A week ago today I attended a printmaking workshop run by Michele Wright and Jane Ashdown, at the Porthmeor Printmakers studio above the Penwith Gallery in Back Road West, St Ives.
We 'novices' started off experimenting with intaglio techniques, using engraving tools on flexible, glossy faced card. The fine lines in my first attempt below (hmm, pears again) were created using sandpaper whereas the black areas were created by drawing an outline with one of the tools and then tearing away the top layer of card allowing the under layer to absorb a large quantity of ink. See the bird and the solid black contour on the left side of the pear.
Yesterday (Friday) I applied finishing touches using pen and ink to create cleaner lines and enhance contrasts.To produce this second print I cut and tore more of the card 'plate' - a little too enthusiastically - and later worked into it with pen and ink and collaged a small area to improve the right hand pear shape.
This next plate below was created by engraving on clear, flexible plastic from a sketch of tulips and then printing with black ink.
For this print I painted a mixture of screen filler and carborundum in the negative spaces, which absorbed the ink and printed black.
The technique was the same for this print, which I later had great fun transforming with pen and ink, watercolour pencils and gouache.
Finally we produced a collagraph - the most complicated procedure of the day - which involves gluing anything from string, card and fabric to leaves, petals and seedheads onto greyboard or mountboard, which is then sealed with shellac and allowed to dry before being inked up and printed.
For my collagraph I used sand - see the top very dark layer - and anaglypta for the Moon and Venus. The tulips were cut from beautiful paper doillies given to Jane by her Mum. The turquoise coloured ink is a signature colour used by Michele when creating her lovely collagraph prints. The painter in me couldn't resist using white gouache to brighten the Moon, Venus and tulips.
There was just time on the day to produce one more print from the collagraph plate, having quickly applied a roller-ful of yellow ochre. At my leisure yesterday - having made all of the other modifications above - I used watercolour and gouache to define the tulips and leaves, which I think improved the composition no end.