My recent view is of the Aston Webb building on the Birmingham University campus. It is mostly engraving and presented real challenges when I was printing it as I struggled to combine colour with the detailed engraving process successfully. Often engravings look best as a simple black and white print. I had to quieten down some of the other elements and simplify some of the details on the other plates.
I had a picture in my mind quite early on about how the colours and tones of this print would work together. I was interested in nuanced greys depicting the architectural details and a powder blue over a dark blue sky. The building is missing the red / orange brick colour, in artist's proofs, it just looked a bit fussy.
This print is heavily influenced by Hiroshige's most well known print in his series 100 Famous Views of Edo. Hiroshige's print depicts people running across a bridge during torrential rain. It was famously copied by Vincent van Gogh.
The print shown here is number 1 in the edition of 30. It is a reduction linocut, which means that at each stage a bit more of the plate is destroyed until, in this case, I was just left with the key block, the final outlining image.
This is the first of my views not to include any engraving, being entirely created using monoprint and linocut. It is only an artist's proof, but it fairly close to how the edition will be printed. I am going to change the road (roadworks) and create a shadow in the foreground cast by the trees under an orange streetlight. I have taken a long time to complete this one, having first visited the mosque almost a year ago. I do have another daytime view of the mosque that I started before this one. I'm struggling to resolve elements of it though. My thanks to Hateeb, at the mosque who showed me round and I'm hoping that I will soon have a daytime print to go with this view.
This print was started earlier in the year and has been hanging around my workshop for what feels like a long time. It is quite a simple, unfussy print. The colours seem really clean and have an almost black and white quality that I like. I am really pleased with the snow and I deliberately held back with details knowing that the snow overlaid at the end would be one of the main attributes of the piece.
The inks that I use are Intaglio printmakers relief inks. The sky has a hue that I know I will be using again - bronze dark blue / paynes grey/ white.
Rooftop Allotment, Argent College
This is the completed print. This actual print is an artist's proof and has now sold. For the edition I will work predominantly with these colours but add some lighter tones to the dark greens.
Pleased with this method which combines an engraving key block with layers of monotype. It will be difficult to recreate the image in an edition but I will document colours carefully.
I'm part way through my print of the rooftop allotment at Argent College in the Jewellery Quarter. Argent is part of the same group as Ruskin Mill where my workshop is. I have students from the college complete work experience in the printmaking workshop and many of the 100 view prints have been made with the students assisting. The heritage hub at the Argent stock my cards and there is also a very nice café where produce from the allotment is made into tasty lunches etc.
My latest print is Library Reflected. It uses many of the same monoprinting methods as the Moseley Road Baths prints. It is an edition of 30.
I'm delighted to have both this print and my Moseley Road Baths print selected for the forthcoming print biennial at the RBSA gallery in Birmingham.
The exhibition runs from the 26th July to the 1st September.
My Moseley Road Baths print is now complete. Made the decision quite early on to distort the photo to make an almost fish eye lens view. There is an obvious homage to Escher in the reflection but also to John Piper's work which is currently on exhibition at Tate Liverpool. I liked partially inking plates and building up transparent layers that have wiped edges rather than hard edges. The print is essentially a reduction engraving, where a single plate is cut a bit more in between each state. I'm going to move away from reduction for a while and explore using different plates that are cut once. I'm hoping that this will allow me to part print editions and make speedier progress with the 100 views (this is view number 17). I'm also going to increase the edition size to 30 but only print 5 at a time.
Prior to Christmas I was lucky enough to be given a photoshoot tour of Moseley Road Baths in preparation for my next print. My thanks to Mark for showing me round. There are a lot of potential views to choose from here and I could quite happily have a small folder of MRB views, in the end though I had to choose one.
My proceeds from sales of this print will go to Friends of Moseley Road Baths appeal. It combines a number of my passions: swimming, old buildings that have so much to offer to today's communities and a group of people determined to make that happen.
Over the next 5 weeks I hope to post details of the view that I have ended up doing and it's progress as I build up layers of engraving and monoprint.
This print is now completed and on display at the cafe if you would like to go and see the print in the flesh. A lovely place and the print sits rather happily there I think.
Printmaker on a mission. 100 + prints of Brum inspired by Hiroshige.