Enchanted Forest - acrylic inks on paper with collage 28 x 28 cm NOW SOLD
For a long time, I've considered developing my work with paint and collage. It's strange how these things bubble up without really knowing why. If you've been following for a while, you'll know that I've been painting again for the first time in years. Through these recent experimental pieces, I'm starting to understand how this change connects to my personal history and the work I've done to date as a printmaker.
Left: Teasels, Right: Autumn Garden, both acrylic inks on paper with collage 30 x 30cm £150 each unmounted
Some of my earliest memories are of cutting and sticking. My Mum used to tell a story of how I would beg for her giant size dress-making scissors to cut really tiny paper people that I would put in little boxes. She saved these and we still have them. I also remember cutting out pictures from mail-order catalogues. What was it about cutting out that was so compelling at such an early age? I think of the Henri Matisse quote about his paper collages "Cutting into color reminds me of the sculptor's direct carving." I think it's inherently satisfying. Unlike a pencil line that can be drawn and re-drawn, a cut is decisive and final - there's no going back! The edge has a precision and matches the real world where one visual shape overlaps another: there is no line around things!
Left: Pink flow 28 x 30cm £150 unmounted - Right: Late summer in the garden 30 x 30cm NOW SOLD - acrylic inks on paper -
These pieces are about 30cm square painted with acrylic inks using a variety of techniques: wax-resist, pouring and spraying, collage and a variety of brush marks. I've bought a few more brushes that make distinctive lines and shapes including a rigger for fine lines. Like collage, it focuses the mind to make one brushstroke that expresses a leaf or a branch. I really enjoy the clean simplicity of that in contrast to the more organic areas of flowing paint. Again, when I look back on the art I made as a teenager, I was always experimenting with different techniques and finding cool ways to make the colour interact. I did a lot of posters for friends using flowing ink colours with calligraphy over the top. It's never been enough for me to simply paint - I must find a way to give it a unique style, just as I do in my printmaking.
Left: Over the garden wall - acrylic inks and collage (NOW SOLD) Right: Cat collages with the "waste"
I've started to include animal shapes in these mixed-media works. I draw out the silhouette first then cut it out of thin paper that I've painted with layers of colours and marks. What I love about this is that you can't tell in advance how the patterns are going to fall in the animal shape which gives wonderfully unexpected texture and form. Cutting out animals relates to a period in my childhood when my brother and I would make animal encyclopedias: we would draw and colour each animal, cut it out and stick it onto an information sheet giving all the facts about that species. Happy days before children had mobile phones and computer games!
Left - Spotted (fallow deer) NOW SOLD. Right - Autumn Leaves - both acrylic inks on paper with collage - 30 x 30cm £150 unmounted
Back to my Roots - acrylic inks on paper 31 x 21cm £150 unmounted
The flowing colours of this tree painting (above) reference both tree roots and reflections; it's another way forward for me which I'm considering for my monotypes as well as painting. There's a wonderful freedom to allowing the colours to flow down but it's not as easy as it looks to end up with something interesting!
Left: Japanese Moon (NOW SOLD) 30 x 29cm. Right: Sea Pink Reed 38 x 18.5cm - acrylic inks with collage £150 each unmounted
I've been looking at Japanese woodcuts recently and being inspired to create compositions with their balance and simplicity. The two above were done quite quickly using some "waste" from my recent monotype "Serenity" (below) for which I cut paper stencils of reeds. I enjoy using both the positive and the negative parts of stencils and have little bags filled with paper trees and seedheads that I can collage with. I see a close relationship between using stencils and collage - either way, you're dividing the space.
So in lots of ways, working on these mixed-media collages is connecting with what I enjoyed doing when I took my first steps in art. But now they are informed by 27 years of experience as a printmaker. They're simple at present but I'm excited to see where they will lead.
These small mixed-media paintings are only £150 each (unmounted) as they're quite experimental. If you're interested in one, I'd be delighted to hear from you. Just email me email@example.com or phone on 07717256169. We can talk about framing and mounting options.