Monoprints, linoprints, digital prints, giclee prints: time for a new description?

The word ‘print’ is becoming increasingly unclear.  You can no longer describe something as ‘a print’ without qualifying it and it must be really confusing to the general public when it comes to the art world.  Is there any way round it?  I would be interested to get some feedback as to what other people do and say.

Monoprints are the worst of all as the very word ‘print’ implies a number (limited or otherwise) and mono is its contradiction.  It is original and a print, and unique.  Linoprint is original, and a print and unique but you can make a number of them which are nearly the same…so not quite so unique… I sometimes tie myself in knots and watch people’s eyes glaze over in the meantime!  Because of the ease of making digital prints the word has become devalued in art terms of lino and woodcuts; we need a new word which applies solely to ‘prints’ where a finite number applies.  And then there are Giclee prints…OMG!

New Year – new start – new printing press!

etching-pressHappy New Year to everybody!  Well nearly…this year is definitely going to be better than the last – I love new beginnings, full of promise and before it all gets spoiled by the rubbish that real life throws in your path.

This December I have finally bought myself an etching press, something for which I have been yearning for quite a few years!  It is a Polymetaal and the bed is 40cm x 80cm.  The reason I chose this is because I can use it for either relief (ie linoprint) or intaglio (etching).  It is going to make such a difference to the work I can do at home – even monoprinting can be done differently with a press.  In honour of its arrival I have cleaned out my studio room (!!!) and actually thrown away some stuff.  I think it is in the nature of artists to be hoarders and also I find people often give me stuff – does that happen to the rest of you?  I suppose the sensible answer would be to refuse but that is never going to happen.  So my studio is spruced up and tidy, my etching press is in place and, first thing when Intaglio reopens in January  I am going up to buy a few essential supplies such as blotting paper, blankets and so forth.  In the meantime I just go in and turn the wheel now and then a little wistfully.  It is waiting…


Artsweek coming up fast: private view 10 May at Longcot

We are all gearing up – well, panicking really – for Artsweek which we hang next Tuesday, ready for Private View on Friday afternoon.  It is exciting to hang a new show always and a little bit daunting because until we have everyone’s work in the room, it is difficult to imagine how it will shape up.  This year Shelagh Baxter is showing with Emma and I, which should be fun.  So let’s hope the sun shines and we get lots of visitors.

One lovely thing that is going to happen is that the beautiful church in Longcot will be open and full of flowers, and a window is going to be decorated for each of the artists working in Longcot.  Shirley (flower arranging artist extraordinaire!) is organising this and I can’t wait to see the result.  How amazing!  I never thought I would see my name in flowers…what else? I am off to Harris Manchester College this evening to a Private View of a whole group of linocut artists – Laura Boswell, Ian Phillips to name just two.  Their work is quite beautiful and expands your view of the boundaries of linocut as a medium.  Anybody in the Oxford area – go and see their show because I can guarantee you will love it!  and that is before I have been!  Signing off now…things to do, pictures to frame, labels to type…

Linocuts:experimenting with colour

Helen Pakeman 'Fuschia'

Helen Pakeman 'Fuschia'

I am just posting a couple of the designs I have been working on, as I asked for help with a problem on Linked in and got such a wealth of helpful suggestions!  So here are a couple of the more successful versions: I wanted to draw a little on top of the design to establish some of the shadows but couldn’t find an ink that would hold a) on the rather thin Japanese paper and b) on top of oil based printing ink.  Both these images are without any drawing because, actually, I think the answer (thankyou Andrew) is thicker paper and FW Inks (thankyou Catalina) and I am still searching for the right Dr Martins inks to try.  This design is quite small ie 20 x 15cm and I think it could look good if I upped the scale quite a bit, although it will require some elbow grease, especially if I am burnishing onto heavier paper.  Think it might be worth a go though.  I am really enjoying playing around with the background colours. 

Helen Pakeman 'Fuschia 2'

 I am on a bit of a roll now and itching to spend more time in the studio experimenting, but life  seems to be working against me and I know I won’t get any more done this week.  I  am away for a few days so will sneak some linos to cut into the baggage…

Any comments/suggestions would be gratefully received.


Follow up to Ursula Fookes story

Follow up to Ursula Fookes story: someone rang me, having seen my Tweet and blog post, to say that his wife had bought a whole lot of stuff at an auction some time ago which turns out to be Ursula Fookes’ sketchbooks and preparatory drawings for some of her iconic linocuts. He is going to try and get hold of Ursula’s neice (as in Antiques Roadshow) and see if she would be interested. Did not, foolishly, get hold of the gentleman’s contact details as i thought afterwards that if the BBC cant help him, then he could go via Bonhams where i do have a name he could follow up, as they sold the pictures for the neice. So, if you are out there reading this and need that name, give me a ring again. Also thought afterwards that i would love to have seen the sketchbooks etc before they went anywhere. The power of the internet!