The points made by my tutor I wish to draw on for this response relate to her guidance regarding other printmakers I may find of interest.
Whilst I feel that I’ve floundered around a lot during the first half of this course my tutor has obviously managed to see something in my work which has provided her an insight into the visual styles I lean towards. When I received her report I was quite amazed at her insightfulness.
The first artist she has pointed me towards is Angie Lewin.
I already own her book and am enthralled with her way of reproducing the world around her. Angie has mastered the art of simplification – but as I write the word ‘simplification’ I realise that is not all and I should comment on her stylized effects. She has not simply removed some of the aspects, so minimizing the images, but has added her own unique touches.
The plants and flowers she studies have had their extreme real-life detail removed and replaced with markings still totally recognisable, engaging and elegant. The elements have movement and life and although each component has been drawn flatly (with no shadowing effects) the layering of imagery forms a depth and complexity to each composition.
In a complete contrast to the soft image above, with the fronds and stems gently swaying in the breeze, we have Red Meadow – a very bold and dynamic piece with sharp outlines and a jagged harshness. Just gorgeous.
Clare Curtis is a new person to me and I’m already loving what I’m seeing. Not only has she been proposed by my tutor at the end of this project but she is also a suggested artist to research (in the OCA course manual) for Project 8.
Explore Landing and what can be achieved with only three colours (black, grey and ochre). Having now cut quite a bit of lino myself I’m astounded at the fine detail throughout the piece – just concentrate on the cranes and the clock face alone.
This type of composition has the same feel as those I analysed recently by Edward Bawden. I find myself visually pulled from the front quay, past the wharf buildings, and into the heart of the town behind. There is so much to see, so much going on, and the spacial relationships and angles at which the individual components are sitting create volume and a clear foreground, middle ground and background. This looks to me like a reduction lino-print.
Above is her lino-cut Helius, not a reduction but rather a multiblock print. Here I see the translucency in inks that I’m also favouring. It’s my view that only three colours have been used: a rich yellow, a translucent scarlet red and a translucent black. A lovely orange has been produced where the scarlet has overlapped the yellow and it’s easy to see the colour layers under the black which alter the strength and hue of the black, creating a semi-shadow effect. Interesting that my final colour choices for project 8 also used yellow and scarlet to create the orange, with a deeper red later to bring out more red/orange.
Again I find a busy complex design with great interest and depth. As yet I haven’t really worked with any perspective and depth in my compositions but it’s something I should try.
Beached uses strong colours and produces a sharp, precise, clear-cut image with a little colour-mixing evident on the dark rocks, back right. It looks like some of the ink was gently wiped away before printing so the fawn/beige could come through.
In Summertime a completely different image results from the extreme translucency of the inks used. A clever way of showing the jug and glass contents as liquid – there are even ice cubes floating in the juice.
Clare Curtis is very versatile and produces images imaginatively using lino-cut methods and I’m excited by her work.
Who knows how my own work will evolve but I’m enjoying researching and discovering a range of artists working with lino creating many different outcomes.
Angie Lewin, Plants and Places, Published by Merrell Publishers Ltd, London. 2010. ISBN 978-1-8589-4536-1 P90, 91 & 147.
Permission to use images from Clare Curtis