Exploring the Tasmanian landscape through relief printing
"A tree-change to Tasmania from suburban Brisbane in 2009 created a major shift in focus. We bought a flower farm on the beautiful Tasman Peninsula, and the landscape became a fascination for me. The natural environment of Tasmania has such a influencing factor on daily life, especially when farming. It was a huge change and impacted my art practice as I took the time learning to really ‘see’ my new surroundings.
Wherever you are in Tasmania, the landscape seems to make its presence felt. ‘The Mountain’ kunanyi, where I now live and work, is a dominating presence in my daily life and has made its way into my work, with a focus on the harsh alpine environment. My ongoing work explores landscapes both familiar and alien, tamed and untamed.
I am seeking to develop an authentic visual expression of my own experience of the landscape. I am still learning to ‘see’ the unique environment that surrounds me and express how it shapes and influences the way I live my life."
My Linocut Process
I work with photographs to create a composition that helps me ‘see’ the iconic elements of a place. It is a process of distilling an image, making decisions about what to leave in and what to take out, how to frame the image, and giving it a presence.
Printmaking using lino is a process of working in reverse. The print is a mirror image of the carved lino. Time is spent working on a ‘negative’ which will be turned into a ‘positive’. I find this element of the process very satisfying.
I transfer my composition onto a lino block and begin the process of carving away the unwanted spaces. The carving part of the process can take days, but I love the repetitive nature of it. Its therapeutic, soothing, working with my hands.
The printing part of the process is all done by hand. I use oil based inks and spend time with a traditional baron, pressing the paper onto the inked lino block to create each print. The moment when the negative becomes the positive - peeling back the first print - is always a thrill.
The hand-made process means I print only a small edition of each block.
I love colour in the natural world. Combinations of colours and their complexity and subtlety in different light can take my breath away. All my prints are conceived with colour and I don’t consider them completed until they’ve been painted. I use watercolour to paint the prints and spend time getting the colours just right before I commit to reproducing them for each print in the edition.
Painting multiples is something that seems to have followed me since spending happy hours painting ceramics when I was younger. Again, as a flower farmer, the emphasis was on multiples, picking hundreds of flowers and grading them. Printmaking feels familiar and authentic to my experience in its production of multiples.