• Ali Brown

What have I been up to lately?

One of the most therapeutic art practices I can think of...printmaking!!

This is one of the principles that I studied at art college and absolutely took great joy from. How could I have forgotten the feeling of satisfaction taken from the carving out of the lino as I worked on it? Where had this been hiding in the back of my mind all of this time? I honestly don't know but I do know that I have the bug again.

Too many times we absorb ourselves in daily grind and actually forget to do something that makes us happy. Being honest, it was the book illustration project that I was so proud to be part of that made me get my tools out again and set to work. It really has helped me to feel myself again. So 'Azraelle' wasn't just a gift from my lovely friend Deborah Sykes to those in need, it was also a gift to me; and one I didn't really know how much I needed.

It is with such pleasure that I am back to working with old practices that I have always really loved. There is something about working with strong line that I enjoy so very much and lino cut is a fabulous way to express that - so much so that when I was asked recently what I really wanted for my 'big birthday' (don't ask) I replied 'a printing press!!'.

If you haven't tried this simple but effective technique it is so easy to pick up the materials. Also, depending on the paper used and pressure applied you can have a result that is not only printed but embossed too. I started again with acrylic but my next stop is back to sticky printing ink which really does give the best results. I think the whole love for printmaking was rekindled also with a recent visit to the Tate Liverpool to see some of the work of Lucian Freud who has created a large body of work on strong line and etching prints. To better explain, etching is when the image is scratched into metal plate (also called 'dry point') and then ink is applied. The surplice ink is wiped off and a print is taken. It is a longer process but high level detail can be achieved.

Here is on of Freud's prints that isn't too explicit to show:

Also whilst at art college I was introduced to German woodcuts and German Expressionism. It wasn't so much the subject matter but the image itself and the line properties that fascinated me. If you are interested to see more then simply look it up. It is a great source of inspiration for starter printmakers. Here are a couple of examples:

So, go ahead, follow what inspires you and remember what brings you satisfaction. We all need a bit of this from time to time. As a last note have you seen the new project by Troika?

I was lucky enough to wander into their collection in Liverpool and plan to see the latest works when they land on 22nd January.

If you haven't heart of this collective then I recommend you take a look at this stunning multi layered street art style. It is featured around Liverpool at the moment on walls, in bars and a certain famous footballer's collection:

Troika Art from Whitewall Galleries

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