like I’m cutting, pasting and collaging them together to create my final design, which will be in my next blog post.
Weekend Australian Financial Review – Cookery book covers
http://www.printsandprintmaking.gov.au – Tony Coleing images
http://www.gailbrodholt.com/about-gail-brodholt/about-linocuts.html – info on Gail Brodholt.