Painting, Printmaking or Both?

I do like to be able to do both printmaking and painting – I find that one informs the other and I use both to explore a subject; to develop and refine an idea more fully. So once a painting is finished, I may use it as a starting point for a print and sometimes it’s the other way around.

And on a practical note, printmaking is a great way of persuading a gallery to stock your work – a few of your prints in their browser is not as much a risk as giving valuable wall space to a painting. Prints are more affordable in this recession too and the artist has more work available to send out to galleries, open exhibitions, etc., and thus has more opportunities to show.

So I find it enjoyable and advantageous to do both. You know those times when you’re so dispirited that you never want to see another lino block again? Well, you can just put down those cutting tools (try not to throw them out of the window) and turn once again, with a small sigh of relief, to a new white canvas. How lovely, you think, to be able to pick up a brush and enjoy the immediacy of painting (until the inevitable time comes when you never want to see another tube of oil paint again and wistfully recall the pleasures of printmaking…).

So anyway, here is an oil painting of mine (Early Morning, 50x50cms), which I sold at my show ‘From the City to the Suburbs’ at Cambridge Contemporary Art last year. It’s now available as a greetings card.

 After quite a bit of alteration to the original working drawing and a lot of simplification, I started to cut the four blocks – the colours used, in order of printing, were raw umber, crimson, cream (olive green and a lot of white) and monastral blue (as a glaze).

And here is the finished linocut, now called Up With the Larks, and due to be shown at Bankside Gallery during the RE Annual Exhibition next month….

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