OCA Printmaking 1: Your First Monoprints
Research into Contemporary Printmakers
For this exercise I visited the Glasgow Print Studio in order to observe first-hand the work of some local printmakers.
The first print which I was drawn to was a monoprint by the artist Calum McClure, entitled “Untitled “ In Blue, Pollock Park”, 2015. I was drawn to this work as it represents a landscape I know very well, where I have sketched in the past and I was interested to look closely at how someone else had interpreted the landscape.
The artist is known for his work depicting landscape, often featuring country estates and national parks.
The artist has used portrait format for this print. He has divided the picture plane horizontally at the very lower part of the print using dark brown and orange horizontal brushstrokes. The subdivision of the picture plane in this manner creates the impression of a very big sky and places the viewer’s eyeline low. Initially, for me it is unclear whether the viewer is looking at sea or sky. I like this aspect of the print which adds interest to the work.It suggests the idea of being “lost in a sea of blue”, of “diving into the landscape and becoming submerged”.
There are 3 strong verticals created by the trees placed each side of the picture plane. These overlap a horizontally placed tree branch stretching across the upper tired of the print. The artist may have been interested in creating the potential for both portrait and landscape interest for the print.
The work is quite heavily textured. I think that artist may have created the blue background colour by printing a smooth first layer of print. Initially, I wondered whether elements of collage had been used to produce the print. However, I think that texture has been achieved by the application of a wide range of brushstrokes and the selection of different brush sizes during the painting process. It is also possible that impressed techniques have been used to create the tree trunks (using twigs) and to create the rough area at the lower edge of the print, perhaps using bubble wrap.
In the upper 1/3 of the picture plane the artist has removed areas of paint to create the impression of clouds.The treatment of the sky is less textured than the rough brushwork used on the tree foliage, providing interest across the picture plane.
The colours selected are naturalistic and help to keep the print more representational than abstract. The use of orange at the horizon line, contrasting with its complementary orange helps draw attention to this area. The painting has a relaxed feel to it and one can imagine this being planned on a lovely summer day- interesting for me as I have spent many days here waiting on the clouds to clear to sketch these trees for a previous OCA project!
Overall, I enjoyed looking at this print, particularly seeing an alternative interpretation of a very familiar scene.
In Blue, Pollock Park, Monotype, 2015. Calum McClure