Sunday 15 April 2018

The Pennines and the Halo!

On Saturday 21 April 2018 a new exhibition of artworks by Prospect Printmakers will open at The Whitaker Art Gallery and Museum in Rawtenstall, Rossendale. It's inspired by the Pennines, the theme that unites the work of almost 20 artists in a range of printmaking techniques.

My new linocut 'Halo' was created for this exhibition and will be displayed alongside one piece of work from each of the Prospect Studios printmakers involved.

There's an Opening on Saturday 21 April 2 - 4pm at the Whitaker. All are very welcome.  I hope you can make it to the Opening or to the Exhibition itself, which runs until 17 June. Our small show runs alongside Liam Spencer's new exhibition 'Home & Away' in the main gallery space of the Whitaker.

I've outlined below some of the behind the scenes story of the making of this particular piece.

'Halo' refers to Haslingden Halo, an 18m diameter steel structure, sited on an exposed spot above the town, to mark the regeneration of East Lancashire. I hadn't visited it before working on this Pennine theme, but was interested in the juxtaposition of this large industrial-looking art sculpture and the barren moorland landscape. The Halo is lit at night too, giving it an other-worldly floating look.

The day I visited, I'd planned to make a number of sketches. It turned out to be in early March, during the snowy period and it was icy cold, windy and threatening to rain or snow any moment! I ended up walking the site and viewing the structure from all sides and taking reference images, before dashing for the car. I loved the shadows, the contrasts, the light. These are some of the photos I took:

Haslingden Halo with its shadows

The Halo looking alien in its landscape

Fantastic light and shade

Threatening weather
It was really in an exposed spot and I wanted to capture some of that sense of a big Pennine landscape. I decided to create the image from 3 lino plates, so that I could come back to the image and explore different colour ways. I cut the image from traditional lino 21 cm x 21 cm.

This is my first proof of the print:
First rough proof
From here, I made some changes to the colours and also cleaned up each plate further, cutting away stray marks. I was aiming for a more dramatic final image to reflect the light and shade, the storm clouds brewing and the warmth in the landscape.

I don't have images of every stage, but you can see that I've introduced a red/brown bracken colour and darkened the clouds. This is the print after printing just the first plate:

Printing plate 1

I have ended up with a small edition, which will be for sale at the Exhibition and later (unframed) on my website. I was printing this at the same time as drying my Macmillan giant linocuts and starting to work on new designs for my greetings cards. I'm definitely short of drying space!

Need more drying rack space!
To learn more about my work, please check out my website where you'll find my gallery, online shop and links to my social media.

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