Print 1. Project 15: Working on the theme

In this project I am required to produce a series of 4 prints with a related theme which demonstrate a variety of techniques learned throughout the course.

I’ve been back through the projects to assess what type of work I’ve produced so far and where I need to experiment further.  To date my work encompasses the following:

  • Abstract: shapes – circles and rectangles.
  • Abstract: colours and mark-making – early monoprints.
  • Self portraits – strange views but the way I see myself.  These weren’t popular with my advisors but they still intrigue me.
  • Current affairs – my interpretation of the word DREAD in relation to war.
  • Still life – bowls, tulip and a simple 2 piece setting.
  • Static stand-alone imagery – candle, shoe.
  • Imagery with movement – eagles, seashells, carousel horses, gecko on wall.
  • Rural landscape – bush fires, lotus flowers, and a monoprint from a very early project.
  • Static room setting.

So where are the gaps and what did I particularly enjoy that I could develop further or push in another direction?
Obviously the prints have been done over the last 15 months and I’ve been improving my technique all the time, so whilst some of what I like might not be the best printed the subject matters that capture my attention most are:


This composition was a huge step forward for me.  I’ve seen many excellent depictions of shells and always drawn rubbish myself.  My eye finds it hard to persuade my hand to draw realism as I tend to see very ‘flat’ imagery.

However, in this piece I do see dimension, I do see movement and I’ve managed to simplify complex shapes and markings into a one layer linocut that has a range of focal interest across the entire composition.

What did I learn?  I can work from real objects and translate them into successful prints that showcase items immediately recognisable and within a contained setting, rather than a simple stand alone form (eg: the slightly earlier shoe design – beautifully cut and presented but with a very solitary presence).


P15-research2For someone with my personality (extreme organisation, planning and forethought) this series was a stunning revelation.  It is for me, without question, the best work I’ve produced throughout this course.  Only three sketches were made, from my imagination, and the three stages of the encroaching and receding fire were printed from these initial concepts.  The project wasn’t over-thought, it was very spontaneous and the results reflect that.

What did I learn?  Please, Claire, stop overplanning.  It’s hard to be creative when you’re leaving yourself little wriggle room.  Why do I continue to agonise over every step but be much freer when attending workshops that are print-related but not part of this course?  I’m fighting my own personality and in workshops there simply isn’t time to procrastinate.  My view is “I’ll just do what I can because it doesn’t really matter what the results are, I can redo them at home if I want to”.  But when it comes to course assignments I continue to tighten up.

P15-research3Carousel Horses:

The style and mindset are reminiscent of the seashells above.

I seriously stalled in project 13.  I had a lot of negative external interference around my studies and lost momentum.  I wavered a lot over the subject matter and I started panicking about running out of time.

Once I’d finally decided on horses, having taken many photos of carousels, I realised I couldn’t draw them so I had to master that – with the help of my drawing tutorial books and on-line lessons.

What did I learn?  I started with nothing, no ideas, no concept, not an inkling.  I learned that if you persevere with an idea, research other artists, evolve your thoughts, mull over your theme with friends and record every nuance (even those that don’t work) something will float to the surface to build on.

Lotus flowers:

P15-research4This single layer print was my first produced on foamex board, a product I have grown very fond of.  Again, it is stylised but was created from a different start point from the three previous works.  In this case I took extensive photographs of the lotus beds in the Sydney Botanic Gardens.  They were used as the basis for the design and were hugely influential when forming the image perspective and component placement.  My personal goal for this project was to create a visual story around a single subject matter.

Whilst the carousel horses also started out from photographs they morphed into imagery that barely reflected my research material.

What did I learn?  Multiple views and resizing of the subject adds interest.  The cut border line makes the print feel framed even though parts of the imagery sit outside the frame.  I love the dabbing technique: roll over some areas, wipe back where necessary and dab or brush selected areas – this has really captured me and will become something I use often.

Where to now?

It’s time to choose what I want to print.  Looking at what I’ve done so far I can see a gap – an urban landscape.  It’s not something that I think will be easy but it provides scope to produce a series of prints that are related.   An exploratory day out with the camera is the next step.  I’m quite excited at this new direction, and also to see what I can encompass from the points I’ve learned from the pieces I’ve printed above.


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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1 Response to Print 1. Project 15: Working on the theme

  1. Pingback: Print 1. Project 15: Printing and thinking. | TactualTextiles

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