Linocuts have probably taken up most of my printmaking studies over the last couple of years. It's easy to to do at home, there's little to no chemicals involved (depending on the type of ink you use) and you can often press by hand (also depending on the weight of the paper that you use). I've attended two workshops focusing on linocut carving and printing, but beyond that everything I've learned has been through Google searches, YouTube and buying secondhand textbooks from Abebooks. I have a pretty nice collection on the bookshelf, and they're excellent weights when I need to flatten my work, too!
The convenience of linocut is perhaps part of the reason why I love it, but I also love the textured results from carving. I can do most of my work at home, lotus-positioned at my desk and listening to hours and hours of podcasts (I highly recommend 'Invisibilia', 'Snap Judgement', 'Myths and Legends' and 'This American Life').
For this project, we learned how to create tone using different cutting techniques on our blocks. I hadn't deliberately done much of this before, and a small lesson in sketching with white pencil onto black paper helped quite a bit. We then went on to carve on small lino blocks for a bit of practice.
For my final project, I decided to use TS Eliot's 'Four Quartets' as inspiration. Drawing on some of the themes and imagery in the first poem, 'Burnt Norton', I began designing my image and created a small practice block for this.
I also used a bit of inspiration from other artists, such as David Frazer. I love the way he creates tone in his sky and clouds and have seen this technique used in other artworks, such as those of Rew Hanks. Combining the lone, bare tree and clouds - representing winter - with a reflection of spring imagery in the lake, I wanted to convey the idea of temporality and that past, present and future can appear to overlap (there's no knowing whether the reflection is spring past or spring future). I was mostly pleased with the results, but felt that I could have added more tone in some areas - particularly with the bird and lambs in the lake. This could be an indication that I need more practice in the printing department as well.
Burnt Norton: Part 1
Time present and time past Are both perhaps present in time future And time future contained in time past. If all time is eternally present All time is unredeemable. What might have been is an abstraction Remaining a perpetual possibility Only in a world of speculation. What might have been and what has been Point to one end, which is always present. Footfalls echo in the memory Down the passage which we did not take Towards the door we never opened Into the rose-garden. My words echo Thus, in your mind. But to what purpose Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves I do not know. Other echoes Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow? Quick, said the bird, find them, find them, Round the corner. Through the first gate, Into our first world, shall we follow The deception of the thrush? Into our first world. There they were, dignified, invisible, Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves, In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air, And the bird called, in response to The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery, And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses Had the look of flowers that are looked at. There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting. So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern, Along the empty alley, into the box circle, To look down into the drained pool. Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged, And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight, And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly, The surface glittered out of heart of light, And they were behind us, reflected in the pool. Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty. Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children, Hidden excitedly, containing laughter. Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind Cannot bear very much reality. Time past and time future What might have been and what has been Point to one end, which is always present.
Here's a little peek at something I started working on in January, but will need to catch up on over the holidays.