John Piper

John Piper was born in Epsom, Surrey, in 1903, the son of solicitor Charles Piper. He was educated at Epsom College and trained at the Richmond School of Art, followed by the Royal College of Art in London.[1] He turned from abstraction early in his career, concentrating on a more naturalistic but distinctive approach.

As a child, Piper lived in Epsom, at that time in the countryside. He went exploring on his bike, and drew and painted pictures of old churches and monuments on the way. He started making guide books complete with pictures and information at a young age. He studied at Epsom College. He did not like the college but found refuge in the art school. When he left Epsom College, Piper wanted to go to art school, to study to become an artist. However, his father disagreed and wanted him to be a solicitor. They agreed that John Piper would work for his father in London for three years, and then could pursue whatever career he chose. He failed the law exams and his father died soon after, leaving him free to become an artist. His work often focused on the British landscape, especially churches.

Piper was appointed an official war artist in World War II from 1940–1942.[1] The morning after the air raid that destroyed Coventry Cathedral, Piper produced his first painting of bomb damage, Interior of Coventry Cathedral now exhibited at the Herbert Art Gallery. Jeffery Daniels in The Times described the painting of the ruins as “all the more poignant for the exclusion of a human element”. It has been described as “Britain’s Guernica”.[2]

Piper collaborated with many others, including the poets John Betjeman and Geoffrey Grigson (on the Shell Guides[3][4]), and with potter Geoffrey Eastop and artist Ben Nicholson. In later years he produced many limited-edition prints.

Sir Osbert Sitwell invited Piper to Renishaw Hall to paint the house and illustrate an autobiography he was writing and Piper made his first of many visits to the estate in 1942. The family retain 70 of his pictures and there is a display at the hall.[5]

From 1950 Piper worked in stained glass in partnership with Patrick Reyntiens, whom he had met through John Betjeman.[6] They designed the stained-glass windows for the new Coventry Cathedral, and later for the Chapel of Robinson College, Cambridge. Washington National Cathedral prominently features his large window, “The Land Is Bright”. He designed windows for many smaller churches and created tapestries for Chichester Cathedral and Hereford Cathedral. He was a set designer for the theatre, including the Kenton Theatre in Henley and Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff. He designed many of the premiere productions of Benjamin Britten’s operas at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the Royal Opera House, La Fenice and the Aldeburgh Festival, as well as for some of the operas of Alun Hoddinott. In 2012 a major exhibition ‘John Piper and the Church’ examined his relationship with the Church and his contribution to the development of modern art within churches.[7] Piper wrote extensively on modern art in books and articles.[8][9][10][11] With his wife, Myfanwy Piper, he founded the contemporary art journal, Axis.

On 28 June 1992 John Piper died at his home at Fawley Bottom, Buckinghamshire, where he had lived for most of his life. His children are painters Edward Piper (deceased) and Sebastian Piper, and his grandchildren include painter Luke Piper and sculptor Henry Piper.

His auction record, £325,250, was set at Sotheby’s on 15 July 2008 for “Forms on Dark Blue”, a 3′ by 4′ oil painting made in 1936.[12]

Katarzyna Cyganic

Inspiration

Katarzyna’s work is extremely detailed linocut made of dot shading and very fine markmaking. It has a dreamy quality. I am not sure if this is partly done using etching techniques with bleach, or something like a mezzotint shader.

She also generally chooses dramatic composition – reflections, swirling sky and water. Her compositions are often upside down reflections in water, or putting the dark area at the top right. This significantly increases the sense of drama and the unexpected even on apparently simple scenes of just trees and water.

website: http://www.linoart.eu

Reflections This is an amazingly detailed and well-obesrved linocut rendering of tree reflections in water.

Forest This shows leaves falling from trees with sharp contrast between the white leaf shapes against a misty backround of forest trees.

Landscape  This shows a waterlily pond with beautiful contrasts between the dark round waterlilly leaves, straggly thin stems and water.

Landscape This shows a seascape with swirling waves in very small marks. Though the scene itself is not so unusual.

There is no biography or details of technique or size of the images on the website.

Christine Koch

website linocuts: http://www.christinekoch.com/prints/popout/index.htm

Canadian printmaker who does landscapes of Canadian glaciers : long format 12″x6″. These focus particularly on shape and tonal contrasts between land and sky in long sweeping land.

Summer Ice 2007 Here the textural marks in the white sky contrast with the textural marks of the ice creating an interesting compositional tension.

Convergence of glaciers 2007  This has a white curly sky, that I find somewhat distracting.

Tidal Zone 2010 Here the white sky is separated from the land by a black silhouette of a mountain range. I find this more effective as a design than the previous image.

Statement:

These linocut prints are examples from a large ongoing suite of black and white linocuts which date from 1993. These are the source prints from which theTesserae series derives. Linocut, like woodblock printing, is a relief printmaking technique, the only difference being the medium into which I carve my image (ie., linoleum, as opposed to wood). My subject matter comprises both inside (still lifes) and outside (landscapes), sometimes both within the same print. My interest in black and white linocut lies in its uncompromising graphic directness, and the challenges it presents to the painter in me, whose great pleasure is working in colour. In the absence of colour, in these prints I have had to rely on other visual qualities and formal elements: composition, texture, pattern and the range of marks available to the linocut technique. Working in this medium has been an enormously informative experience, and I think the influence of working in linocut is evident in my recent gouaches.

