“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.”
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.
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