This project follows form the single colour print “Anywhere but Here” and seeks to investigate the history of the. It’s of Glasgow which was such an important influence of both myself and my dad. The People’s Palace is a key repository for the archive of the city’s way of life over the last 2 centuries. It is an iconic landmark for Glaswegians and I felt that it would be a fitting place to start my journey. The prints were initiated by a sketchbook visit.
People’s Palace locations sketches
Three blocks were prepared to make up the final print. Some prints were taken to assess colour choices and cutting issues. Some excerpts from the sketchbook are shown below.
PERFORMANCE AGAINST ASSESSMENT CRITERIA: Projects 5,6 AND 7
TECHNICAL AND VISUAL SKILLS
Materials and technical skills
Once again, one of the biggest challenges in starting lino printing has been getting to grips with technical aspects.
- Cutting the blocks: I found it difficult initially to get to grips with the lino cutting tools and struggled with the physical aspects of controlling the tools.
This improved as I went through the various exercises and by the end of project 7, I was beginning to get a much better feel for what kinf of marks I could make.
- Planning a design which would work was particularly challenging when multiple blocks were used. I was aware of having to think through how the cutting would progress with each block and also to consider how each colour would print over the others.
- Registration was a real challenge with the multi-block pieces. However, I did create a cardboard jig which was a huge help with registration. However, there were still challenges, as the lino was pre-bought and I became aware that the blocks night not be exactly the same size which became significant when it came to registering the prints. I realised that if I lined the paper up to the same corner of the jig and the paper registration marks I had placed, this seemed to work better. I repeated exercise 7, creating 2 different print editions in different sizes as I felt that I had not got to grips with the process clearly for “Carnival”. I was aware that I had to backtrack to cover up overcutting of white on my first block, resulting in a change from the original design I had envisaged.
By my second attempt “People’s Palace”, I was much more comfortable with the process of both thinking through the design of the blocks and in registering them correctly. I did overcut white from my first block on the red sandstone building and tried to correct it with filer retrospectively. This didn’t work very well and it is now clear that it is very hard to get rid of unwanted white later!
I felt that I had worked out a system for holding the paper and placing it down on the inked block, reducing the number of smudges I was getting on the print borders. Using rubber gloves and religiously removing them for paper handling also cut down smudges.
Observation and visual awareness
I think that I was better able to relax into thinking about creative elements of my work for part 2. The use of location sketching was particularly helpful. In “People’s Palace” I was able to refer to the 2 large sketches I had done on the site to create a fuller mental picture for composing the print. I think this is reflected in the quality of the final image.
For “ Carnival” and “ the Soul is Mine Alone”, it was difficult to make location sketches as the masks which were the source material for the project were located in a shop window in a very busy location in Venice. For this work, I relied greatly on the Photoshop computer programme to explore creative possibilities. I think I would have produced stronger work if I has been able to sketch or revisit the site.
Quality of outcome
I think that this has improved hugely I progressed through the course, keeping clean borders on the prints as I progressed through part 2. The use of a jig worked well for me and I would definitely use this method where I can.
- “Anywhere but Here”: I was pleased with the quality of the print achieved, achieving some good sharp prints.
- “The Soul is Mine Alone”: I feel this is a strong image. I think the print could have been better if I had created a more triangular composition here. I think it worked well in different colourways and using different papers. I particularly liked the foil and was surprised how well the ink stuck to the kitchen foil
- “ Carnival”: the prints are colourful and interesting, but the image could have been better if I had been more careful about how much lino I removed from the first block. I ended up overcutting certain areas of the masks and feel the prints could have been clearer. The black overlay of the third block helped to pull the final print together.
- “People’s Palace”: I think the final image is strong, with good visual impact. The prints also work well in a more abstract sense when blocks 1 and 2 are used together. I would also like to try different colour combinations with these blocks. I overcut the first block and created white areas on brown building which I could not get rid of which impairs the final print a bit. I liked the end result and think I have been true to the spirit of a well-known local landmark. Importantly for me, other people have recognised what it is supposed to represent!
For me, this part of the course has been about gaining a grounding in techniques as it is obvious that if the work is poor the initial vision is hard to realise properly.
I felt I was improving my technical skills and enjoyed the creative process, particularly working with the masks and the “Peoples palace” project.
Context, research, reflection and critical thinking
I think the biggest lesson I have learned during part 2 is the use of the small sketchbook. It will be essential to gather a library of ideas which can be drawn on for future reference. An example is the detailed drawing of natural elements which can be brought in to add interest and narrative to the prints., for example in the work of Mark Hearld.
I have tried to keep better notes as went along for this part of the course, thinking of the sketchbook as a toolkit for future reference. This is particularly important if mistakes are not to be repeated.
I have also tried to better link my research to my own work, which I found very helpful in developing my own practice.