Despite the issues discussed in the narrative for the project, this is my favourite of the “found objects” prints. Its interpretation of “balance” is, I will admit, fairly obscure – but the story behind it is significant. It has meaning for myself, which I will admit is particularly obscure for others to follow. I have demonstrated that an audience might at least detect that bot all is as it might seem.
The overall concept for the work needs significant work if the message is to be conveyed more clearly without changing the fundamental aspect of the work. How might the message be made clearer? Would a different grouping of the upper leaves cause the idea of “standing together” to be communicated? Is there a way to make the difference between the upper and lower leaves more clear? The use of a small colour palette was deliberate, and is (arguably) one of the more successful aspects, but was the choice of colour the best? Might black and white leaves have worked better? This would, of course, have required a coloured paper – which wasn’t printing that well.
The image produced is well defined, in terms of the elements of the image, which is something I wanted to achieve. A number of the experiments in printing went towards achieving this. The main factors that allowed this were adjustments of the print process, the paper used and the ink. These may be fairly fundamental issues, but the seemingly simple result produced did need a significant amount of experiment and feedback.
I really enjoyed the trace printing approach, and I’m reasonably happy with the end result – within the constraints of the fact that I’m not that keen on the original self-portrait it was traced from. I’m starting to get some signs of tonal range – though still a way to go. If I go on to work with this medium more, however, I will need to do significant further experimentation with different inks and papers.
There are parts of the image that I think have worked really well – such as the shading of the folds. As with the other print work, I’ve needed to put a lot of effort into the mechanics of the work. I would need to experiment further to be happy with having an ability to fully express the subtleties needed in a piece of fine art.
Despite the technical issues in transferring the image from the plate to the paper, I think this is my favourite of the direct drawn prints. In some ways it is less dramatic than the last print, but I like the effect of the sea and sky. The accidental vertical lines within the image also add interest. The form of the boat hull has come across well, as has the tops of the waves. Interestingly, I’m not totally sure if the image transfer had worked properly whether the final image would have been more or less interesting.
Reflection and Evaluation
What went well?
Despite achieving, to my mind, at best limited success I really enjoy the printing projects. I have a long way to go to master the techniques, but I have a suspicion that I might still be saying that if I spent another 6 months on experimentation and working. I’m starting to understand some aspects of the medium, and an set of approaches for getting reasonable results.
I think the iterative and experimental way that I approached the work, doing a bit and then researching a bit, worked well for this project. In fact it seems to work in general for the art course. A more ‘pure study’ approach allows migration off on a tangent without a basis in making.
As suggested when I tested the print, I could (and possibly) should have spent more experimental effort of considering how balance might be represented using composition and tone. This would be a fruitful area for further consideration, as it is an area I glossed over somewhat in my preparatory work. In fact, I think composition is becoming an area that needs much more detailed consideration as a future topic that I need to understand better to improve the quality of my work.
During my print research I considered a fair range of work (See https://www.pinterest.co.uk/dhsarquol/printing/ for a sample), but only a proportion of this might be considered “analysed” and very little of that consideration has been written up. There are a number of balancing acts going on here: Doing vs Study; Analysis vs Viewing; and Use of time. There is a need to make a set of judgements of how best to fit all of this within the framework of the course and submission timeline.
What could have been better?
With the found objects I’d like to try again using a “gel plate.” The flex of the surface might significantly improve the way that the image production works, as I suspect the firm acrylic plate combined with limited flexibility in the paper limits the form and amount of image transfer. As mentioned elsewhere, I think experimentation with a wider range of papers and inks might also improve the technical result.
There are also more subtle considerations that need work. These range from basic composition, to the encoding of meaning and more structured consideration of artistic elements in building the work. I suspect, however, that these are areas that might be on my development list for quite a long time.
What other research might I have done?
Much of the research and practice during the creation of this piece was related to the mechanics of printing. In future I would like to consider how I might have used the composition to better convey meaning. Could I have referenced more famous works in some way to get the message over with the leaf print?
I am also in the process of trying to get a better understanding of colour theory. This is going to be a long term project, rather than something which will be completed in a few days or weeks. The use of colour is an area I’ve avoided for a long time, and so need to be addressed fairly soon.
Beyond the bounds of the course there is a lot of further research and experimentation that I’d like to do in order to expand my production and understanding. This includes lino print and wood block printing. I did start a wood block print on plywood, but the sheet wasn’t up to standard for the work and so I abandoned it.