Below are all posts relating to Assignment 4.
Paula Rego is one of the artist’s that my tutor recommended looking at. He described her prints and paintings as:
“disturbing by their intensity and sense of risk taking within an artwork is worth looking at.”
The first set of images are all her works and taken from the Saatchi Gallery website. You can see the link here – http://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/artpages/rego_paula_the_fitting.htm
I’m writing about this in retrospect so I hope this all make sense! I started by looking for objects to stick down for printing my collage. I realised some of the objects I’d chosen were going to stand out to tall so reject those in favor of having a more even height of objects and hopefully an even print.
I said I’d give a coloured print of the collage block a go so chose to colours that fit within the theme of nature (there’s a few thing in the collage under that theme, a deer, flowers, leaves etc). I went for a burnt orange and a sort of olive green?
I did an initial print with cotton water colour paper (soaked for an hour this time) an used to separate rollers to ink the separate halves of the block so there was a green/orange divide. Here’s how it turned out:
A few weeks ago I paid a visit to a local estate/park called Coombe Abbey to try and find some inspiration for my collatype print. I took some photo’s which you’ll see below and also did a sketch whilst sitting outside, I only completed one sketch taking around half an hour/forty five mins to do so. It was so cold that I couldn’t bear to sit outside any longer!
I sat on a bench and took the side of the house/the gardens leading up to it as my focal point. I found it hard to decide where to start with the sketch but tried to start with simple outlines and build up shapes with shading and hatching marks.
Whilst I enjoyed the sketching and like the images / general landscape of the area I didn’t think that it would make a suitable subject for the collage print. Simply because I felt the image would be too complex to try and capture, there would be lots of different textures and elements to try and pare down to make a striking image. Maybe I’ll come back to it later.
I wasn’t feeling well enough to leave the house before Christmas so tried to look for a subject area based on the house that I could turn into a collatype print. I ended up looking at one of the walls in our living room. The wall had beneath it a sofa, with some large textured cushions and above it a large picture frame. Another element of interest was the texture of the wall itself, a sort of swirled plaster effect. I thought these elements could be turned into an interesting print, so did some simple sketches to think about layout/focal point.
In the first sketch (above) I made the focal point the sofa, having it take up most of the page with only a hint of the picture frame visible at the top and the surrounding texture of the wall. I didn’t think this would be a balanced or interesting image overall so did another drawing changing the view point to a distance away so as to allow the photo frame to come into view.
In this sketch the texture of the wall is much more apparent and the frame is visible too but not dominant. I’ve also made more of an emphasise of the texture of the cushions on the sofa, and tried to highlight the piping around the edge of the sofa as I felt this could be recreated or hinted at through a collage using string.
I decided to give the idea in the sketch a go as a collage print. I didn’t want to waste materials by making it massive to begin with so restricted the size to A4, which again changed the focal point of the overall picture. I’ve used pollyfiller to create the textured wall as a background, a picture mount as the frame, a cut up plastic wallet to create the photos, and fabric samples & string for the sofa.
I only managed to print the collage block yesterday, I think it was a mixed success. I soaked some cotton rag water colour paper for a couple of hours to get it to take the ink well. In hindsight I think it probably could’ve done with just an hour, maybe an hour and a half maximum.
I think if I want the texture of the wallpaper to look more like the real texture then I need to get a sample of textured wallpaper and use that instead as that will a flat/even area of texture. I like the effect of the fabric squares but again an element has been lost as the fabric underneath wasn’t caught by the ink. I like the piping effect created by the string but the sofa looks a little like a ghost sofa without any more substance to it. I think I’d need to change a few things in the design before creating a final design from it.
I found some old photo’s I took when on family holidays (when I was little) while at my parents over Christmas, and wanted to use these as inspiration for a landscape based Collatype print. I started to work on one of these photo’s first by doing some studies in different mediums.
I was finding thinking about composition of the collage block difficult and couldn’t think of a way to help myself improve when it struck me I hadn’t really looked into other artists who use this method. I began searching Google and pinterest for artist working on ‘Collatype’ printing. However this word seemed to only bring up work made by students on the same course. This was interesting to look at but I also wanted to find some more in depth work by practicing artists.
I saw that Google offered a different term, ‘Collagraph’ printing to describe the same process so began searching pinterest using that and found a wealth of images and video’s on the subject.
Through that research I discovered a group called the ‘Double Elephant Print Workshop’ and an artist of runs the organisation Lynn Bailey. I found her demonstration of Collagraph printing really helpful, you can see a link to it below:
The video helped me consider other mediums that could work for printing. And also helped me to see how building up thin layers of texture would give a better overall impression. And i think I’ll try her application method for applying ink to the block, using a tooth brush.
Here’s an example of her work:
I also found work by another Artist called Sue Lowe of interest:
I really like the different approach to the image above in that the image is cut up almost but still retain a sense of wholeness as the plants, object flow up the pieces to the sun at the top. I also like how it has a painterly feel to it, it doesn’t look like a collage piece or something attempted but unsuccessful. It helps me to think different about this project/see some of the beautiful things that can be achieved in this medium.
In my research I also wanted to find close-up examples of what materials people made their blocks from. I found a few of interest:
The image above came from a blog called ‘my printmaking journey’ which an artist shares his experience teaching others how to print. You can read that here:
Below are a few more images which show different ideas, unfortunately none of the artist were named in the images/links so I’m not sure whose work it is, it’s not mine though!
Having looked at this work I generated a list of thinks I wanted to use to make texture/build up my collatype print from: modelling paste, glue, plants/natural material, textured wallpaper, brown paper, bubble wrap, various fabrics.
I then set about drawing up ideas from the second landscape photo as i felt more interested by the landscape in it than in the first photo….
Having gathered my materials I began thinking about how to layer up and construct my collage block for printing. I drew the image directly onto the cardboard block and then traced it so that I could still figure out what shapes I wanted as I went.
I found the layering process quite tricky. I’d considered what i wanted different layers to be in terms of textures/materials beforehand. But I hadn’t thought about the order I’d need to stick the layers down in, in order for it to work how I’d planned. As a result some of the layers had to be cut to be different shapes/sit a little differently on the block, but I don’t think this has massively affected the overall look of the block.
In ‘Close up -1’ you can see areas of modelling paste, dried leaves, bubble wrap and some cartridge paper houses. I’m mainly worried about how the modelling paste will come out.
In ‘Close up – 2’ you can see some of twigs, leaves, wallpaper, grey linen. I’m not too sure about how the twigs will print here, but i’m hoping that by applying the ink with a tooth brush they’ll pick up more of the ink this time than in previous attempts.
In this close up you can see, brown paper bag, wallpaper, cartridge paper, and leaves from a plant. You might be able to see I’ve scratched away a layer of the cartridge paper to try and depict the windows, this is the bit I think is most likely not to work. But we’ll just have to see what happens when I print it all…
Printing the block proved to be harder than anticipated.
I had in my mind before printing two methods for inking the block, the first was using toothbrushes to apply different coloured inks to the block. Then wiping away excess using fabric scraps so that the ink wasn’t too heavily applied to the block. This idea came from a video demonstration by Printmaker Lynn Bailey (see link below).
But this method was riskier to begin with given that I had never attempted it before.
The second was the traditional roller method, simply inking the roller and applying that to the block. I considered within this using two inks of the inking plate, a dark blue and a green to get two colours on the collage at once. I was already familiar with the method so less apprehensive about it.