Project 1.1: Natural Landscape

The task

Choose a natural landscape. Follow the basic design process. Use whatever print method, inks and paper you think will suit your image

Natural landscapes check and log

• Consider the different stages you went through during your preparatory studies and how relevant, or unsuitable, the process was in forming the design for your final print.
• In what ways were you able to capture the character of the scene? Did you find you had gathered enough preparatory work to help with your final image?
• Describe your decision-making when selecting and composing your design and printmaking method.

Overall assessment

First Sketches

I decided to use a part of the River Cam just down the road from my house for this project – it is somewhere I go nearly every day and see in many different weathers and seasons. It was a part of the river that I had drawn and painted earlier as part of an OCA Watercolour course, and had photographed many times (see below) but wanted to explore different ways of interpreting the scene in different print media.

I began by making three quick sketches of the same scene from different perspectives.

I then did longer line and tonal studies.

I finally decided on a closer crop just of the trees and their reflection to focus in on a moody February scene with skeletal branches and plant stalks in the foreground, and turbulent water. In this sketch you can see the ripples left by a passing rowing boat. The clouds in the sky are windy with patches of light shining through and reflecting in pools on the water. But the composition was not yet right.

This last sketch reminded me of a moody square format painting watercolour I had done for an OCA watercolour course. So I decided to base my print on that design.

I also looked at paintings of Kurt Jackson for ideas about mood, colour and composition. He often uses square formats and I like the semi-abstract nature of his work. I considered things like the positioning of the horizon and verticals – whether these should be at half or thirds way, whether they should be regular or in what way they might vary.

Considering printmaking method

At this stage I also started to think about printmaking method – reviewing some of the prints I had done earlier of other parts of the river. I had experimented with different types of monoprint, soft foam and foam board, chine colle and collagraph.

I also looked at other printmakers I liked, particularly:

  • Iona Howarth who uses carborundum and drypoint.
  • Degas with his moody monoprints
  • Impressionist monprints like Pissarro
  • Woodcuts of Anselme Kiefer
  • Woodcuts of Hokusai

I also like Dutch watercolour landscapes.


Natural landscape lines, shapes, textures and colours.

Experimenting with photos to get a wide range of weathers and times of day, including those when sketching is not easy eg night-time, when it is very cold, fog (gets too much on my chest)



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