Project 12: Collatype collage prints (Background)

The instructions for this part of the course asks that I work ‘towards a series of representational images.’

My husband recently found a dead yellowhammer on our patio and put it in the freezer knowing that I would be interested in drawing this at some stage. I felt that it would be a useful starting point for this project, with obvious links to hauntology.

Initially I produced a number of sketchbook studies. I was quite affected by the dead bird in front of me. At once shocked and repulsed but then also interested and saddened by the bird’s demise. I think these feelings were in my mind as I produced some quite expressive drawings.

Upon looking back at these I was interested by how the shape of the bird conveyed a sense of loss and sadness.

As I am also interested in archive – combining images from the past with the present, I took some photos of this yellowhammer. I remembered a few years ago we also found an injured bird in our garden and tried to help it recover. My husband had taken a few photos which I could utilise, plus I found a few public domain images on wiki-commons:

Birds collage

From these I produced other sketches. I was particularly drawn to the shapes of the birds and how evocative these were. I had been looking at the work of Prunella Clough, in particular her ‘Primitive Plant’ print. In this I liked the way that she had reduced the subject down to its bare essentials. She was left with the negative space that is ‘there but not there’: absence and presence. I felt that this approach to the subject matter could work well as a series of small images printed intaglio, which I will return to after producing the relief prints.

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