Sunday, 27 March 2016

Mark Hearld

In my research I have come across the artist Mark Hearld and am completely in love with his work.

I notice that in this print Geese and Fish he uses a second colour which controls the strong black and white contrast and softens the image. It is still not a colour print, but somewhere in between the two. This is a multiple block print, the lines are quite independant of each other.
St Jude's Prints have a page on Mark Hearld which contains this video about his process:

He doesn't talk about linocut at all but does talk about collage and says:
'It gave me the capacity to compose in a really strong way' and
'Collage taught me how to print because its about layering'

His collage work is absolutely stunning, a good selection of them can be seen here including these two examples:

 Autumn Partridges. Collage. image size 77 x 56cm.

Frutti Di Mare. Collage. image size 101 x 81cm

I am inspired to try some collage for my next design.

He also says in the video that the lithographic process unifies a design, I wonder if the same could be said for lino through the flat colour and relatively simple marks.

Linocut First Inspiration

I have been looking at prints by many artists for ideas. A recurring idea which I find fascinating is how so many printmakers effortlessly move from black subject on a white background to inverted white subject on black background.

The first print I found that does this is by Picasso:

I think this composition is strong and striking for many reasons. The viewers around the outside looking in, the lines leading in or radiating out from the centre, the balance of black and white with the largest areas of solid white bordering the main subject. 
Looking at this I am aware how the strong contrast of a one colour print requires careful planning. To be able to distribute the areas of black and white evenly it will be useful to move the subject from black to white.

In this print by contemporary artist Mark Hearld he effortlessly moves between black and white subjects, including within the same plant or animal.

This is a really exciting print, lots of lines giving lots of energy. Like in the Picasso print, the white areas stand out, in this print it is the ducks, looking up and leading the eye to the rooster. It uses two blocks, one blue one black. the blue block appears to have independant lines, suggesting this is a multi block print.

In contrast to this, I have also been looking at prints by Matisse:

He has taken a completely different approach, drawing in white lines in a very free expressive style. The immediacy of this really appeals to me. The Picasso and Hearld prints would have involved careful planning and development, unlike this which could have been drawn from life straight into the lino. In this print the face stands out because it has the biggest solid areas of black, quite the opposite to the first two prints. However, although the eye is drawn to the face it doesn't jump out, creating a calmer composition.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Reflection on Feedback from Assignment 1

There were some aspects of my feedback which I expected. Primarily this was my use (or lack of use) of a sketchbook. I submitted a range of drawings taken from different books. Some of these were detailed some were quick sketches and I knew they were not organised enough and did not give opportunity to show how my designs developed. However, at first I was surprised that my most detailed drawings such as the drawings below were described as preliminary and that more investigative drawing was required. I spent much time on these drawings but now when I look at them I realise they are only the beginning, I have not really investigated, just drawn and transferred to print.

Regarding the prints, my tutor described this first print (which was not in my final 4) as being more successful than this one which I did put in the final 4.

The first print was on thin Japanese paper and I was pleased with the smooth even colour and interesting interaction between the shapes. The second print is on stiff cartridge paper which means the mask has left a white edge around each shape which my tutor says makes it an unsuccessful print. I liked those white edges and the emphasis they made and was a bit disheartened that unexpected results like this are deemed unsuccessful. I chose the second print because it had more depth with the texture variations and was a bit more experimental, maybe next time I should choose work to submit that is more conventionally 'correct'?

Regarding my other final prints I very much agreed with the comments made including many positive points. This print could have been refined if I had practiced more, I did it 3 times but did feel the drawing could have been improved, I just ran out of patience.

She also said the colour choice was not very exciting, which I also agree with.

My tutor liked this print of the plant, I was worried this was not successful from a technical point of view because it had multiple layers of monoprint which took forever to dry. Thankfully it did dry eventually. I was much more confident by the time I did this which I think shows.

She did not comment on everything, but was overall very positive about my experimental approach.

From this I will take on the following for my next assignment:

  • Use a sketch book with detailed drawings of all my subjects
  • Record different layout ideas for my prints
  • Keep a clearer log on my inspiration and research
  • Think carefully about colour choices
  • Be meticulous about printing technique
  • Explore different papers