Link to Supporting statement
So, I think that’s about it for this course. I’ve enjoyed it a lot and now would like to try out other printmaking methods which use line- I’ll take a short course in intaglio this summer, and would like to go on to the second level course. I see it offering lots of ways of developing drawings. I really like lino- and wood-cutting, and have come to know and think a lot more about printing surfaces, the effects of different papers. I was a little less keen on monoprinting on its own, and with collographs (I did feel very enthusiastic at first about the idea of knitting prints, but it fell flat when I didn’t get much feedback on that, so I reckoned it wasn’t really a way to go )- I think that was because both were less than satisfactory without a press. I’m also a lot more knowledgeable now about materials, and how they are affected by external factors such as temperature and humidity. I’ve been struggling getting supplies from the start, and in fact, only now, when I’ve got to the end, do I feel that I have everything I need. My other challenge of course is having everything I need in one place! I won’t manage it all in the case to go back to Hong Kong next week. But now, I have more idea how to improvise, how to redo things, how to solve problems. It’s the nature of a level one course for a complete beginner that up until the end, you’re operating with a partial view.
Now, I have a pile of sketches for a version of a religious icon- I was inspired by the handpainted folk art images on glass in the Museum of the Romanian Peasant. These will link back nicely to my earlier crucifixion pictures, and give me a great excuse to apply more gold leaf…
This was my plan:
The final series:
- Woman kneeling (woodcut and chine colle, printed on white Sakusi A3 paper)
- Belle du Jour (3 lino blocks, monoprint and gold leaf, printed on newspaper, roughly A2)
- Meditation (single linocut block, metal leaf, printed on A3 mulberry paper)
- Hunter (3 lino blocks, monoprint, printed on papier de soie, or on Chinese calligraphy paper: still deciding which I prefer. The papier de soie is a bit of a challenge to mount. Roughly A3.)
I chose these four to form the series, as they represent different fundamental human experiences, and aspects of males and females- the kneeling woman is in pain and the colours of the chine colle evoke childbirth: matched with this, the Hunter is the stereotypical alpha male, active, reaching outside the frame, and the skin colour is vulgarly pink and fleshy, dominating nature.
Belle du jour is a kneeling pose that contrasts completely with the kneeling woman above, which is why I wanted so much to include that one. Meditation is of indeterminate gender and is meant to be a very quiet print, in contrast to the others. The colour is plain and the mulberry paper soft. I finally managed to get the gold leaf to stick, and have made various versions using gold, silver, copper and bronze suggesting the spiritual richness which contrasts with the rather etiolated body.
It was very satisfying, if a little unexpected, to be able to draw such links between life drawing and printing, and to find the quick routine sketches such a rich source of ideas for prints that tell stories. I’ve tended to paint in the past, mainly landscapes, painted en plein air, and tended to avoid figures in them. I’m now very attracted to the narrative potential of figures in imaginary settings – even the rather bland and bored straight-line anatomies that are the staple of the Hong Kong life-drawing sessions can suggest an archetypal pose or evoke an emotion. This is something I will continue to explore.
Yes, did I mention that I finally got gold leaf to stick?
One of my finds in Bucharest was a little alley way of art shops. There I found different colours of leaf, and, finally, glue to stick it on with. So I went back to complete the “Meditation” print.
I have now been able to decorate it with silver, gold, copper and bronze coloured leaf. Of them all, I think the bronze is the most effective, as it relates to the bronze bowl Buddhist monks carry, and creates the most realistic colour for falling leaves.
So here it is, at last. Here, the leaf has a much different message to the one it conveys in the Belle du Jour print, where it is tawdry, peeling, and ironic. Here it is delicate and sincere, on soft mulberry paper. Worth the wait!