I think I am finding myself in a period of introspection because I want to make my art more meaningful and rich. Trying to clarify what it is that I want to do and also, importantly, how. I like many media and find myself continuously going from one to the others, so perhaps mixing them will be ultimately where I get.

However, in the meantime I also feel I need to be better technically at everything, but especially so at the printmaking media. So I jumped in at the opportunity and went to Melbourne to take two printmaking workshops at the Firestation Print Studio, one by Jazmina Cininas and one by Sarah Amos. Jazmina is a master in reduction linocut and Sarah is a master in collagraphs. They were both fantastic, very different techniques, very different approaches, very different teachers, which for me was perfect because I learned not only about the actual techniques, but also about variability in artistic process and approach. So, after worrying a lot about how much money I was investing on my practice, I feel it was very much worth it 🙂 fiu!

The artistic side was very stimulating  but in addition I was extremely lucky to be offered accommodation with the loveliest couple you can imagine, Kathleen and Stuart, who so kindly offered me a place to stay in a beautiful part of town with very easy access to everything. It was truly wonderful and in spite of the short time, we became good friends and will always remember those days. They inspired me in many ways, healthy habits and attitudes to life. I have already made our own rich, healthy cereal and chocolate snack…….

I was keen to come back and try the techniques. Since it has only been a few days, I started with this linocut and I am pleased with the result. I learned a few things in the process (one of them that I would loooove to have one of the big, at least 30cm rollers!, not very likely  for a good while!). I am sure each image presents different challenges, but hopefully I am learning to be less scared at having a go.  This image is of a male sunbird, common in North Queensland. Size 32×25.5 cm. This work simply celebrates the beauty of our local nature and its beautiful birds. Sunbird are very small and although their yellow colour is quite strong and makes them easy to spot, sometimes you have to look carefully through the leaves to find them.

The Reduction Process

I hope you all had a refreshing holiday. Ours has been hot…. pretty hot! one would think that as time goes by we get used to the climate where we live, but it does not feel that way.  The fans are on 3 at night or reluctantly we have been putting the air conditioning on (it is nice to think that we ‘adapt’ but too many bad nights of sleep is a recipe for grumpiness!). However, it is still beautiful, the birds are active, the plants are green from the recent rain and I have been plugging along in the studio, full of plans in my head but also needing to give time to some projects that must be completed soon.

I received a beautiful small print from a dear friend, a linocut from the artist Anne Curtis, who is based in Port Douglas.  She makes linocuts and uses the reduction method. The work is very impressive, even more up close than when you see it in photos. The colours are very bright and there are lots of details. Here is a close up detail of the work I now own.

Detail of ‘Native Garden Grasstree’ by Anna Curtis

I like the idea of the reduction method, it seems that registration should be easier and one uses less blocks. So I decided to have a try by making  a small woodcut, 15 by 10 cm.

Bandana_step_3_s Bandana_step4 Bandana_step5 Red_yellow_woman

I missed the first two steps in the photos, where I used a light pink/flesh colour and a slightly darker one for the darker value in the face. I can see what went well and what didn’t. It was interesting to add a white final layer over the black background. The white does not really become white, which was the goal, and I think the bandana looks better without the dark surrounding… perhaps more natural?

Still lots to learn. Registration was easier but not perfect (I am just not very good at precise work!) and the order in which to apply colours needs careful thought.  But definitely will keep trying!