Sunday, 13 March 2016

Artistic Explorations: Intaglio Printmaking (5)

The short course exhibition looks wonderful and if you're in the area do have a look. Such a wide variety of works and of a high standard according to some of the visitors who I spoke today during the opening. I have to come back again this week because it was very busy and you chat more with fellow students than actually take time and space to take it all in.

I promised to show some of the prints I have been working on over the last few months during the Printmaking course. Each print is a combination of two layered prints. The first layer is from a copperplate that was etched with the use of hard ground (made from wax) and an etching tool. The second layer is from a copperplate that was etched by imprinting textures like fabrics and wallpaper in soft ground.

Both plates are sized 50 x 20 cm.
The hard ground was first put on a hot copperplate and then smoked. Once cooled off I drew my design by scraping away the hardened wax. The areas exposed were then bitten by the acid, creating an indentation in the plate.

Drawing on hardground plate with initial sketch in pencil above

Drawing on hardground plate ©Fenfolio2016

Detail of drawing on hardground plate with etching tool ©Fenfolio2016

For the other plate I put on a layer of soft ground wax and placed several fabrics like scrim, hessian and lace + scraps of old wallpaper on it. Then I ran it through the press, making an imprint in the wax. After I took off all the pieces of textures I placed the plate in the acid bath, checking every 10 minutes or so to make sure it wouldn't overdo it.
The images below show the result after it has been etched by the acid.

Etched softground copperplate ©Fenfolio2016

Detail of etched softground copperplate ©Fenfolio2016

And then it was time to start printing. First I tested the hard ground plate with sepia ink.

"Glen Dye hardground proof" ©Fenfolio2016

I also made a few proofs for the soft ground plate, inking up a la poupee. It was good to test each plate individually but I had to do both in one print to actually see whether they would complement eachother. Below is my first attempt. I was not happy because the textures were too much dominating, pushing the hard ground layer (sepia colour) to the background!

"Glen Dye Artist Proof" ©Fenfolio2016

My tutor was a great help and adviced me to add more extender to the ink, making it more dilute. I was also not happy with the harsh areas in the mountain (centre and right hand side). I used a scraper/burnishing tool (see first image on top) to level out the etched lines on the plate.

After spending many, many, many hours trying to get the inking right I think I have cracked it. Below are the few prints I'm happy with and the first one is now shown at the exhibition. All have chine collé added in the form of handwritten text dated appr. 1910 taken out of a notebook I received from my father who got it from his mother. I think it was written by a friend of one of our ancestors.

"Glen Dye I" ©Fenfolio2016

"Glen Dye I ", close-up ©Fenfolio2016

"Glen Dye I ", close-up ©Fenfolio2016

"Glen Dye II"  ©Fenfolio2016

"Glen Dye III" ©Fenfolio2016

"Glen Dye IV" ©Fenfolio2016

"Glen Dye V" ©Fenfolio2016

The coming months I will continue working with these plates as I would like to experiment more with other colour schemes and printmaking papers. Hopefully I will then have a few good prints I can show during my upcoming exhibitions later this year at Art Aboyne and North East Open Studios.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Artistic Explorations: Figurative Study (4)

The figurative study course is now almost coming to an end. Next week a selection of drawings, paintings, prints, jewellery, photography and fashion made by participants will be exhibited at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen.

Invitation exhibition Gray's School of Art

Apart from a few prints, which I will write about in a different post, these drawings will also be shown. I'm actually really pleased with them and I look forward hearing the comments from the visitors during the opening of the exhibition!

"Patched up", drawing in soft pastel on collage

"Radiance", drawing in soft pastel on Slate Murano paper

I also made many sketches in my sketchbook during the course but as this won't be exhibited I just share some here. These are Quink ink studies I created in a few minutes. I just love the way the ink reacts when diluted with water. The black colour suddenly reveals many other colours like blue and brown! Ink is also a great medium to work in quickly. It feels as if the brush dances on the paper and that's so liberating.

Sketch 1 in Quink ink ©Fenfolio2016

Sketch 2 in Quink ink ©Fenfolio2016

Sketch 3 in Quink ink ©Fenfolio2016

Sketch 4 in Quink ink ©Fenfolio2016

The sketches below were also made in a few minutes and were done in soft pastel pencils, a completely different medium. What I really like about it is the way you can create depth in a drawing by focussing on the tones. Using the darker colour of paper as a midtone and adding white for the highlights and dark gray or black for the dark tones is really effective!

Sketch 1 in soft pastel ©Fenfolio2016

Sketch 2 in soft pastel ©Fenfolio2016