Collagraph, the artist’s hand

There’s something lovely about hand made artworks. The individuality, the artist’s hand at work during all stages of the process, the choice and depth of colours and each decision that is made along the way that finally results in the completed artwork.

Over the last two days I finally got around to doing the induction at the Firestation Print Studio, learning how to use the presses properly as I usually print at the kitchen bench, which is ok for Lino printing but you can’t do that for collagraph work. So it was great to be able to learn how to adjust the press to just the right pressure in order to get the desired result in my prints.

You can see the prints that have worked better and those with the correct level of pressure, although there is something still very interesting about other works. Some are ghost prints which create a really interesting layer of depth to the prints what is called palimpsest, the layers that are just distinguishable in the artwork that makes it so interesting to view.

You are constantly making decisions about the colour, the direction and place of each collagraph plate and that is what makes them one of a kind artworks, impossible  to make an edition and each one is a little bit of a surprise when you pull back the paper.

It is also interesting to hear what other people see in the artworks. These ideas can be completely different to what the original ideas of the artist are and that’s great because everyone can enjoy the art for themselves.

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Multi layer printing

Just finished a wonderful but exhausting 3 day workshop with the very talented Sarah Amos. We created a stack of collagraph printing plates, laying them out to see what would work well and what need extra attention.

After adjustments, we proofed all our plates and overplayed them building up images.

I learned so much, particularly about colour layering, keep it simple is a great idea, looking for areas that needed a zing and something that makes a statement.

I wish we had another couple of days because you just get into the zone and suddenly the 3 days are over. I think that’s a sign of a great workshop.

I really love this technique and I am amazed at what an intricate print you can create with some simple plates and careful colour choices.

Check out Sarah’s work, I’m sure you’ll be impressed!

 

Four part print, finished! Sort of.

So the main work is finished on this project and I have made one print to check out that it all works and I have to say I’m quite pleased. Now I need to make a few good prints and I hope to make a large concertina book with the set of four prints. Really the scene could go on and on but you need to stop somewhere!

The view is Grinzing with a view towards Nussdorf. These towns are just on the edge of Vienna and are home to some delightful vineyards and heurige, restaurant/ vineyards.

What would be lovely, would be to spend a longer period of time in the area and really explore the landscape and be inspired by the surroundings and the people. I guess that’s the same anywhere, you really need time to develop your ideas about a place and get past the surface.

It would be wonderful to have to opportunity to participate in an art residency somewhere so that you could really focus your time and energies on your art making. Perhaps one day!

Let me know I found you have enjoyed an art residency somewhere.

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Creating a series

Creating a series is a good way of focusing your ideas and also extending your ideas. Often one idea leads to another and a series enables you to experiment, plan, play and create around these themes.

My last few Lino print have all been based around Austria as it holds a very special place for me. I also believe it is important to create art about something you care about or are interested in, as the end results are always better than if you are just creating for financial reward. Mind you, you do end up with a cupboard full of art but that’s ok too as you can see the journey that has happened with your art along the way.

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The matching partner.

This is view number two. It is one of a number of apple trees that stand behind the family home in Austria. In times gone by the washing line was strung between the trees and the deer also came to feed there. The view is again looking out toward Traunsee, a little bit of artist licence because in actual fact the view is towards the mountains around Salzburg. I would like to hang them up at home, it’s just finding space. I’ll need to do some rearranging!

I hope to hang one at The Firestation print studio at the end of July when we have open days and there will also be an exhibition by Wendy Sharpe and Bernard Ollis at the same time. So if you are in the area then please come and visit.IMG_3890IMG_3900

 

Traunstein, Traunsee, Traunkirchen

Usually when you finish an artwork you think, I could have done something differently, better, more carefully, but this time I am really rather pleased with this work. The Lino print features Traunkirchen on Traunsee. In the Salzkammergut region of Upper Austria. The work is about 45cm by 65cm the most detailed piece I have completed. I like the detail rather than just lines but I guess different designs require different techniques. Still needs a little clean up here and there but basically finished.

Quick note, at the end of July, Firestation Print Studio will be open for Open House Melbourne, so come along and have a look how printing making happens.

Van Gogh at the NGV

The National Gallery of Victoria currently has a lovely exhibition of Van Gogh’s work. It was wonderful to see these beautiful works, especially seeing some that are not so well recognised. We all know; Sunflowers, Starry Night and his Yellow House but to see his lovely pen and ink drawings with the detailed line work which later becomes his busy brush strokes, it was great to see the progression.

Some will argue ‘what is so special about VanGogh’s work?’ I love them. I love the colour. What often comes across as simplicity is actually full of detail, colour, emotion and warmth. It just makes you think what might have been. It was wonderful to look at the work and think he was once standing infront of those paintings too.

It is a pity that he was not appreciated when he was alive. It can take a long time for an artist’s work to be understood, appreciated and accepted. Maybe we should take more care of our artists. Sometimes they are trying to convey a message and at other times looking at an artwork is just about enjoying the moment and it makes you feel good.

Thanks to the NGV for bringing this beautiful work to us.

Watercolour

I have been having a play with watercolour painting after doing the class with a Mark Dober. It really is enjoyable and relaxing, especially after a day teaching art. I like the idea of trying to loosen up the painting and not worry too much about everything having to be perfect. It is a much more painterly approach, giving an impression of the scene rather than an exact rendering. I can’t help myself though and do feel the need to add layers of pattern detail. I also know I need give more strength to my colours as often everthing seems to have the same intensity so that is something definitely to work on.

Three of these are local scenes from walks around the area, the fourth is supposed to be Litzlberg Island in Attersee.

Each piece is about learning and trialling the technique, you can’t be to precious about your art when learning as it is very rare that the final piece will live up to the scene you have in you head but it is all good practise.

Aussie Landscape Ideas

Walking at the local lake and wetlands provides lovely landscapes for future artworks. Australia’s landscape is often messy, full of undergrowth, birds and animal habitats.  It is common to sea black swans, parrots, galahs, cockatoos, swamp hens, blue wrens, magpies and even the odd pelican down at the lake.

I’m hoping to use these scenes to practise the watercolour skills I’m trying to develop. It is interesting, when you create art, how you look at things differently. That’s a great scene for a painting, lovely colours, shades, lights and darks, textures, all leading to a new art project.

Rippon Lea Watercolour Workshop

The stunning grounds of Rippon Lea in Elsternwick, Victoria was the setting for a wonderful watercolour workshop with the very talented artist, Mark Dober.

We tried to have the class two weeks ago but pouring ran prevented us from attending and what a stroke of luck that turned out to be because today was glorious.

We set up our site by the edge of the lake and watched Mark as he demonstrated the different aspects of mapping out our watercolour paintings. Mark was great at showing us the different steps and then letting us go for it but he also provided enough guidance and feed back to make sure we stayed on track.

As you can see, the day was stunning and we even had a visit from a very friendly duck that managed to walk over my painting, what a critic!

Rippon Lea began in 1868 when the Sargood family bought 11 hectares and built this wonderful mansion. It makes a beautiful venue for painting, picnics, weddings and even filming shows, which apparently they were doing inside when we were there.

So if you are in the area, stop in for a visit and perhaps try your hand at some painting.