Project 13: Final Prints

Due to illness I have had a bit of a haitus from working. I am still not great healthwise so the physical printmaking process is a bit of a struggle and so my progress has had to slow down a lot which now means I am eating into my level 2 time. But it is the way it is and I can only focus on one exercise at a time.
The time away from printing has allowed me to look at the work with fresh eyes. I have decided that the brighter pop-inspired colours are not what I want to be using and I have gone back to the monochrome blues of earlier to print my final pieces. 

I had issues with the second design- my father as a boy- because the background looked a little odd- so I decided to remove a large area and just leave the rug as the lino part.

Initially I was working on delicate tissue paper but then had the idea to create ‘polaroids’ which fit in with the research into WW1 postcards and using ephemeral references- this seemed to fit, explaining the narrative well.

As a final thought I initially considered presenting the images together on a notice board to emphasise the throw away quality a fellow OCA student recommended using a page from a photo album- I decided to keep the torn edges in place to emphasise the theme.

What worked well?

I feel the three images hang together well as a series and do carry a sense of narrative, reflective of the hauntology theme.

I am pleased that I thought of creating Polaroids which does work with the concept. My friends idea of using the photo album sleeve is interesting. I need to consider whether to use it at assessment- I suppose there needs to be a balance between the throw away theme and the artwork being presented professionally. This is something I would like my tutor’s guidance on.

What didn’t work so well?

The image of Dad as a boy was difficult to get the background to work when printed as lino, so I decided to cut that away and leave only the rug area showing. This meant the first two images were mainly monotype and only subtle areas of lino – possibly not entirely in line with the requirements of the brief, but taking my tutor’s comments on board about pushing the boundaries I hope that this is ok.

Using the thicker photographic paper made it difficult to get a thick even print for the third image, so instead I blended the ink with a cotton bud. Actually I feel this has worked quite well and created an interesting atmosphere that again is in keeping with the theme.

There are some imperfections around the edges of the print- which is probably to do with the more haphazard nature of the monoprint process. I was able to use the embossing machine for the monotype element which allowed the brush marks and textures to show. This could be seen as an issue but I rather like that and feel it is in keeping with my intentions.

I chose to write place names and dates on the bottom of the “photos” to add to the throw away quality- I am not sure I made the right decision. Does it cheapen the overall effect and look a bit amateur? This is something I need to think about. Again it is about getting the balance right between my concept and producing professionally presented work. 


For the next set of works I want to continue with the use of found images. I would like to continue using monochromatic palettes but using different hues. Chine colle could work really well in regard to the connections with ephemera.


Project 13: Further design work

In response to my tutor’s feedback I am trying to incorporate research into my practice so there is a stronger relationship and connection between the two. Looking at the work of Luc Tuymans in my sketchbook I can see some parallels- the use of subtle colours and distortions of found imagery.
I wanted to continue working with the theme of associated memories / thoughts about my father and used a found image of him as a young boy for the initial monotype. This worked well when I focussed on the tonal areas.

Needing to consider how I could incorporate linocut I copied the image of the boy a number of times and experimented with different backgrounds.

I had been looking at the paintings of Essam Marouf and like the contrast of the dark flat background against the coloured portraits. I decided a plain background looked the best here.

Further research on Pinterest led me to exploring how artists have employed negative space to depict absence and loss. I had the idea of using a picture of my mum’s best friend who had died early. I quite liked the idea, but felt it wasn’t in keeping with this set of images depicting Dad. It is something that I will come back to when I am on the next project though.

Instead I started to play around with some family photos from a holiday in Wales. My father was there- in the image, yet I have very few real memories of being with him- again thinking about that idea if there but not there- present but absent.

I came across some screen prints of Marilyn by Richard Hamilton. I was initially drawn to them by the colours and then after reading about them further meanings became clear- how the actress had ‘attacked’ these images with nail polish, nail files or scissors to obliterate her own image. The meaning behind was at odds with the prettiness of the colours, which I found interesting.

I had a play around with adding different colours to the photos and to my previous print designs just to try something different out, but I wasn’t convinced that these ‘pop’ colours worked within this context. 

Project 13: Combination mono and linocut- preparatory work.- Design 1.

The initial starting point for this project came about after a recent counselling session regarding past grief and trauma memories. My father passed away in quite traumatic circumstances, relating to his continued battles with alcoholism in 2002; which is taking me a long time to process. Perhaps…probably..this is why I am drawn to the subject matter regarding absence/loss and hauntology. I wanted this series of works to be relating to “lost futures” representative of my father’s absence and presence throughout my life, but also his own personal loss of a happy, fully satisfying life due to his ongoing addiction.

Addiction within a family has a huge impact on childhood and it isn’t something that was openly discussed, so there is a certain amount of vulnerability in exposing these aspects of my life within a public space. And yet it feels important to work with it and express my feelings through my art, as an act of cartharticism.

Feeling inspired by my therapy session I was moved to work directly from a photographic reference of my father holding my sister and I as children. I manipulated the image on the PC and converted it to black and white.

[With hindsight I should have also spent time cropping the image to create a slightly better composition]

Choosing to work with a limited palette I felt that would create atmosphere and mood. Using process blue and extender I mapped out the different tonal values. In terms of scale, I was working small because firstly the original photo was small and intimate which I wanted to recreate and secondly I could then use the embossing machine at this size.

From these initial studies I liked the ghostly, distorted photographic quality from this technique.

I photocopied the prints and used these as a basis for working out the linocut layer by drawing various detail over. I decided the more realistic, figurative option worked the best as it made sense and connected the figures to the space.

The linocut lines worked well with the inked figures of the child figures, but I was not comfortable with the blank central figure- even though it fits my theme, this empty space seems to dominate the composition. Also I felt I needed to pay more attention to colour and the background.

Investigating colour options initially playing with the image on the PC. I then looked at the work of Robert Tavener, who I had been made aware of through an artist friend of my mother. By employing a carefully controlled limited palette to create a strong atmosphere in his works. The image that I was most drawn to was the lithograph “Fishermen with baskets” where the artist uses a lighter cool blue against a warmer darker blue to provide interest. The faces and arms have been left white with faint features showing which create a ghostly appearance.

Further printing trying different effects with mono prints and linocut template slightly offset led to some interesting results but not really achieving what I set out to. Instead focussing on the background and using two different coloured blues – cyan and blue black achieved a better result the most successful of my experiments with my first design. (See bottom left of this page of studies)

I intend to come back to this piece when I have clarified my plans for all 3 of these prints to ensure they all work together coherently, but for now I am quite pleased with this as a starting point.