Printmaking class – collograph

I’m continuing to get enormous pleasure from this class and learn lots of new technique including…

Collograph

I recently visited an exhibition of Norman Ackroyd’s wonderfully atmospheric etchings of the coastline around the British Isles at The North House Gallery in Mann
ingtree
. Previously I’d seen just one or two of his prints in the Royal Academy so an exhibition featuring a large number of his works was a real treat. They feature great, solid statuesque rocks surrounded by swirling sea birds, crashing waves and enormous dollops of weather. I’m fond of the West Coast of Ireland so I was particularly drawn to his views of The Skelligs.

I came away feeling inspired and decided to have a go at creating a collograph featuring rocks and seabirds and a choppy sea. Believe me I soon discovered how difficult it is to create atmosphere in the way that Ackroyd does – especially using a medium that I’ve never tried before. The materials I used for my plate included paper and card, sandpaper, and skrim fabric. I also cut into the board using a Stanley knife and made marks using a biro.

My prints tended to be either too inky, losing the detail or too faint. I left just one exactly as it came off the press and then let go with inks and bleach on the rest. It was a productive experiment. I may not have achieved the perfect print but I learnt a a lot about the process and discovered that it is possible to entirely change a ‘failed’ print into something else. I’m keen to do more collograph printing as I’ve go quite a few ideas to work on now.

seascape1-low-res

Choppy seas – touched up with ink using bamboo pen

seascape2-low-res

Experiment with overpainting strong print with vivid colours. Good textural detail on the rocks and foreground emerged.

seascape3-low-res

Lighter print overpainted with inks and then bleached in parts – the most successful of my experiments

seascape4-low-res

Heavily inked print lightly painted.

seascape5-low-res

Choppy seas; my collograph as it came off the printing press.

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