It the final evening of my stay at Ålgården and it has been a really good three weeks. I’m just trying to work out the logistics of getting all of my prints, printing plates and associated materials into my case so that I don’t get charged excess baggage! Fortunately I was working on relatively small-scale work and the very large birch tree was just a proof so I’ve torn the margins off so that I can keep it for reference. It does make me wonder how I’ll manage when I next come because I’d like to do some large-scale pieces here some time but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it!
The final tally of works made is 7 new photopolymer prints (roughly 21x21cm each) and 2 small ones (although I’m hoping to get another made tonight) plus a large collagraph/drypoint, 3 x monotypes and a large collagrah designed and drawn up ready to cut. Pretty productive I reckon 🙂 I’ve also found time to run every day, go to Gothenburg for some exhibitions and have a couple trips out with my Swedish friends here. They have included a concert, an exhibition opening, trips to meet other artists in their studios, lunches at friends’ houses, a visit to Rydal Textile Museum and plenty of time in the woods.This weekend it was the opening of Bengt Johansson’s exhibition and he and his wife came to stay for a few days which was good fun. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself and feel very at home here.
(Bengt at his preview)
I feel like I’ve managed to make headway with the work that I began in 2012 and the photopolymer prints have given me a strand to my printmaking that fulfils something I feel has been missing. For a few years I have wanted to depict some of the atmosphere of the landscape in different weather conditions and have found it exceptionally hard to do with my collagraphs. By using my monotype techniques, plus some latent painting skills, I’ve been able to begin to depict some ideas that I’ve had for ages. Here is one of a pine forest:
I have ideas from almost ten years ago which I’ve attempted to recreate in print but that haven’t worked and now I can see a way to make them happen. I will be digging out some old sketchbooks when I get back.
It has been very damp underfoot in the forests here (and at home!) and I’ve been seeing the most wonderful reflections of trees in the puddles. The land is quite marshy in places too. My last few photopolymers were inspired by this. I started with one design and then decided to create three on the same theme. Here is a photo of the triptych of transparencies as I was creating them. The two on the wall are drying.
On Friday evening I was just heading to bed and I checked them to see if they were dry and they were. I felt compelled to get on and develop them and so I stayed up until 1.30am and made the plates. I then noticed that some of the drying prints of the photopolymer birch forest design were buckling so I decided to resoak them…big mistake! I hadn’t realised that the inks were water soluble because I couldn’t read the Swedish on the tins. I walked off to do something and when I came back to them, the prints were a vivid mess of running orange ink! It was pretty disheartening as they were the two that I was the most pleased with but these things happen and I’ll be reproofing in the UK with my inks so it doesn’t matter too much. Here is the pile of prints that didn’t make the grade!
Anyway, lessons learned and the good news was that the sun was shining brightly the following day and the photopolymer plates were curing nicely in the studio windows all ready for me to proof on Saturday.
I love the rich contrast that you can get with this kind of printmaking and making the transparencies is very satisfying. I roll the ink on to the acetate and then create the image by wiping it away and it feels like painting the light back into the image. Right, I really do want to get a third indian ink transparency made and developed on a plate so that I have a North York Moors triptych for my project so I’ll sign off for tonight but, whilst I’m sorry to be leaving, I’m feeling pretty positive about my printmaking and I’ll be coming back here again soon.
Wow that went by quickly – glad to hear that you have had an enjoyable – productive time.
Oh my goodness Hester these look extraordinary!! LOVE them! Feels as though you have tapped a fantastic new and rich vein of inspiration and potential.. Can’t wait to see more!
Hello Hester, I’m hope you don’t mind me contacting you but I’ve just been searching for pictures of Art in the Pen and found your lovely stand. I will be exhibiting for the first time this year and I’m having a mini panic about how to hang my pictures in the pen. Can I ask how you hung yours as your stand looked lovely. Did you use S hooks over the top of the bars? How did you fasten the sheeting to the pen bars?
Thank you in advance, I look forward to your reply and a good nights sleep! teehee.
Hi Fiona, sorry for the late reply, I’ve been moving house & studio! I fixed my calico to the pens by stitching it in place & then I made wire hooks to poke through the cloth & attach to the mesh or poles of the pen. It took a bit of fiddling with but seems to work well. If you use ready made hooks you just need to bear in mind that the bars of the pen at the sides are really thick & most hooks are too small to fit on which is why I made my own. Hope that helps, see you there 🙂
Heather great to see those final 3 images in this post. I am not clear as to whether those are positives or proofs but they look wonderful. They remind me a little of Anita Hunts work (USA printmaker – you may already know of her work ) but if you dont check her out. Sleep well.