Jess Freeman

Inspiration

Jess Freeman is a printmaker working in London. She specialises in linocut landscapes.

She does very dramatic landscapes with strong contrast between jagged forms for clouds and rocks. She uses eg trees for framing devices. She combines very bold sweeping incised lines of different sizes and directions with small areas of very small detailed dots. But there is an underlying unity of tonal shapes and forms.

website: http://jessfreeman.com

 

Imaginary landscapes

Some of these are extremely effective with their framing and tonal contrasts of shape blocks, coupled with different types of markmaking.

Imaginary landscape 1

Imaginary landscape 3

Imaginary landscape 4

Large landscapes

I find these most effective of all with their really jagged and energetic marks and dramatic composition.

Large landscape May 2013

Large landscape June 2013

Large landscape June 26 2013

Large landscape July 2013

Abstract landscapes

I do not find these so interesting. They use a variety of mark=making but lack the dramatic sweep of line and shape of her other work.

Lynda Burke

Inspiration

Lynda Burke’s linocuts are mainly monochrome black and white. She has a strong sense of composition and design – using dramatic perspectives, grills and grids. With variety of markmaking and texturing in eg the skies. Some have hand-coloured splashes of red.

website

linocuts      landscapes  interiors and still life

Her work

Verduno, Italy   I like the vertical repetitions at the bottom here – is this a graveyard?

View from Long Wall Suffolk

Crazy Paving  I like the design of this from a simple subject.

Clissold Park  Interesting view through wire fence

Colombe d’Or, Vence this has an effective splash of red.

Terrace 1 Vence again I really like the bold composition of this with the railings of the terrace.

Tree in Woods

Bosham  here the marks for the mackerel sky I find effective together with the long format and rather bleak landscape.

Biography

Lynda Burke was born in London in 1950 and has lived and worked there most of her life, in recent years sharing her time between Camden and Vence in the south of France.

After a two-year Fine Arts Foundation Course at East Ham Technical College in London she studied Painting at Winchester School of Art – DipAD / BA(Hons) –  for three years under the guidance of established artists including Patrick Heron, graduating in 1972.

Throughout the 1970s, Lynda continued painting and print-making as well as raising a family. She regularly sold work privately and in solo exhibitions during the 1980s and 1990s, including commissions from The Distillers Company (now Diageo) and others. Her work is in private collections in England, France, United States, Japan, Singapore, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and Italy.

Since the year 2000, Lynda has been an official guide at the original Tate Britain and the celebrated Tate Modern in London, leading regular tours around the vast galleries and bringing modern art to life for thousands of international visitors.

Since 2006 Lynda has been making art mainly in Vence, where she has also resumed an earlier interest in the medium of linocut prints, some of which can be seen on this site. As well as her Tate Modern tours in London she has also started a series of lectures on the famous artists of the Côte d’Azur.

Source: her website

Helen Brown

Google images

“I work directly from the landscape in either lino or woodcut. Working outdoors enables me to capture the line and fluidity of scenes and localities.

My landscapes are landscapes of self-possession and movement. Through their layered and textured forms they express the tectonic flow of the earth, as mountains and valleys rise and fall in an experience of time much more immense than our own.

I spend time in the places my work depicts, returning to them. From the Sussex Downs to the foothills of the Himalayas, my prints are imbued with the emotion of place. Each one of my pieces is given individual life though colour and chine colle (paper overlay) or hand tinting, just as the mood of a scene shifts with light, time and experience.

My work takes shape in the place between landscape and dreamscape. Whether in architectural or animal forms, it connects the experiential world to the imagination, the material to the emotional.

Our thoughts and feelings colour the things we encounter, and they in turn colour us. In my prints I give visual expression to this conversation.”

See page on Art of Illustration

Biography

Helen Brown grew up in Cambridge and did an Art Foundation course there then an art degree at Brighton. She learned screen printing, etching and linocut.

Techniques

While in Brighton she started to focus on linocut because she could do observational prints outdoors :

“I went to Devil’s Dyke, just outside Brighton and cut the block while sitting outside the pub. They gave me free food and loads of people asked what I was doing. The print worked very well, and people bought it. I thought I would follow this path for a while because I enjoyed it, and it worked well with my travelling.”

“I like the stages; you make the block and then there is the never-ending choice of how to print it. I might print the block in ten different colours. I really like chine colle, where I use coloured papers that I have cut up beforehand. This technique I have taken to extremes.”

“I have recently been thinking more about the marks, so I feel very inspired with my work.I made a lot of blocks from my last trip to Guatemala, which I print to have a bright, strong colour blend, like their dyed and woven fabrics. The landscape in Guatemala is quite unreal, so using unrealistic colours would not seem right. That is what is good about printmaking: I can print the blocks and it might look great, or not, but I can easily change the way I print it.”

The  prints are individually made by the artist in tranches of a few prints – the edition is not all printed at once.

See profile in D’Arcy and Vernon-Morris pp223-225