I’m fascinated by connections between aural traditions and the British landscape. There is a sense of prehistory in old place names and early monuments. Le Morte d’Arthur is part of a series of prints exploring these ideas, in which the figure is contained in and imprinted onto the landscape, symbolising our connection to it.
I generally start with small drawings and some of these ideas I scale up into larger drawings. I’m very interested in composition, creating a flow through the image. Once I’m happy with the drawing, I reverse it and transfer it onto the lino ready to start cutting. I use a separate lino block for each colour, the colour separation being worked out at the drawing stage.
For me there is a very close relationship between the printmaking process and drawing, in that I am asking a limited number of colours to achieve a desired effect without the use of a key block.
The key block is generally the last block to be printed, usually a dark colour, creating the line work around the shapes in the image. My prints rely instead on a balance of shapes and tones worked out through repeated drawings.
As this series has developed I have used texture to soften the graphic look that is so characteristic of linocuts and to impart a more painterly quality to the final image. In Landscape with a Figure and Sacred Well, the figure is almost entirely textured and then scratched with the cutting tool. The distressed surface connotes erosion, which adds another dimension to the artwork by suggesting the passage of time. The use of texture also introduces an element of chance, offsetting the hard-edged graphic look and fairly controlled process of cutting with steel gouges and knives.
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