This week I described my collection of books as a monster and a friend; it makes me happy, frustrated and sometimes sad. However, I would not change it for the world especially when I find images like this one. I am a printmaker and last week I had the opportunity try out drypoint etching; it is quite different to relief printing and I began searching my books for examples to aspire to. As I dragged books from my shelves, I wished I had a proper catalogue and grumbled a bit as the books laid about on the floor. Then, as I found more and more examples, I delighted in them and so glad I was in a position to browse.
This image is by Hedwig Brauer in the Woodcut/Engraving : a contribution to the history of the art by Imre Reiner , it is a wood cut, I think, but would lend itself to drypoint. I don’t know anything about her and assume she was busy at the beginning 20th century.
‘Nosso Brasil tão feliz
De minério, fauna e flora
A cultura vive anônima
Só o estrangeiro explora
Só quer o que vem de fora’
Our Brazil so happy
With mineral, fauna and flora
The culture lives anonymously
Only the foreigner explores
Just wants what comes from another country
The poet tells us of ‘Our’ Brazil’s natural attributes, it minerals, flowers and wildlife and she is happy. Its culture remains unnoticed; recognized only by foreign explorers. Brazil is alienated and is sad it seems. I am thinking, we all feel much like this about our homes … looking at green fields beyond and forget the richness of our neighbourhoods.
I have a substantial library of books about printmaking, I add to it whenever I get the opportunity. It serves as a source of inspiration, guidance and motivation. However, it has a couple of manifestations that is not always conducive to the production of works of art. Sometimes, my collection of books is a monster, costly, invasive and a troublesome distraction; then it can be a friend, warm, comforting and exciting. While I was trying to concentrate on today’s blog and then later focus on my new lino cut I came across this book by Mary Azarian but this will never be a monster rather a very dear friend.
This event happened on old year’s day 2014 and it was not odd at the time. We; my husband, daughter and her partner were marking the coming new year and making good wishes with some Chinese lanterns. But looking back they must have looked very creepy as they drifted on the breeze along the Thames at midnight.
After a few days of learning and fun I am looking forward to to when I can practice my new found skills. However, this has been put on hold as I have a new project. My son-in-law has recently finished writing his second book and it requires a cover. The story is about a hospital; so we thought the entrance at the emergency department might be appropriate. I have made some (many) preliminary sketches but I have come to a halt; when I need to make some decisions. Should I make my image, the finished book size or larger if so how much? For technical reasons these choices make a difference; but I know not what.
Then there is the medium , if I were to make it A3 then a Linoprint would not be practical; so I would consider silkscreen print and therefore need help. If I were to do it A4 or smaller, lino would be fine; but then reduction or multi-colour?
If time allows then to try all three would be the answer.
Today is the final day of a three day printing workshop; it has been a joy! There was no reason why it should have been otherwise; it was a local venue and the teacher was a dear friend, nonetheless I was fearful as the course began. Fortunately, It was not long before I was able to look at new printmaking skills, playfully. I was among kindred souls who also had doubts about printmaking and the ways it could be learned and ‘made’ in three days! I, not wishing to put myself under the pressure took some lino cuts I had made while in Brazil and in a position to layer and line as the course indicated; following some step-by-step instructions of multi-coloured inking, collage and monoprints. I am pleased with the results so far, although they will not be gracing any walls. Having spent much longer experimenting with different tools and methods with an expert I am now a position to try them at home where I can take my time and use my oil based inks, glues etc. So onward …