Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Drypoint on a large scale

Last weekend I really enjoyed Alan Birch's new large format drypoint course in Rossendale's Prospect Studios. It was a chance to work on Perspex plates as large as 50 x 70 cm.

This was the first weekend the course has run. Another one is coming up in October. Class sizes are small. Day 1 was creating plates using traditional - and less traditional - drypoint techniques. Day 2 was all printing - quite tiring given the plate size.

I'm pleased with my first attempts to work at this scale and took the chance to explore the same image (an 'everywoman' / Eve sketch) using traditional drypoint tool and also on plate 2 adding power tool effects! Not easy to control, but creating some great texture and definition. I think I'm hooked! These rough proofs give you a preview of work in progress.

Drypoint using a variety of hand tools
Drypoint using a power sander as well as traditional tools

Picasso on the Wirral

It's a delight to have a linocut exhibition of Picasso's work locally. On at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight Village, until 8 January 2017, it's a small exhibition of prints from the British Museum. It's well worth a visit even though the exhibition focuses on just 3 works.

I'm going to look at 2 in this blog. The first that really fascinated me was a portrait - 2 plates, both black, but the first providing tone on a lino plate, something I hadn't seen before. The image builds to create a rare and striking effect. I'll be trying to replicate the technique, created with a wire brush, I believe.

Plate 1

Plate 2
Final work
The second work is a well known still life. The British Museum has acquired not just the final work, which is a reduction linocut, but also all the stages of its development, which are on show - and every individual plate is proofed and on show too. Such a rare treat for printmakers! Sometimes it's hard to work out how an artist has created a finished effect with linocuts, but here you have a master class on reduction linocut printmaking - on full display. I found it mesmerising! I've shown below the build to the full work.
Colour 1
 Colour 2
Colour 3
Final 4 colour work
For the record, below is the single plate, as proofed at each stage. The first colour is above. The rest follow:
Red stage proof
Green stage proof
Black stage proof
What a delight - I'm planning to visit again. It's not a big exhibition, but it's great. I hope you get to visit in person. If not, I hope this blog post will be of interest.