Before I begin writing about the printing process I wanted to make sure I clarified why I chose to create collagraph prints as opposed to another printmaking medium. In some ways I feel choosing the collagraphic method is a bit more of a risk. I find it slightly more unpredictable than the lino cut method. But I like the way textural elements come through in a collagraphic print, it allows the material used in the process to be celebrated in a different way to trying to create texture when carving a lino block. I also liked how creating a collagraphic block allowed to apply more of a collage based approach which is something I wanted to emulate from the artist’s research at the start of the assignment.
For this assignment I decided to create prints of a semi-abstract nature. This mostly because I felt happier with the results from the semi-abstract project as opposed to the more ‘random’ abstract project.
For this project I tried to push myself to create different abstract prints using a variety of methods and materials. Here I’ll outline the different prints and their methods before some analysis of the process and end results below.
Print 1 – Mono-printing with back drawing
I tried to create my first print using randomly drawn marks or scribbles across the back of the paper. I also tried to add more variation in the colour of the marks by layering two different colours on top of each other on the glass inking plate.
Before beginning any practical work on this project I spent a bit of time finding some artists and work which were of an abstract nature, that I appreciated.
Is a modern day abstract painter, whose work caught my eye as an example of something that could be explored using the medium of printmaking.
I really like how Twombly has mixed paints in a free hand way in ‘Quattro Stagioni: Inverno’. I could see how this kind of effect might be achieve by using palette knives to mix and move paint across the glass surface of an inking plate. I’m not sure if the subsequent print would be as striking as Twombly’s painting, but I’d like to try it.
In ‘Untitled’ there appears to be multi-coloured scribbles or scrawls of paint across the canvas. I like the fluidity of this, and it reminded me of back drawn mono-prints. I wonder if something similar could be created using back drawing and different coloured ink layers.
‘Leda and the Swan’ seems to combine Twombly’s scribbled or swiftly drawn marks with the mixed paint marks. I just like the frenetic energy of this painting, simple as that really!
I also found, John Squire’s Tate Shots: Cy Twombly, helpful in allowing me to have a glimpse at the real scale of some of his work. Looking online has it’s benefit’s but seeing actually footage of the works helps me to appreciate the paintings as they actually are.
I really only briefly looked at Kline’s work within the MoMA collection online. What appealed to me was the graphic even visceral nature of the mostly black marks across the paper or canvases of his work.
I’ve included the lithographic print by Brooks in this list of research, as an example of an abstract print. Whilst I don’t know how to create lithographic prints I found it interesting to find a print in the medium which was abstract in its nature.
I printed these examples of work off and pinned them to a board I have in my dinning/work space to help me as I began my own abstract prints. I won’t go into the practical process/outcomes in this post. I will write in detail about that in part 2.
At the start of this project I was really unsure what to use as the basis or inspiration for my print. I went to a local art gallery to try and find some inspiration but found myself feeling less certain of where to begin. Our notes suggested using ‘old master paintings’ as possible inspiration points, and this got me thinking about some the Dutch Still life Paintings. To me these paintings had an inherent or good underlying structure and plenty of forms which could be abstracted in such a way as to be semi-abstract.
I began my search looking through the Tate’s online collection. Here’s their definition for Still Life. I found two very different approaches to the subject of ‘still life’ in Claude Venard’s: ‘Still Life 1955-6’ and Edward Collier’s: ‘Still Life 1699’. Colliers oil painting is not an abstract image, it is very much in the tradition of Dutch Still Life painters. Vernard’s painting plays with the same theme but in a semi abstracted manner, you can still identify elements such as apples, a fish, a plate, but their form is simpler, even the colour palette is restricted to blue and white tones.