“There is no still life”
Portrayed as almost rag doll in appearance, the interconnected members of the life cycle (pods, seeds, bulbs, roots etc.) endlessly germinate, grow and die. Below ground they hold the secrets of the universe until it’s time to give way to a force that pushes them up through the soil towards the light. Drawing is a way of connecting to life through the source, and printmaking allows the artist an opportunity to explore so many different methods that fulfill the need to draw. I work primarily with monotypes, drypoint etchings and relief (linocut) prints.
MONOTYPES: These are unique pieces that result in the production of only one print. The monotype process and my approach takes many hours to execute. I use oil based inks to paint and draw onto a smooth surfaced plate. I layer the inks to achieve tone and colour brilliancy, and move the ink around scratching and drawing into it with wooden tools. Ink is added and subtracted with rollers, brushes and other instruments such as the wooden tools again. I soak acid free rag paper in a water bath, blot the paper and transfer the image from the plate to the rag paper through a hand-pulled press. With the paper being damp and with tremendous pressure from the press, the ink transfers beautifully, yielding an embossed plate impression in the rag paper. I also collage in fine Japanese papers which I have pre-printed from inked up gauze, dried flowers and other textured found items.
I use a process called chine collé to marry the fine papers to the heavier rag paper using rice glue and the pressure of the press. This chine collé process creates more depth and texture to the monotype.
DRYPOINT: I love drypoint etching because it is a wonderful technique for drawing and mark making. I use a sharp engraving tool to draw into a plexiglass plate. Once that is done I ink the entire plate with black ink making sure it gets into all the lines. Then I wipe the surface of the plate clean so only the engraved lines remain inked. I then print this etching using the hand-pulled press onto a fine Japanese paper that will pick up all the detail. I only get about six good prints from this plate as the more it goes through the press the flatter the burr in the engraved line becomes, and the image eventually breaks down and the rich textured line starts to dissipate. I let the prints dry for a couple of weeks then overprint them with colour and chine collé them to the heavier printmaking rag paper.
RELIEF: This is a most direct method of printmaking where an image can be either built up from the surface, or the background can be carved away leaving a raised image in relief. The surface (matrix) can be a wood block, or linoleum or anything that can be gouged. I prefer linoleum because it offers a softer surface for working, the cuts are precise, and I get a variety of effects. Sometimes I start with the full smooth lino block to print the background in one colour, or sometimes I remove a minimal amount of the block to designate the first colour as a raised image. The colours are printed one at a time, and the block is slowly cut away in stages, until the final color is printed. The first colour printed is usually the lightest, and I work down to the darkest as the last colour. I run the prints through a hand-pulled press in editions of between 10 and 20 prints. Once the edition is run, the block is gone and no more prints can be made.