Assignment 5


Open College of the Arts

Tutor report


Student name Christine Bruce Student number 505070
Course/Module Printmaking 1 Assignment number 5



Overall Comments


The quality of your work as well as the volume is very strong in your final assignment. There may not be so much evidence of planning in your sketchbook, but the preparation for much of your work is in the many series of prints that relate to particular themes. You assess their strengths and weakness and your own working process and ideas, before attempting further investigations and experiments and all is collated and expressed clearly in your blog.  Your subject matters are powerful and full of narrative, and you are influenced and inspired by other artists throughout the project; helping to guide your own individual concepts about how you see your work evolving.

Your highly creative approach to either printing with full control and deliberation, or allowing the process itself to guide and lead you using a more spontaneous, painterly and expressive approach to monoprinting in particular is very good to see at this stage in your development.



Feedback on assignment Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity


Project 13


‘Rood Tree’

Developing your previous rune prints, you bring words to life in a playful, yet powerful way here; with numerous versions all resonating a different mood, depending on the monoprint background. Each letter that forms the words is skilfully cut and you have displayed a real inventive and imaginative approach to story telling through print. The monoprint is soft and subtle,, and the tree like branches could also re[resent a hand with finger splayed open. The limited colour palette certainly adds to their success and it’s been worthwhile exploring how the positive and negative first and ghost versions look. Your valid decision to show the inked outlines of the text adds interest and contrast and gives them a three dimensional effect that looks as if they’ve been hand stamped from a block. You have played with a few monoprint backgrounds, each of which works in it’s own way, telling a different story. The cross is particularly impressive as the angle of the viewpoint suggest the viewer is looking up at it. Your decision to print the word idolarie in red is arresting; could this be exploited with other words? Could the torn paper mask effects combine both positive and ghost print on one print, each slightly off-centre, but overlapping to produce an additional layer of depth and transparency?


‘Once in a Pool of Light’

An enchanting and agin story telling subject, but not as strong as successful as  some of your other prints. The hand-colouring with drawing inks does in effect make it a monoprint, as it’s a one off, but technically there’s no monoprint process happened. You’ve cut the lino well to establish good clear white areas to infill with colour and could delicately use tissue papers papers to cut and tear into these figurative shapes. The large areas of collaged papers that you’ve printed on bring a sense of light when the black overprint lino is transferred on top, but the buckling and ripple effect of the tissue paper detracts from the overall finish. The blue version is similar, but it’s interesting to see just how atmospheric colour can be on the whole. Combining the tissue with tracing paper and exploring layers of overlaid colours suggests depths reminiscent of the subject matter, but tracing paper is far from absorbing and is not usually a good choice for printing onto. Without seeing some of these prints first hand, it’s difficult with some versions to get a true sense of the effects of the papers you’ve printed on.


‘Kitty Cougar’

This print is full of energy, light and drama – it’s scale and subject is a great difference to your previous prints, and it’s really positive to see you expressing your ideas with such confidence and enthusiasm! Inking the lino up with a brush changes the how the ink is transferred and absorbed into the paper. It’s selectively patchy and light in areas, but this in some ways adds to it’s appeal,, and is the nature of brushing the ink on. You could try dabbing it on too with cloths and cotton buds, alongside certain areas that could be rolled-up. This would then produce a greater contrast in depth of colour; light and dark areas and space. Your aim however does suggest the figure is lying down; the colours are light and soft, and you have mixed varying shades of light and dark to suggest shadow and form. I love the other version too; in great contrast, with it’s strong, bold red bikini and blue gloves. Backdrawing is an additional technique that has helped to add line and contours, but could be applied in a darker colour as an overprint to help outline the figure and define her form more.


Project 14


Woman Kneeling:

This woodcut reminds me of some of Edvard Munch or Kandinsky’s stark and simple, yet bold and powerful imagery. Rather than cutting a whole area away, you’ve allowed the cut marks to play an integral part of the image, adding definition and texture. The pale tissue used as chine colle allows it stand out on the warm, red background paper. The crumpled nature of the paper does add an irregularity to it’s application, but it ideally needs to be stuck as flat as possible to the backing paper, and spraymount is a good adhesive for this.

Using the chine colle paper to ‘colour in’ shapes and areas of the print is very effective, and often how this technique is best utilised. The focus is more on the figure, but there’s a far softer contrast between the tissue paper and the background paper. You could also try simple torn vertical strips of tissue laid in the negative areas surrounding the figure . The red version is emotive and it’s interesting when the tissue paper travels off the border of the lino print.



You work well when exploring variations on a theme and here the juxtaposition of colour, the contrasts of light and dark, texture and form is appealing. You’ve used the chine colle papers to good effect now with a spray adhesive, and there’s a continuous play on how the eye is perceiving these colour contrasts – there’s a sense of harmony at times, but also tension. The top right is light and cool compared with the others and makes good use of layering tissue, tracing paper and rainbow rolled inking. The wiping away of ink in the red and white top left print is most dramatic, and this experimental approach to inking up your plates and blocks should continue to be explored. It’s a print that would benefit from being seen in the flesh as apposed to a photograph.


