Janet's Foss 3 colour screen print Edition of 8
Until I went to Neville's Cross College in Durham in 1973 I had no idea what a screen print was. But then I met a couple of art students who were turning out fabulous images using a process that was incredibly simple and brilliantly clever.
As with so many wonderful things, it was the Chinese who came up with screen printing. You take a piece of fabric (silk was the norm for a long time), stretch it over a frame and block out areas - with a stencil or by painting on a special blocking fluid - that you don't want to print. Then using a squeegee (a short length of wood holding a rubber blade) you squeeze ink through the screen onto the paper or fabric beneath.
On Janet's Foss (above) I began by blocking out the white areas of the waterfall and reflection and printed the pale green layer. Next, everything that is pale green was blocked out and the mid green layer was printed. Lastly everything but the dark green areas was blocked and the print was completed.
Used in this way screen printing is perfect for painters since (as long as you can think in terms of negative space) it allows you to use to same skill set that one normally uses directly on paper. Compared with etching, for example, it is a low tech, clean, safe process requiring no acid baths or sharp tools.
When I came back to screen printing after a gap of many years I found that the materials had changed (manmade fibre screens and easy to clean water-based inks) and also that I had changed. As a result of my years developing as a painter I had found a style and some of this carried over into screen print. For the prints of both Brograve Mill (a derelict windmill in North Norfolk) and Masham Church (which I see every time I look out of my window) I have used a very limited palette. I have also made strong use of shadows, reflections and texture techniques - all ideas which have developed from my painting. I also like the fact that a screen print is very much a handmade work and I only produce small editions of print (usually only 6 to 10 copies of each image).
I now find that painting and screen printing allow me to develop artistic ideas in very different ways.
All the new prints above, and several more, can be seen on the freshly-revised screen print page on my website. CLICK HERE to be taken there.
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A large selection of my work is always available at The Masham Gallery.
A few extracts from Under A Northern Sky :
Ardnamurchan Lighthouse (Watercolour)
New Exhibition at The Gallery, Masham : The Edge of the World
21st July to 31st August
Saltburn Pier (Watercolour)
The Gallery in Masham is mounting an exhibition entitled The Edge of the World which opens with a preview on July 20th. The exhibition's title is taken from a remarkable film set on a remote Scottish island: The Edge of the World. (More about the film below).
Looking From The Yorkshire Border (Mixed Media)
The exhibition will feature by some terrific artists: Catherine Sutcliffe-Fuller, Heather Gatt, Pamela Knight, Winifred Hodge, Gareth Buxton, Lesley Birch and myself.
The concept of "the edge" can mean so many things. The more I thought about it the more I realised that I would have to make some careful choices in exploring the subject. In the end I painted a serious of works which relate to the theme in different ways.
Two pictures: Looking From the Yorkshire Border and Saltburn Pier take Yorkshire as my world and show the views looking from the pass which leads from Cumbria into Swaledale and, far to the East, the end of Yorkshire where Saltburn pier dips its toes in the water.
Lindisfarne (Screen Print)
The images of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh refer both to life on the edge of England but also to where the worlds of the Celtic saints and the Vikings first met. Middlesmoor Church is on a hill, high at the head of Nidderdale, standing in an ancient sacred place where, in the Dark Ages, the edge of earth met the edge of heaven.
Skye from Sanna (Screen Print)
Skye from Sanna and The Lightouse, Ardnamurchan are both paintings from Ardnamurchan in Argyllshire, the most westerly part of the British mainland. Here a long finger of land reaches out, over the isle of Mull, towards the Hebrides. It’s the edge of Scotland and it feels like the edge of another world.
The Edge of the World is at:
The Gallery, 24, Market Place, Masham, North Yorkshire. HG4 4EB
There is a preview on July 20th at 7.30 pm. Come and join us for a glass of wine if you can.
The exhibition runs from 21st July to 31st August
The Gallery opening hours are:
Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 1pm - 5pm
Monday - Closed