Series of Prints on a Theme 2: Hunter
This print is also based on a quick sketch, one which seemed to have potential for movement this time. I didn’t want to specify the activity, and in fact it could be interpreted as something other than hunting, as the action is taking place off-stage, as it were (a technique I thought was effective in Hasemann’s print).
This time, I used softcut. More for economic reasons. I decided it was going to be printed in blocks, and was quite happy to “waste” softcut if it didn’t work out, whereas my stock of the real lino seemed more precious.
Why colour blocks? Well, I started with some research.
Eileen Cooper RA
I was keen to find some appealing contemporary lino cuts. I did love the work of Richard Bawden, which has that same tension between flat decorative surface and solidity of forms I admired in Hasemann.
The prints I came across by Eileen Cooper seem to have a lively quality- their design has some of the primitivism and movement of Picasso and Matisse. They are unashamedly linocuts, and flaunt their cut surfaces. They are quite complex in their layering of colours.
This print, After Midnight, I think must have been done with at least 3 blocks, I can’t really tell. There’s definitely a yellow block, from which certain highlights are cut (hair, face , hands- or are these coloured in a flesh tint?) The background, woman’s shoe and the man’s top also contain no yellow.
The blue is printed over white of the paper on the background and on the woman’s shoe. It seems to be printed over yellow on the woman’s dress, on parts of the background, and in the pinstripes of the man’s suit.
There’s a black layer, or a dark layer- this could possibly be a reduction from block 1 or 2, but I’m confused because the man’s top seems to be another shade of blue, not black.
It’s basic maths that the number of colours that are used increases exponentially the number of combinations that can be produced.
So, on to mine, inspired by Eileen Cooper’s bold style.
My one is printed in three colours, pink, green then dark blue/grey. I used two types of paper, Chinese calligraphy paper, and papier de soie. The whole printing process was completed in an afternoon, in four copies, thanks to using water-based inks and the fact that the weather was so hot that the inks dried quickly.
Layer 1 is pink, meant to shine through the following two layers. It’s a comic caricature kind of pink, fleshy and solid. The next layer, the green, I adjusted after two prints, so that two of them have a slightly yellower hue while the second two are slightly bluer. The green layer was the one where I wanted to use the monoprinting effects I observed in Picasso’s Il Bandillero. After rolling on the ink, I wiped and scratched it.
This added a little time to the process and dried the ink a little more, so resulted in a generally more transparent layer as well, which I had been hoping for. The interaction between the green and the pink created lots of other effects, with varying colours, textures and densities. Also very interesting were the effects of slight creases in the papier de soie. Now, I had ironed this paper in readiness for printing, and I did slide another sheet of paper underneath when turning the block over to rub the back of the paper, but this is a very fine paper and it stretches slightly. But, in fact I like the result. No, really, it’s not just an excuse! The small cracked lines of pure colour, as well as the white scratched effects, give it an aged look. By contrast, the Chinese calligraphy paper has a ridged pattern which shows up in certain areas. What a difference the paper makes.
I was only able to use these two papers for this print as it is an A4 block, and the other papers I have here are not big enough.
Finally, the dark outline layer. The registration of all three layers is not perfect, but it’s somehow ok with this print. In the end, I am pleased with it. I feel it references comic book heroes in its style, with its dark outline and its complementary colours, and alpha male archetypes in its subject matter, and therefore stands in clear contrast in both technique and content to the previous print.
So far, so good. A series is developing… I think both of these are developments in their own way from the Kneeling Woman woodcut. I also have a contrast there- the suffering woman and the Vamp jigsaw linocut. Perhaps these are ideas to develop. Male and female roles. But that would mean bringing back something I had prepared earlier. Probably not admissible…?