Gaughin still-life:

Starting out with your chine colle, using Gaughin as inspiration, this series of woodcut using oil based inks is excellent. The composition is very well balanced, there’s harmony in the colours with a  sense of life and fun in the  relationship between each object. The papers placed specifically within the forms of the fruits, rather than randomly placed, give them structure, bring out shadows and highlights and allow the black outline of the block to define the whole composition. It’s really good to see a sketchbook study here too; the freedom expressed in line, pattern and colour is wonderful ,and I’d love to have seen more studies like this! The bleeding of the inks and chine colle papers adds to their appeal…it’s not all about perfection and keeping inside the confines of the outline. The version where the papers are laid down in fairly abstract ways tells of a more exciting and lively story.



Once in a pool:

The reiteration of print over the tissue is good, and the textural qualities apparent, like leather, are appealing and you could extend your experiments with scratching into the ink to take this further. The tissue crinkles and buckles though, and this can take away the power of the figure and birds in the pond. You could trying a paper that’s not so thin as tissue such as a cartridge or photocopy paper. Spraymount adhesive applied to the paper need only be a mist spray all over, rather than wetting the paper with glue.


Project 15



This is one of you most successful prints. Technically it’s strong, where you exploit your illustrative skills well. I’d like to have seen some of your quick life drawing sketches that inspired this whole project. It has personal meaning to you in a number of symbolic ways, it draws the viewer in and calls to communicate some emotion. Don;t worry about being too conscious of trying to produce an image that can be called ‘art’. Art is in the eye of the behold, just like beauty – the confines of boundaries between art, illustration and design are all one and here you have bought them together to produce an excellent print. The choice of paper and the new lino have certainly helped to produce a crisp, clean finish with the printing and you managed to apply the bronze leaf to highlight important parts of this image.



The relationship between the complimentary red and green here is most exciting. The way you’ve cut out the figure and his surrounds looks primitive and harsh, along with the angles of viewpoints. His head is not quite in proportion, but this doesn’t matter too much; as you note, it was important that you began to explore how the very process of printing and figure drawing that was immediate, fresh and energetic. There’s slight misalignment in the registration, which if in line would hold all the more steady. I’m drawn to want to know what he’s doing with his axe; cutting, chopping, fighting? A story is told once again through drama and mystery.


Belle du Jour

A superb print, using newsprint text, gold leaf, mono and relief in combination, but it;s the colours that are most warming along with the flaky, patchy effects of an aged poster; torn and distressed. I want to see examples of printing at each stage and layer – which parts are monoprinted (background, backdrawing?) and which are lino (bikini, gloves and hair?) It may well be an experimental print, but it has great potential for further studies of prints made in this vain. It;s not all about perfection, but expression and enjoyment in the process of making. The dirt and glamour become one,, sitting in harmony, one complimenting the other.



The faded painting on a wall, symbolizing a city with a past, and here you use text to play an important part in telling this story. The effects are more subtle and soft, due to how you’ve transferred the ink to the paper. Did you use ghost prints? How did you get to this stage having used multiple steps – did you try things out on other papers or have any preparatory sketchbook work? There could be danger of over-using text here where it can risk loosing it’s meaning. The highlights on the figures legs, waist and neck are an important part of creating the solid form and bringing it forward in it’s perspective.




Sketchbooks Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity


Much of your preparatory work was happening throughout the printing, but it would be worthwhile submitting the sketches and books you have used for assessment. You may have photos too, or colour swatches of ink, paper samples, and other plans that could form part of your sketchbook. Certainly pull relevant things together as you suggest you’d like to for assessment and label well which project they belong to. Post-it notes can be good that stick out a way from the book and have the project number written on them can be a good easy way of finding the pages necessary.



Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays Context

You are very observant throughout this assignment, especially toward the end, where your own thoughts and ideas you scrutinize and aim to conceptualize in order to make sense of the narrative you are drawn to express. You have developed an intellectual understanding of your working methods, process and outcomes and demonstrate a good range of research through which your self awareness grows.


Your supporting statement is a good synopsis of all on your blog, and puts each print into context. Your blog has formed a very insightful collection of thoughts, memories, research and reflection and you should continue to  pay attention to every detail of your working method in this way, and remember that every decision you make to tell a story or reflect on aspect of your life through your travels and the things you see or experience is valid; that it doesn’t have to be scrutinized and compared to other artists, that by developing your own style and voice you may in turn have to deal with some vulnerability or uncertainty about what you’re doing –  but that is perfectly okay and important part of the creative process!



Suggested reading/viewing Context


World-wide Printmakers Social Network

World-wide exhibition listings


Freeland, Cynthia, But is it Art? An Introduction to Art Theory, Oxford University Press, 2003

Harrison Charles, and Paul Wood (eds.), Art in Theory – 1900-2000: an anthology of changing ideas, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2003




Tutor name: Nichola White
Date 25th August, 2012



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