For my final layer of experimentation I decided to add another layer to make up the hair. I thought that this would add more to the figurative aspect of the prints, but still leave it up to the viewer to decide whether they think it is abstract or more figurative.
I worked on doing another layer of ink for the hair, and for the colour I thought either a dark electric blue or a red/orange colour. I decided to go for the orange as I had already experimented with lots of blues, so went to try something different.
This is what I came out with:
I like how the orange has given an extra yellow-green value here
I think the orange balances well with the sketchy purple tones
I was having second thoughts after mixing the orange colour and thought maybe I should do a red instead but I didn’t want the red to be too overpowering, so I stuck with the orange and I really like it next to green. In fact, against the pink it actually makes a reddy colour anyway!
I really like the contrast here with the dark blues and light pink/orange
To develop my print further, I decided to look for more figurative shapes this time after having worked with fluid, abstract shapes for quite a while. Looking at my prints, I started to look for ways that I could suggest a body shape through the types of shapes I had been using (as well as try out my stencil).
I looked at some figurative drawings for inspiration:
Please see my pinterest board for more: https://uk.pinterest.com/katdemej/transcription/
I also referred back to Gary Hume prints to help me:
Above left: ‘Magda’, 2012 and right ‘Pink Ponytail’, 2009, both Gary Hume.
As I searched my prints for any kind of shape to work with – I noticed an area in the middle that I could make out a face and hair. I decided that this would be my next stage of development and made a few quick designs of what I could add to my print.
I sketched how I could depict an eye and maybe even an eyebrow, but keeping it only suggestive rather than definite. I decided that rather than cutting out different shapes and laying them on the paper (so that whatever area was left with a shape would be inked) I wanted to only colour a specific part of the paper, rather than a wash of ink all the way over, which is what I had been doing all the way through so far.
So, I made a new stencil for an eyebrow and eye and chose a forest-green colour (keeping it translucent) to begin with. This is what I came out with:
I am really happy with my choice of green – I think it is a really nice touch especially in such a small area as I don’t think it would have worked as a wash all the way over the top of the print.
I think the green works the best on the pink one above as it stands out more and because the fourth blue layer didn’t work (as it was too light) I think it really needed something else to carry it – and the green does just that!
I think the purple/blue slightly overtakes the green here but I think that’s okay as it adds a bit of character to the print and doesn’t overpower the blue/pink layers.
This was the lighter print, and I decided to do a full wash over the top layer with an added stencil of one of my figurative drawings. I love the green over the pink and the translucency of both of these main colours works a treat. It’s not too overpowering and they seem to work really well together. I also really like how my stencil turned out – some feedback I got was that it looked like just a shape at first, then a foetus, then like a woman curled up! I think trying to be suggestive rather than definite has mostly worked with this! I think I will experiment with one or two more layers and see how it goes.
While deciding where to go next with my prints, I took a good long look at them all and decided that I wanted to keep some as the calming patterns they were and experiment with the rest.
These are the ones I decided to keep:
I find it really interesting how they are both the same print – yet turned upside down one looks completely different from the other and you wouldn’t know they were the same!
I kept this one because I really liked the delicacy of the colours and the gentle overlapping of the shapes (as you can see below – the layers give multiple values of colours which I think is really beautiful)
I really liked this one too because the ink was a bit lighter after printing on many sheets, so it added a lovely darker glow around certain shapes and had a lighter texture in the main parts, also adding more colour values having used less colours (because of the translucency of the ink) as you can see below:
These are the ones I decided to experiment with:
I decided to experiment with this one because when I printed it I accidentally left the ink on my screen for too long and it dried. So I had to clean it and then reapply the ink, only to find that I hadn’t cleaned it well enough so there a line-wash effect through the lower middle half section, I actually thought it looked nice! But wanted to experiment with this lighter mixture of colours too.
The fourth layer of ink I did on this one was much too light and it didn’t look right at all as I had made the ink too translucent.
