Monday 23 December 2019

Last Blog Of The Decade

What a poor year it's been for blogging.  I'm afraid I have fallen short of my aspirations.  Instagram is much quicker and easier to do and I think I've been distracted.  However, I can't let the year draw to a close without one last effort.

It's been a busy year and I've filled many sketchbooks.  Observational sketches of trees and landscapes. But every interruption means that I lose my train of thought - and so I end up going off down various avenues - heathlands, hills, seascapes, woodland.

I think my main inspiration this year has been Victoria Crowe.  Having seen her work at both the Scottish Gallery and the City Art Centre in Edinburgh in the late summer it has come home to me just how much hard work one must do to produce any meaningful work.  There really is no shortcut - as she says, there are no easy solutions or quick hits. There is only hard work, overcoming difficulties, and things that emerge from the process, the process of making art.  I realise that I should try to be more 'process-driven'.  It's that stage from sketchbook to finished work that is so important.

I thought I might focus on woodland or gardens for a bit, (a theme from the start of the year) and set about some work after an autumnal visit to Attadale Gardens.  I enjoyed loosening up the colour and thinking about bringing a figure into the picture. I came up with these two paintings which I quite liked. 

However, this avenue of thought was interrupted by a trip up to Poolewe - more sketching of amazing landscapes and beautiful colours. The Autumn colours were particularly lovely this year.

And then another trip to Edinburgh was looming and I was keen to prepare some new printing plates at Edinburgh Printmakers, so I had to set to work on some finished drawings on film, ready for exposure.

 I've been thinking too about how to add some colour to my prints to make them more interesting.  I have a few colours of etching ink, and I can print plates with more than one colour, but it doesn't always turn out well.  Also, thinking about Victoria Crowe's approach, she often brings in a wash of colour as a compositional device. I liked the idea of chine colle as a way of introducing compositional colour, so I read up on the technique, sent away for some Japanese papers and I've now had a go at it with some of these new printing plates. This was my first attempt using a paper with wavy line patterns  - I thought it was kind of interesting.
And then I tried a copper plate - experimenting with different colours and different arrangements.

It makes the printing process even more exciting - you never quite know how it will turn out! You have to take time to think it through before you make the print. It's certainly something I plan to try further - I have lots of ideas and I'm thinking about subtlety and boldness and what works best.  Or maybe there is no best....just different.

So as usual, there is much to consider....