Printmaking Progress I
I headed along to the Royal Academy of Arts yesterday for the London Original Print Fair. According to the website, it’s the longest-running specialist print fair in the world and yet, I am embarrassed to admit, I’d never heard of it before. Having been abundantly inspired by the prints room at last year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, I never realised that only two months before, the whole Academy is veritably given over to the heterogenous medium of printmaking. And it couldn’t have come at a better time – as I unveiled on The Daily Norm last week, I am now a very eager printmaking student myself, having completed a weekend’s beginners intaglio and etching, and now enrolled upon the intermediate course, with esteemed printmaker Victoria Browne my very enthusiastic and gracefully patient teacher.
Wondering around the fair, which comprised some 50 galleries and print dealers selling an array of prints from £100 works by lesser-known artists, to 5-figure editions by the likes of Lichtenstein and Francis Bacon (and what I wouldn’t do for one of those), it dawned on me just how fantastically versatile the medium of print really is. While after only 3 days in the attempt, I now feel sufficiently versed in lino printing and etching to at least understand the basics of the medium, I haven’t even got started on dry point, on lithographs, on soft-ground etching, on screen printing. Yet with a beginner’s understanding of at least some print techniques, I was able to enjoy this comprehensive show of prints with a knowing and enthusiastic eye, taking inspiration from the array of prints on offer, and even making a small purchase of a beautiful Cornish-inspired supper scene by distinguished print-artist Trevor Price which was relief-printed and priced mercifully at the lower end of the scale!
Meanwhile back at home my head is awash with ideas for my own future print creations and an eagerness to learn new techniques. This week I’m due to learn aquatint, a method by which tone is added to the basic lines of an etching. I’ll be adding aquatint to my current etching plate which I can now very proudly unveil. As something of a follow up to my first etching, this one is also set out a Mallorcan beach, and borrows form my Autobiographical Mobile painting in its motif of a Fortnum and Mason’s hamper atop a rock. Meanwhile. down below, a group of perplexed Norms look up at the hamper, as much confused by its appearance as they are slightly scared by its precarious placing upon the rock’s peak.
I hope to be able to show you an aquatinted version of this plate very soon! In the meantime, I cannot extol the virtues of printmaking enough – fill your homes, check out the print works of the great artists and attend print fairs everywhere – original canvases are so yesterday.