On this one, the ink looks a bit sketchy and not as clean-cut as the others, as I think I wasn’t putting enough pressure on the squeegee, as well as with these three:
And as you can see in more detail here:
However, I have to say I did get some very nice outlines too:
I also decided that I din’t want to include the keyline after all. I don’t think it needs it and it adds a very harsh effect that doesn’t fit with the fluidity of the shapes, and would overwhelm the many colour values gained from the translucent inks.
For more inspiration I looked at more figurative, but still quite abstract, artworks for example landscape art. I found “The Lady of The North” – Northumberlandia and liked how she is made up of organic, fluid shapes yet you can still tell that the sculpture is of a woman (from a birdseye view anyway).
So I decided to create my own version of a figurative person, here are some practices:
I will make it into a stencil and see if it works on my print.
In further developments to my screen print, I added another layer of ink but this time it would be blue. I wanted to keep the transparency as I love the way you can see the shapes coming through from the other layers, I am really happy with its build-up so far.
I find these combinations very soothing, which is definitely down to the fluidity of the shapes. It almost reminds me of an underwater scene.
I went to add another layer, however the blue I wanted to use hadn’t worked out well as I hadn’t added enough ink, so I had to re-mix it to form a darker colour. This is what I came out with:
Starting to look even more like fishes now! (which was not planned but I like it)
I love the darker blue colour, it is even more of a purple having mixed with the pink ink underneath it. It was a bit of a shock at first because the colours were all pastel shades before, but I really love the contrast of the lighter shades with the darker shade. I am not sure whether to add another layer – I would like to add some more shapes so I might do another lighter wash of a blue or purple.
I have decided to focus on the more organic-looking shapes for now and may come back to the other shapes to experiment for textile prints a bit later on (hopefully if I have time). I have taken some of the more fluid shapes I drew inspired by Zaha Hadid’s buildings and put them together as a composition to try out screen printing with. I have done one layer so far and used the stencil method so that I can block parts out and incorporate different shapes all the while playing with different colours and tones.
It’s difficult to see the design as I did a very very light wash of pink because I want the colours to look as natural as possible, and also now I have started with a light tone it will be easier to build it up with slightly darker tones. During this time I learned how to use the arm on the press as well as using an envelope shaped screen. I have only done one print of this so far but I can already see the huge difference between the print and my drawing, it is much softer and you can really notice the shapes, with the keyline it is slightly more graphic and less natural.
I have looked at artist Gary Hume for printing inspiration. I really like the simplicity of his prints.
I also like his prints of people, where even though he only includes very slight features of the subjects, the images don’t need anything more.
Above left: ‘Magda’, 2012 and right ‘Pink Ponytail’, 2009, both Gary Hume.
In the beginning I felt a bit uncomfortable with just having shapes in my design, without anything solid like a person, so I may experiment with this once I am comfortable with printing different shapes.
I have also been experimenting with embossing. After discussing with my tutor what techniques would be best to experiment with (other than screen printing) it made sense to try a design without any colour, just the pure shape. This would give even more of an organic feel to it as well as incorporate the structural quality of the buildings the designs are inspired by.
It took quite a bit of trial and error to get the pressure of the press just right, as well as the amount of card pieces I would include because too much made the paper bend in half (as I found out).
More embosses & debosses experiments:
I really like this effect, particularly the deboss as I think it comes out a lot sharper than the emboss.
Going back to my screenprints, I added another layer of ink, a darker shade of pink but still quite translucent, so you could see some of the shapes underneath coming through.
I followed my original design loosely, improvising on some of the shapes.
You can almost see how the shapes underneath have begun to come through because of the translucent ink:
However, I made a few mistakes. The first one being that I left the ink on for too long mid-way through my prints as I had flooded the screen and then not printed straight away. This meant that the ink dried and I then had to clean the screen and start again, which is when I made my second mistake. I thought I had cleaned the screen well enough, but apparently not. The motions in the screen I had made with the cloth when I cleaned it stayed there and my next print came out with a wave-like pattern in the ink – but it actually did look quite nice.