Monday, 19 December 2016

Collagraph Prints Assignment 4

 The first block I tried to print was my intaglio block based on sand paper with areas of thick acrylic medium painted on. Here is the block looking promising:

It was not successful at all. I tried varied amounts of ink and pressure in my new little press but it gave very patchy results. I think the sandpaper was the cause of this. It is clearly no substitute for carborundum grit and does not hold ink in the same way, or I used too much varnish. Either way, I think that the carborundum or sandpaper is not best for large areas like in this block.

These were too patchy to be used in this assignment and I had to go back to the drawing board. before I did that I took some prints of my other prepared block which I made with mount board and string.

I wanted to see what textures I got from this before deciding how to proceed. I was pleased with the results, all though looking at these now i could have been much more adventurous with the colors. 

With each new impression I got more background ink around the leaves. I quite like this, it is an interesting texture. When I tried to wipe the background of the flowers clean the slightest smear of leftover ink showed up strongly. I much prefer the untouched ink to any half cleaned smears. I variably inked the flowers with a dabber, which I was pleased with, but could have been more adventurous about. I tried inking the string leaves with a dabber and a roller, there was little difference. Perhaps if I had used a bigger roller I would have got cleaner results. In the last print I tried to create contrast by using a complementary color inside the flowers, this quickly got muddied into a dull color as the colors mix very easily when dabbing.

I created a new block based on the same outline using different fabrics to create texture with the leaves. The fabric I used was very absorbent and this block took a long time to dry before I could use it, leaving me with limited printing time before traveling for the Christmas holidays.

My daughter has drawn on this in red pen.

I got some nice textures with the two blocks combined and was able to make much better use of complementary colors in two layers as the colors did not blend on the block and it was easier to ink without the colors blending.

The textures are subtle but combined with the textures created by the first block of ink in the gaps between the leaves this is quite a lively texture. I am please with these two prints overall as the complementary colors worked well and the image is nicely balanced. Inspired by my exploration work I got out of my comfort zone of cool color schemes and successfully created something brighter.

I would like to develop this by practicing different inking methods on these blocks. One of the artist's I researched, Stefan barton, described collagraph as a type of monotype pulled from collaged plates. I found the variable inking I did the colors got muddied very quickly so i need to look into different ways of applying the ink to vary the results.

I got some nice ghost prints from this:

This print was both blocks as ghost prints. The textures of the fabric in the leaves is clearer with less ink. This is hard to achieve as the block holds a lot of ink.

This print was just the ghost of the fabric leaves block. The flowers had transferred onto the block from the print, which in turn printed onto the paper. These ghost prints show there are many more ways of inking blocks, thin layers of ink like this can be used very interestingly and I could overprint thin layers like this for new interesting textures.

My original plan was to try and explore the colors of the pieces of music I investigated through variable inking. I do not feel I have scratched the surface of this, or any other ideas I might express through variable inking. I chose a simple subject with a view to creating interest in the inking techniques. As my fist sandpaper block was not successful I ran out of time to explore this in the depth I would have liked. This is not to say i have not produced work I am pleased with. I do think I learnt a lot about color mixing and application of ink, it was just all more difficult than I anticipated and the more advanced ideas I have will be revisited at various points along this journey.

In terms of assessment:

  • Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills - materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills
    I think I have shown strong design and compositional skills, albeit in the context of a simple design. The print is balanced and contains good contrast of textures and values.
    My techniques have improved considerably, there is still a long way to go. Whether or not some of the textures I have created are viewed as 'correct,' the ink around the leaves in the string block created textures I like, I'm not sure they will be seen like that by others.
  • Quality of Outcome - content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts,communication of ideas
    I have applied some knowledge about color well here, but I did not manage to express my original ideas about color and music clearly. Possibly the level of my ideas is the area that needs to be adjusted in line with my skills to create more coherent outcomes. I do feel a bit frustrated that my ideas are more complicated than what I can achieve in print. I'm trying to take a long view and hope to revisit my more complex ideas in the next assignment.
  • Demonstration of Creativity - imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice
    I don't feel I have achieved as high here as I could have. I know that often in art ideas can be taken further but I feel now when reflecting on these prints a week after completing them that I could have experimented more. I felt so proud of the experimental print I completed in assignment 3 and I want to try and take this simple block in a more experimental direction. To do this I need to explore the variable inking process further. I am now traveling so cannot do this until after the break.
  • Context - reflection, research, critical thinking (learning log) 
    In this assignment I have pushed myself to develop a stronger sketchbook habit and completed quite detailed reflections of this process. This is the strongest area of this assignment and I hope will set me up for future assignments with better working practices. I think I have moved away from working to a predetermined outcome. In assignment 3 to some degree I had the finished outcome in mind before I opened my sketchbook. This time I gave myself more time and held back from thinking in outcomes. Possibly I took this too far, and my outcomes lacked direction.

    In short, this assignment has left me with some unfinished exploration. Whether or not I continue that exploration with new work and new designs or revisit this block will depend on feedback from my tutor and how my new ideas develop before I get home.

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