Well, that was fun!
Two very busy workshops one after the other. Two teachers. Eighteen students (Some of the students did both workshops.) Some amazing work.
Here’s some photos:
Usually, prints are presented behind glass, with a matt surrounding the image and a frame enclosing the whole lot. Why struggle to achieve a beautiful surface, then put it behind glass, with its hardness and reflectivity?
I remember discovering encaustic at an exhibition in the Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney, some years ago. There was a beautiful Kim Westcott drypoint embedded in a glowing sensuous red wax. It was large, and unframed. I could see that potentially I could free myself from frame and glass if I explored encaustic. Encaustic is a medium entirely on its own , but it can also be used to collage prints or works on paper together, and to seal them from dust so that they don’t have to be presented behind glass. To work the wax, you can use techniques which are familiar to printmakers. Moreover, the wax can make even quite thick paper translucent, so there is an opportunity to explore the use of light. And, like in printmaking, there are lots of happy accidents. For the last few years, I have been learning as much as I can about encaustic, and have used it together with my printmaking, and alone, as a separate discipline.
I can see that I have plenty of new directions to take, places to stop on my journey, before I move on again.
Only one more part to this talk to come, folks!
The works that I had been doing now seemed too constructed, or fabricated, and I wanted to move to a simpler and more direct technique where the marks could speak for themselves. Having experimented a lot with monotype, and realising what beautiful, sensitive and immediate marks I could make with that technique if I forgot about formal imagery and just went with the flow of surface, I moved on to a series of panels based on the shapes of letters. I noticed that when presented in a manner which stripped them of any meaning, letters could flow thoughtlessly from my hand. Like a madwoman, I turn up the music and draw the letters of the alphabet over and over again. Sometimes I layer several colours onto the image.
These are transfer monotypes. In this process, you roll out a colour, carefully place the paper face down on top, and draw through the back. The drawing tool forces the paper into direct contact with the ink, and the drawing is transferred to the paper. As part of the technique, the letters are reversed so they don’t make any sense, and the eye can concentrate on the graphic shapes made by the letters.
Warringah Printmakers Studio offers classes, workshops and access to artists wanting to explore printmaking in an environment which promotes safer procedures and practices. I have been a member and occasional office bearer for around 20 years. We are now celebrating 15 years since our incorporation with an exhibition at Manly Art Gallery opening on Friday, 20th July. All the works in the show have been made using safer practices.
As you can see, I’ll be giving a talk about my art practice on Sunday 19th August, between 3pm and 4.30pm, together with Geraldine Berkemeier and Peri Tobias. Here is one of the works I have in the show:
I know its been Christmas, but I have a lot of things happening next year, so I need to keep working when I can! Today I had a very productive day, working with monotypes made with Akua Color ink on fine tissue papers and encaustic medium. These works are meant to be viewed as pairs.
I had been feeling a bit concerned that my work was not flowing. Let’s hope this leads to greater productivity………