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.