Assignment 4


Open College of the Arts

Tutor report


Student name Christine Bruce Student number 505070
Course/Module Printmaking 1 Assignment number 4



Overall Comments


Considering some of your early negative judgements about collage in general, you’ve really come to this assignment with an open mind and happily engaged in it. You’re seen it’s unique experimental nature and used it to suit your preferences and subject matter and having the use of an etching press has allowed you to see even more of its potential. You’ve used a good range of materials to illustrate your figurative drawing and allowed for varied depths of tone throughout. Your surprising discoveries along the way have inspired your ideas and you could now explore further imagery to translate into collagraph.




Assessment potential (after Assignments 1 and 4)



I understand your aim is to go for the Creative Arts Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, and providing you commit yourself to the course, I suggest that you are likely to be successful in the assessment.



Feedback on assignment


Project 11


Your test collage prints show a good range of man-made and natural materials and have printed well on cartridge paper with a good even coverage of ink. It’s good to see you respond to these prints with ideas for future prints where the materials could be used to translate your ideas. Manipulating and distressing some of the materials can be interesting too, like snipping at the string or moulding and folding aluminum foil. You could also try drawing into the foil with a ball-point pen. Regular and irregular patterns and shapes can be created by cutting, ripping or tearing and string line drawings are a good way to develop your prints. There are numerous different types of string, from thick to thin, to natural and man-made plastic coated string. Florist twine and wires of varying thicknesses also make for good ways of drawing; bending, folding and overlapping line that lead to investigating positive and negative shapes.

Yes, this process of printing can seem quite child-like and naive – you certainly don’t always get what you’d planned for, however it does free you up and brings with it happy accidents and surprising successes. It’s all about knowing your materials and testing and trying things out until you find something that you can work with, and often less is more, as you soon realise in your following string drawing prints. When you start to consider building up surfaces with carborundum grit, tile adhesive and grouts and plaster sanded back and gouged into – the possibilities really are endless, especially if you’re able to print using a press and make the most of every textural surface. The very way you ink your plate up will achieve different results; with a roller so the ink just touches the relief parts, or Intaglio, where the ink sits in the recesses and is drawn out onto damp paper during the printing process. The base board that you use for your collagraphs can make a large difference too; whether it’s mountboard card, perspex, steel or hardboard every surface brings with it it’s own unique properties. You can also use PVA glue and varnish to produce highlighted areas where the ink can wiped away with cotton buds and tissue paper. Shellac varnish (or French Button Polish – in flake form to be mixed with methylated spirit)is best to coat and seal your plates prior to printing, so that damp rags that clean it during each print don’t start to break it down. It is by nature a very experimental printing process, and can work equally well standing alone or in combination with another process like monoprint. The corrugated card used as a base for both versions has shows its own texture, which can detract form the visibility of the materials themselves. Corrugated card can be peeled and layers removed by tearing to produce interesting effects too.


Project 12


Your reclining nude variations are beautiful, very inventive and imaginative. The formal shapes showing the difference in surrounding negative shape and the positive figure shape are well balanced and the eye is drawn into the image. From you original drawing it now takes on a whole new persona, albeit flattened, but with a sense of movement and atmosphere. The soft effects using the dabber have a spontaneous feel, uncontrolled, and yet deliberate in their application. The left over ink from the previous print shows through and gives a greater sense of depth and space. Where there are definite blocks of colour in the background that depth and space is more evident, so bringing a subtle contrast together of the two would be appealing. The calligraphy paper and oil based inks have been worth experimenting with. My preferred version is version 3, where you bring stronger colours together with the use of pink tissue paper (this chine colle process can be expanded on further in the following assignment) It has the softness of each fibre and the strength of the black outlines and surrounding border. More colours could detract from the central role of the figure, but you could try dabbing ink into the surrounding round area and it would have to be a soft, light colour. What glue did you use to apply the tissue paper? I would suggest spray mount adhesive is best, rather than a glue stick or PVA.

Your further versions are all very unique and individual, exploring a range of inking processes and papers and make good use of ghost prints after a heavy first print; along with selective rolling and turpentine wipes. It’s the subtleties of suggestion and softness that suit the image and striking that balance is seen well in the blue/black version with chine colle. You could try other colours of tissue paper and the balance of weight throughout the whole picture plane could be enhanced by rolling or dabbing ink into the bottom of the plate right up to the edge of the curved string. This would allow the lightness to be present in the upper part of the picture and give a further sense of perspective.




The original sketch that relates to your prints makes for good starting point for your prints. You have not found the inclination to produce any preparatory sketches in your sketchbook and worked most intuitively with the printing process. You could have explored other figurative positions and made some quick pencil, ink and pastels studies in your book, or even use it to cut and paste swatches of colour and texture. Some very light ghost prints could be worked into with pastel, or cut and collaged in new ways, or perhaps even be used as chine colle.



Learning Logs/Critical essays


Your learning log and critical statements run throughout your blog, where you confidently reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. It’s good to see you having enjoyed this assignment…eventually! You struggled with some preconceptions and negative judgements about collage in general, but have surprised yourself by using the process to your own gain; with purpose and conviction. Your written synopsis is evidence of this, but you could start addressing how you could progress and take your prints further; what is it that you might like about a particular image, what is it resonating and how can it be improved or explored? It would be good to see you drawing influence from other artists in your log – books and references on your blog only go up to assignment 2 and there are only a few artists mentioned in your ‘other artists’ section. Matisse’s nudes are worth noting, and Mary Stork too –

Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore have exploited form through sculpture, drawing and printmaking.



Suggested reading/viewing


Linda Farquharson (lino)

Misch Kohn (lino and collage)

Katrina Cook (etching)

Shiko Munakata (woodblock)

Nik Pollard ( )

Lill Tschudi (1911-2001)




Pointers for the next assignment

You now have the opportunity to hone in on a particular area of interest, whether representational or abstract and you can enjoy the given freedom that this final assignment allows. Draw on your previous enjoyment of shape and colour; perhaps using masks again in new and innovative ways. Monoprint and lino can be used together in many ways, one over the other and try out a number of different coloured/textured papers for your chine colle – the thin tissue papers or fibre papers are good. Look for inspiration that is connected to you and may tell a story in some way; giving way for your own personal voice to speak just as it has in previous assignments!




Tutor name: Nichola White
Date 6th May 2012
Next assignment due June/July 2012



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