This new series is partly inspired by the trees and forests I’m best acquainted with, London’s Hampstead Heath, and the forest of Le Touquet in Northern France. Although much of my work has focussed on themes taken from history, I love abstracting from the world around me, especially forms and compositions taken from trees, woods, water and flowers.
Recently I have started cutting my monoprints from small blocks of foamboard rather than from wood or lino as I used to do. It’s much easier on the hands, and it takes the paint, and prints, wonderfully well. I use a light Chinese paper which comes in a luxuriously long roll from Cornellisens, and hand-prints very well without the need for a printing press or any special kit; one just needs a spoon to burnish the back of the print, being very careful not to move the paper and smudge the paint. Even better than a spoon is a cute little round wooden block covered in felt which is very efficient at making sure all the paint is transferred to the paper (which is often called the ‘support’). I made several blocks of the same size all on the same theme,and had a lot of fun randomly overprinting them in different combinations and colours. I also included in the process some ‘chine collé’, a cunning way of incorporating pieces of contrasting paper into the background of the print; you cover the chosen fragments of paper with glue, and lay them sticky-side-up on top of the ready-inked block. Voilà, as you place the block on the paper, the glued paper sticks fast into the background of the print, beneath the paint. It’s very important not to think too much about this when you’re doing it because it’s just plain weird. The results aren’t perfectly predictable, but I guess that’s part of the attraction!
You can read more about these individual collages and paintings on my facebook page.