My work in this course aimed to extend the range of themes and techniques I had developed in Printmaking 1 and develop my own distinctive voice and approach to my printmaking practice.
The course covered very diverse themes: landscapes, abstract, still life and portraits and pieces based on memory and imagination. My art from assignment 2 onwards progressively focused on underlying meanings rather than being purely figurative or exploring techniques. My work focused particularly on narratives around gender issues and relationships and what it means to be human.
- Assignment 2 Human Condition started to examine images of femininity ‘Fallen’, ‘Flesh’ and ‘Fury’.
- Assignment 3 ‘Life of Mushrooms’ still life became a ‘not so still’ narrative of family relationships represented by different types of mushroom.
- Assignment 4 Life in Red White Black carried this approach further using objects in my life to illustrate events.
- Project 5.1 Grand Arcade: Memories Revisited looked at the nature of my memories themselves.
- Project 5.2 Arcadia Recycled used textures of bubblewrap and netting overlaid on monoprint to convey feelings and dreams.
- Assignment 6 One Mouth Kissing tried to capture feelings of loneliness in an abstract image.
- Assignment 5 The Dreaming started to look at wider political issues of fantasy and responsibility in consumer culture.
All these ideas are still preliminary, but provide a basis for further substantive development at Level 3 of Visual Communications degree. In many cases, although I started with a conceptual idea, the meanings and titles evolved in relation to the images as they emerged from technical decisions. Going forward I want to strengthen and further develop the underlying meanings I am trying to communicate through my work, carrying these through also to landscape, formal and random abstract and figurative portraits.
I significantly widened my technical skills from the monoprints, linocuts, collagraphs and chine colle I had produced in Printmaking 1. I made some very interesting new discoveries that are becoming part of my ‘style’, with more sophisticated use of abstract shapes and textures to enhance meaning:
- Project 1.3 Landscape Composition (linocut) and Assignment 2 Human Condition (collagraph) I experimented with overprinting of reversed images to produce more interesting abstract images with varying degrees of symmetrical balance.
- Project 2.2 Random Abstracts and Assignment 6 One Mouth Kissing experimented with water and water-based inks to produce more expressive mark-making and textures, producing very varied water-colour effects that are more vivid than those generally produced in water-colour itself.
- Project 2.1 Formal Abstracts, Assignment 2 Human Condition and Assignment 3 Life of Mushrooms developed a much greater sense of texture and shape in my collagraph work and introduced me to embossing.
- Project 5.1 Grand Arcade and Assignment 5 The Dreaming explored collage and mixed media to complement printmaking and produce more complex layers of meaning and narrative.
I developed a reasonable level of skill with some new techniques extending my use of line and mark-making in:
- Lithography used in Project 1.1 Natural Landscape
- Drypoint used in Project 4.2 Self-portrait and Assignment 4 Life in Red White Black
I started to experiment rather less successfully with some other new techniques:
- Etching in Project 1.2 Urban Landscape and Assignment 1 Willows
- Screenprinting in Assignment 5 The Dreaming
All the above have advanced my practice, but are more a beginning that has just scratched the surface of potential of these techniques.
The images selected for my Portfolio include particularly those where the final prints are of the highest technical standard I can currently achieve as a printmaker. But – as an illustrator – what was most valuable and interesting in many ways was the experimentation behind some of the less polished work. I particularly enjoy the way that some types of plate (eg perspex drypoint) create resistance to mark-making tools and differential drying of ink (eg water-based monoprints) leading to an interesting unpredictability of line and texture. With more experience it will be possible to exploit these features for emotional impact, combined with a disciplined approach to shape and colour.
I envisage that printmaking, often combined with collage, mixed media and digital manipulation and cropping will be a central part of a distinctive technical style in my Visual Communication work.