How interesting that before coming to this part of the course I have already reviewed the two artists we are required to explore now.
The video below is an excellent introduction to Mark Hearld and it gives a very good overview of his inspirations, linocuts, collage and lithography, as well as some of his other related interests.
Hearld studied illustration at the Glasgow College of Art and later competed an MA in Natural History Illustration elsewhere. This formal education and training has heavily influenced his linocuts and other forms of printing and collage. The bold sketcherly effects of his compositions, and colour work, portray a confidence harking back to strong prior learning and an understanding of visual art.
His inspiration comes from flora and fauna of the countryside and he depicts them in familiar settings, both urban and rural. His simplified imagery portrays a sense of movement and sound. Can I say sound? This lovely depiction of a blackbird is very evidently chirping and flapping. I can sense it, both from the busy background to the wide eye and open beak of the bird itself. It shows agitation and perhaps anxiety. Is it a mother protecting her nest and chicks? Or is it chirping and searching for its mate?
Whatever the story, and that’s in the imagination of the viewer, the piece is lively and engaging.
Again, in this design I see a drastically reduced colour palette and a strong visual outcome. I absolutely love this layout and print result. The strong black edging frames the main subject matter whilst at the same time drawing the eye around the composition due to the roughly oval inner shaping of the work.
Despite the hard black outer edging the two starlings remain the dominant focal interest. Part of this is due to their size, clearly positioned in the foreground, but also as a result of the precise but minimal engraving on each bird. Enough lino has been removed to give dimension to the starlings but their strength lies in the amount of lino left to print.
As well as my own interest in Edward Bawden I note that Mark Heald also spoke of him, and his influences, in the video above and I can see the same wonderful perspective in Starlings on the Shore as I see in much of Bawdens work.
The more I explore lino cutting the more I enjoy what I discover and learn.