February 15, 2009

Painterly Prints

One of the main things I've struggled with, pretty much right from when I first began doing relief prints, is the question of style. My style. On the one hand, I love the defined edges and linear quality of the work of artists like Angie Lewin and Stephen Alcorn. On the other, there's the subtle and softer-edged work of printmakers like Gustave Baumann. Two very different approaches to working with the same medium and I can't make up my mind which style I prefer. Or which way I want to go.

A couple of years ago, the March 2007 issue of American Artist magazine had an article on an Oregon printmaker, Brad Teare, who's following in Baumann's footsteps and producing prints in a very "painterly" style. Beautifully. Here's an on-line copy of the article and some more images.

And so back to my work. I'm still fence-sitting. Because I was disappointed with my last print, Eve and the Serpent, I'm making a conscious effort to get a more "painterly" feel to the print I'm now working on. No key block; no harsh lines. It's still too blocky at this point to tell if I'm succeeding. Here's the latest colour:

But I'm also working on another image which will be more linear.

There hasn't been much to show over the past few weeks. The first two printings didn't give much of an idea of anything:

It wasn't until today, when I added in the next two colours that an image begins to emerge. This one is based purely on imagination; the idea came to me one night as I was drifting off to sleep. I think I'm actually going to call it Dreams.

Ironically, although my new and much anticipated brayer arrived from Daniel Smith this week, I couldn't use it. I was printing two colours at once and had to use smaller brayers.

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