Geometric storm #2

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Here I first created textured watercolour backgrounds and then printed the hexagonal tile over the top in various complementing colours. Not in a regular diamond formation as for the first two pieces but working with the shapes in the background to create a pleasing, asymmetric design. The colours of the ink are pale and close to the colours used in the watercolour background so that the tiles seem to shift in and out of focus, they move into the foreground in some places and recede back in others. From a distance the overall composition and colour play is appreciated while, if you move in close, then there are many details to be explored.

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Geometric storm

My attention recently returned to lino cut and tiling patterns. In no small part because my order of Speedball Speedy-Carve arrived. It is a big slab of pink rubber – nice and thick so there’s no risk of carving too deep. It was a dream to work with – very smooth and easy to carve. I initially went at it with the same force I used on the lino and quickly realised that this was overkill and I could be much more delicate.

I’d already decided I wanted to try a hexagonal tiling pattern. I first drew out some ideas but they were crazily intricate with tiny detailing! Eventually I settled on something more achievable. A semi-abstract cloud mass with rain falling to the sea:

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I liked the way the cloud/rain/sea image was obscured by the formation of the flower as a focal point but I thought this print was too simplistic – there was not enough variation in line thickness. So I continued carving:

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Much better. So I pressed on and made some large tiled patterns to be framed for my exhibition in May. There is a surprising amount of physical endurance needed to create these – you need to press down with a lot of weight to ensure the image fully stamps, and evenly. You have to be very careful to line up each subsequent tile carefully and to ensure as soon as any part of the lino touches the paper it is held firmly in exactly that position until it is whisked away quickly to avoid smudging or blurred images. Once a few of the tiles are printed it gets quite nerve wracking as a tiny slip will ruin the whole thing and you have to start again from scratch! It definitely became easier and more successful as I learned how the ink and tiles behaved.

This first blue print uses the flower motif as a focus:

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While what I’m calling “red mist” draws you to look at the triangle created by the waves in green, fading outward to red:

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two layers, three colours

For my second experiment with linocut I used the alternative rubber material. It was much nicer to work with. Carving was smoother and there was less crumbling at the edges. I think this is the way forward. Again I tried a tessellating tile design. First I drew out the areas I wanted to cut away, mostly making it up as I went along:

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I wanted to try adding another layer in a different colour (I routed around and found a couple more tiny ink pads that were still ok). So I cut a simple teardrop shape from some lino and used that in a systematic way with pink:

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Also, I don’t know if you can make it out in the photos, but I used double sided tape and temporarily attached the stamps onto a plastic lid from one of the dried up pads – much less messy and, because it’s transparent, easier to line up when stamping. I’m very happy with the result for only my second foray into linocutting. I think ink is the way to go too while I still have some as it’s thin and translucent so you get lovely layering effects – I think the acrylic could be too thick and opaque (Although I’ve been told you can get some sort of acrylic thinner that makes it more like ink. Experiments may be needed).

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watercolour galaxy

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Something different for today – I thought I’d have a go at one of these lovely abstract space paintings that I’ve seen lots of for world watercolour month (day 11 of 31 today). It was fun and surprisingly easy to achieve. I think a lot of it is luck though as to whether you’ll get something you like at the end of it. With practice you could probably know how and when to push it in the direction you want. I added gold and white ink for the stars – you can see them better in the close up view below.

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