Yesterday I attended a demonstration by Sara Robichaud, a wonderful abstract painter who creates large, lyrical works on canvas. She was introduced to us as a ‘process painter’, someone whose fascination with and exploration of her materials is an integral component of her work. I thought about this afterwards and realized that while we create vastly different work we do have this love of process in common. As a printmaker this is inevitable as there is so much technique and process that distinguishes this type of art making. The processes involved in transferring imagery from one surface to another are what create the unique character of prints. How a print is made is also the single most asked question regarding my work, for printmaking processes are singularly mysterious to the general viewing public.
One of the processes which I love to use is the incorporation of ghost imagery into a work. With every hand-pulled print, whether created as an edition or a monoprint, there is a careful inking or re-inking of the plate before it’s run through the press. However, there is always a bit of leftover ink that remains on the plate after the print has been pulled. Sometimes this leftover ink is interesting enough to pull a second ‘ghost’ print. Occasionally a beautiful ghost print can be made with minimal modifications as in the example below.
Most often some additional inking and reworking is needed to create a new print with enough interest and depth of color. Having done many of these, and enjoying the creativity in inking that it sparks, I now will often purposefully do my first inking and print in order to create my ghost template for my intended print. The two prints below are an example of this. They are titled Winter Path, 1 and Winter Path, 2.
Winter Path, 1 shows a lovely winter setting inked in rich color with contrasting warm and cool elements that invite the viewer into the scene, up the path and through the textured arch into the light beyond. The crispness of the air and wetness of the snow is almost tangible.
In my reworking of the image for Winter Path, 2, I inked only the central portion of the plate, leaving the ghost imagery of the first printing to act as a form of vignetting to help focus the viewer’s attention more clearly on the arch, with its heavy load of snow and dark shadow below. The arch itself acts as a lens leading your eye to the colorful shrubs and light beyond. I included some linear elements over the ghost imagery to strengthen the lines of the arch and to add a more dynamic and painterly quality to the piece. However the quality that the ghost imagery brings to the piece which I value the most is the sense of distance in time, of memory and dreams that it imparts. This is no longer a lovely winter scene but a memory of that walk along a path in a winter past.
What speaks to you more, the scene or the memory?
Both prints are offered this week at $80 each, unframed, or $100 framed.