I originally trained in textiles before migrating towards oil painting some six to seven years ago – but since joining West Dean College last September I have completely fallen for the varying print techniques we have been shown. I had tried and had a fairly good idea of certain types of printing, such as lino-, mono- and screenprinting but the precise nature of these processes and what they had to offer had been lost in my memory bank since being shown them some decades ago. But I have taken the opportunity, while taking the two-year Master in Fine Arts: Painting and Drawing programme, to really engage with these techniques – if a little overzealously when it comes to drypoint printing – my current favourite!
I think the main reason I have engaged so much with printing is that it is so direct, immediate and that it truly highlights line and form. In terms of realtive immediacy – I had become so used to waiting for layers of oil paint to dry that the ‘just getting on with it’ part is really appealing to me! Although with printing there are the various inking up processes, but once the plate and the paper is put through the press, it is done! That is to say, I am more than happy to experiment (which I often do), but it provides me with a finished piece when the paper is pulled back – no more is needed unless I want to refine a piece further.
I am very interested in capturing movement – something that I am progressing towards but am yet to fully capture – and print (combined with other techniques) is starting to provide me with a way to transcribe movement(s) in a static way – ‘frozen moments’ as it were – allowing me to imply movement similar to that I have found in clothnig and cloth, such as dapery and falling fabric. I have started to pursue this interest while juxtaposing more static pieces where everyday clothing and objects remain in-situ, something which has always attracted my attention.
There is so much more I wish to investigate in terms of printmaking and I feel the scope will widen as I start to crossover the varying techniques more and more. I don’t think we should accept the initial boundaries that techniques offer and I find the experimentation side of bringing a piece to life one of the most influential aspects driving me forward. It is my curiosity which is triggered and of course the excitement of the paper being pealed back after being pressed. Even though I may have worked in detail on a plate, I never precisely know exactly what the final print will look like – it is a surprise! [PF]