Thursday, May 10, 2012


Ravine, lithograph, 76cm x 56 cm, edition of 6 (printer: Peter Lancaster)

Ravine II, lithograph, 76 x 56 cm, edition of 4 (printer: Peter Lancaster)

Above are 2 versions of the print that I worked on in early March during my time with Peter Lancaster at Lancaster Press, the first is currently on display in True Grit: The Art of Lithography at Megalo Print Studio and Gallery until May 26th (official opening tonight May 10th 6pm!). 

Spending time with Peter (thanks to Artstart) I learnt a lot about lithography, especially effective approaches to colour, while also working through some relatively new subject matter in my work. Ravine is part of a series of lithographs revisiting/re-imagining my experience hiking in the Spanish Pyrenees: navigating narrow paths hugging the cliff-side (in this case Faja de Pelay, faja meaning a belt/band, running high above Valle de Ordesa). Walking alone on a wet, foggy day I was aware of both the beauty and danger present in the sublime, but eerie landscape. I wanted to focus on the precarious zone of a cliff-face in my drawing because this small section of rock seems to belie the static quality often associated with mountains, instead inviting the imagination and offering a glimpse of a dynamic visual history represented in the writhing, fractured innards of the earth.

For those who are interested here are a few bits of process:

First I made a sketch based on this photo that I took while walking in the Pyrenees

I transferred the sketch to the key stone using red ochre & begun drawing with litho crayon (bottom) & rubbing ink (top)

initial drawing on the litho stone

a novel (and highly effective) way of sharpening crayons using offcuts of rag paper

flat background colour separations painted on drafting film before being exposed directly onto photo-sensitive metal litho plates

painting the last colour separation onto a grained aluminium litho plate using a mix of bitumen, turps & ink

mixing and recording colours based on early watercolour studies

first proofs begin, but weird shape in top right is not helping the transition from mountain to sky...

so the stone is counter-etched and drawing added in top-left, while information is deleted from a couple of the background plates

then proofs start to look exciting!

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