A few years ago, I did an Illustration Friday topic (Garden) as a creative exercise.
The Garden | ink & digital
A while later I messed around with the piece a bit more:
And then I worked on it further and had a couple of prints made that I sold at a show:
The Garden | Giclee prints on Canson Arches Velin Museum Rag | 14″ x 28″ (framed sized)
My boyfriend and I have been wanting to take a screen printing course for ages – we have been seriously in need of a creative outlet for some time, but our schedule has never allowed for it. Finally, work calmed down a bit, allowing for a few free evenings, and that coincided with the offering of a beginners screen printing course at Malaspina Printmakers studio.
It’s been a very long time (college) since I’ve done any sort of artwork in a class environment or taken a course and it took some time to adjust to working around other people, especially in the print studio which is filled to the gills with all sorts of equipment, storage racks, shelving, cabinets, tables, and presses. But at the same time, it was super exciting. Here was a place full of stuff for making things in ways that I am totally unfamiliar with, and they offer classes. Oh, the possibilities!
I say that the point of taking this course was for a creative outlet, but that isn’t actually accurate. What I wanted was a creative inlet. I’ve found myself battling a huge block for a few years now. Just like sport shapes the musculature of an athlete, I feel work thinking shapes the brain of (in this case) a creative thinker. My brain feels different to me, like it’s lost some of its creative flexibility doing too much of the same for too long. I can see where I want to go, but haven’t been able to get there. There’s a gap, or a wall or something in between the beginning of my process and the product. I need to shake something loose.
I approached the screen printing class with no expectations. I didn’t care if my piece worked out or not. The point was just to do something, to explore a different medium and see where the doing took me. To start, I needed an image for class. I adapted The Garden – it was an image I already had and was familiar with. I redrew it in photoshop, and worked out the colour separation, approximated the look of transparent ink, played with some colour combinations, chose a red and blue option, and put together a rough palette. And then I spent 3 hours mixing my colours.
I am notorious for complicating things, so I got a lot out of the exercise of trying to produce an uncomplicated piece of artwork. It’s still far from simple, but it’s downright elementary compared to how I usually work.
Finally, by the third class, I pulled my first few prints. I have to say, pulling these prints is the most fun I’ve had in a long time producing artwork. I think I’m hooked. My first go round was seriously off register, but by the second attempt things got pretty close. I also played around a bit with a slightly different second colour option.
I spent quite a bit of time reading up on screen printing before the class, but nothing compares the the actual process of doing. It’s like a little switch went on and suddenly there are a whole pile of possibilities. The combination of extensive preplanning, coupled with the unpredictability of the medium equaling the potential for fantastic mistakes is pretty exciting.
The Garden | 2 colour screen print on gray and white stonehenge paper | 9″ X 12″ image size, paper size variable
I have a few more ideas swimming around in my head, and I just need some time again to sit down and work on them.