One of the main characteristics of Hiroshige's work is the use of colour and the complex gradients achieved by the printers. This has challenged me in my own practice. On the whole I prefer to work with limited palettes and monochromes. They work well as layers and avoid looking coloured in. I do not know exactly how I will approach colour but I am interested in keeping the complexity of colour: number of different colours, but using a more muted palette. Some of Hiroshige's work does this, such as Kinryuzan Temple. There is an evident contrast between the cold winter landscape and the interior trappings but it is comparatively understated in its use of colour. Because of my use of engraving as the main or key block in my own prints, I could have a lot more black in my work. Dare I use flat colour without details? One element I will take from this print is the contrast against a muted background. The leaves, scattered around the base of my first image will provide that contrast.
In part I have been inspired to make my 100 Famous Views of Birmingham by a Japanese printmaker called Hiroshige, who published his 100 famous views of Edo between 1856 and 1859.
The striking compositions, clean colours and insights given into a different time and place have always remained fresh and crossed over into my photography as well as my printmaking.
100 views is no mean feat, particularly in the slow and painstaking world of printmaking. But all of that is yet to come.
First one. Very wet, windy and cold. This is the first engraving (as yet unfinished) for the 100 famous views of Birmingham. I had one or two choices from this shoot but I decided upon the railings reflected in puddles with leaves on the top. The Christmas market was tempting but it was the slightly Dickensian statue that took my eye.
Printmaker on a mission. 100 + prints of Brum inspired by Hiroshige.