I am both a painter and printmaker, and enjoy the contrasting methods and emotions involved in both. I studied Illustration at degree level and spent the last year at university focusing solely on printmaking. In both my painting and printmaking the mark making and linear qualities, and colour choices feature strongly. I really appreciate having the two mediums at my fingertips. I find they each need very different mindsets, so can follow which one will suit me on that day.
My printing process is very slow and methodical. I find inspiration in the small details within nature and love to look deep into hedgerows and clumps of grasses or the banks of rivers. I take lots of photographs and work from these at home, sketching out compositions, then simplifying them into my minimal linocuts. Sometimes I inverse my designs, flipping the negative and positive space, and sometimes I cut the lino as if I were drawing. Each print is planned very carefully. Some are single plates, some are layered multiple plates in shades from light to dark. I don’t use the reduction method of printing, I overprint the layers of colour. Hand mixing my printing colours so that I can vary them endlessly, and combined with the overprinting this creates very subtle tones and shifts in colour within each piece. My prints are limited editions that I hand press which again creates tiny variations in every print. The final step in my process is to work over the print with pencil and draw directly onto the surface, making tiny shadows and contrasts.
Oil Painting Process
My painting process is completely different. I sometimes plan the paintings with a quick loose sketch, but generally I don’t. I paint from memory of places I’ve travelled to and try to capture a feeling or mood rather than an actual location. My first step is to use printing rollers to build a fine layer of tone and colour on the canvas or paper. I then apply oil paints thickly with a palette knife and work the surface of the paint in sweeping motions, blending and scraping the colours as they mix. Finally, once the surface has dried, it’s a fluid process where the paint itself can dictate the perceived subject of the painting.
I have found I need to have a very clear mind to paint as it takes a certain depth of concentration and state of mental reflection otherwise I cannot even begin!
Since studying Illustration quite a few years ago, I have always had art ticking over in my life, juggled with other work and family commitments. More recently I have been able to focus more of my time to developing my painting and printmaking skills. I have exhibited at Art Fairs, with galleries, in pop-up shows and touring exhibitions, and the more I get my artwork out into the world, the more I feel compelled to create.