It felt very serendipitous when Ros contacted me about creating prints for an exhibition celebrating the Fife Regatta in 2020. I had already determined that it was going to be a focus for my work early in the year, but her encouragement to experiment really took my work in different directions. I was a little wary of digressing too far away from my usual style of work, but all artists benefit from being challenged and, in the end, the subjects of the prints determined the printing techniques that were required. For me, the most enjoyable aspect of printing is about how I start with a plan in my mind...…..but it invariably evolves during the printing process and the print almost seems to take on a life of its own. The layering of colours, the use of more transparent or opaque inks, the nature of reduction printing where there is 'no going back', the constant adaptations and problem solving are all key challenges and take over my mind while I'm involved in creating a print. At the same time, there is the immersion in the Argyll landscape I love and a constant battle to distill my interpretation of this into a much-simplified printed image with just a piece of Lino, a cutting tool and some ink!
Dreams of Tighnabruaich
35 x 23 cm reduction
Linocut print, variable edition of 9
This is based on the view descending into the village one day. It was the highlighted strip of bright green grass that drew me to the scene at that particular time. It is often a single splash of colour that can make a print'work'. It's such an iconic view in the area, it's a daunting subject to take on!
Morning Skies over The Kyles
37 x 27 cm reduction
Linocut print, variable edition of 8
This view should be instantly recognisable as that from the viewpoint on the road above Tighnabruaich. It is very different to many 'traditional' Linocut prints with blended colours and a much more subdued palette. I wanted to create an image that evoked a feeling of calm and simplify the complexity of the geography of The Kyles.
41 x 27 cm,
Linocut reduction print, edition of 8
This print was the first to be designed specifically for the Fife Regatta exhibition in 2020. I really appreciated Ros' brief to 'experiment' and this is certainly one of the most distinctive prints I have created. I moved away from a more narrative approach to a complete focus on the sails as the key design element. The layering of ink on the print was able to emphasise the layers of sails and the angles help to portray a sense of movement. It is a reminder that it's the elements that power sails.
Serenity - Lochgoilhead I
20 x 29 cm,
Linocut reduction print, varied edition of 8
. Framed £175
It was really hard to focus on new prints during the pandemic lock down -not least because I couldn't travel to work on new images. This is loosely based on a photograph by Derek Prescott and has proved to be a turning point in my printing. In trying to capture the effect of mist over the loch, the ink has been used in a much more painterly way and every print in the edition is quite different. It is the juxtaposition of a clearer image, the boat, against a more fluid use of the ink that helps to create a very different kind of atmosphere.It was a really calming piece to work on.
Serenity – Lochgoilhead II
Linocut reduction print, varied edition of 7
Having worked on the first version of this print, I eventually came back to it and wanted to see how it would evolve if I used similar techniques but stronger tones. Most Lino reduction prints rely on working from lightest tones first to the darkest at the end. However, this print involves working on the boat near the start of the printing process and then using lighter colours over the top. To me, as I was working on this print, it gave me a real feeling of a hazy morning with the promise of a day filled with sunshine.