The woodcut that went wrong and then right

You might remember that I finished a woodcut of daffodils recently. The idea came from seeing a field of early daffodils in Cornwall in February, with a grey and misty St Michael’s Mount appearing to float behind the drift of yellow. I printed the daffodils three times in different ways, then printed the St Michael’s Mount in the mist above it. Unfortunately, this really didn’t work how I’d expected. The top print looked very separate from the lower one and distracted from the daffodils, which had an integrity of their own. I left the prints on the wall for quite a while, reluctant to lose the idea of early daffodils with the Mount behind them, until I said these words to myself and realised that I could print the Mount immediately behind the daffodils and keep the tightness of the square of flowers.Early daffodils 3

I was very pleased to have a solution that I like. In this print the daffodil plate is printed twice, once in yellow and once in pale green, with a quarter turn over the first. The St Michael’s Mount was printed last in a very transparent pale violet which was blotted off the first two colours – I will print it first in future! It’s a new plate too, larger so that it fits well in the centre of the square.

There are two more of this first experimental group, each printed a bit differently. The one below has a random texture in greens and yellows with the daffodils printed just once in yellow and the second one has stronger colour rolled and printed over the daffodils.Early daffodils 1

Early daffodils 2

The original print had a smaller St Michael’s Mount printed under a print of wood grain above the daffodils. Here it is with the new larger Mount printed over the daffodils while I was experimenting with how it might work better. First proof

I liked the Mount and wood grain, so I separated it from all the daffodil prints. So I now also have three smaller prints of the Mount in the mist and I’ve added a line of people walking out to the island. This needs a bit more refining, but I like the general direction!Mt with people

Although many people use printmaking as a method of making repeatable images, my approach now is much more about making repeatable elements that can contribute towards building up layered and variable images.



About vivmartin1

Viv is an artist and educator based on the south coast of England.
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