Saturday, September 22, 2012

Lino Cutting - Claude Flight

I’ve spent my week reading Dijanne’s great lesson 2 notes and thinking about and sketching ideas.  The process made me realize how many great designs I already have that I can translate in to lino cuts with minor adaptations.

I usually work intuitively, in a flow that I don’t question, and one that I don’t have any intellectual ‘knoweledge’ about; so it is a new process for me to step back and have to conceive ideas to fit exercise challenges and to understand them intellectually.

This weeks lessons have made me relook at my quilts and see how I have used shape and stitch to create, balance, motion and movement.  I’ve always heard other artists say how they utilise their sketchbooks and look back through them for ideas, and this week has been the first week that I have ever had that experience and have found the same richness and abundance in my sketchbooks that I’ve heard others waxing about.

This came about through exercise 5 – Image, texture, pattern.  Wow – I found it really difficult to put this together, partly because I wasn’t working intuitively.  Image and pattern or image and texture went together easily, but adding the third - !  I’ve done a lot of thinking about this over the week and will be really interested to see everyone’s results, as when I looked at Dijanne’s example, I finally realized that image and pattern were loosely the same shape and texture was linked (by line in this case).

I had put a whole day out in my diary for lino homework and expected to have some prints to show.  Instead I have realized the importance of forethought, drawing and learning to look.  It has been really challenging for exercise 5 to find the order of process and I think it is a bit like appliqué – working from the bottom up.  I’m not sure why, but I’ve discovered that my natural process is to work from the top down.  (Probably has something to do with being a number 5, and seeing things in mirror image. 

In putting this exercise together, I haven’t yet found a design that is working for me, and I’m grateful for the exercise of drawing to work through the issues and figure it out. But of course that means I have nothing to show – no printing achieved.  I’ve loaded photo’s and made comments - and welcome anyone’s feedback.

Prior to Lesson 2, my only real exposure to Lino cuts has been Dijanne’ amazing work.
I’ve widened my horizon substantially this week,  I had no idea that it can be a multiple colour process or what these would look like.  The lesson two notes recommended the book by Claude Flight, but said it was hard to get hold of a copy.  Incredibly my local art gallery (Auckland City) has a copy for reading room only!  The opportunity was too good to pass up, so I spent four hours there this afternoon, read three books in total and watched a DVD!  Thanks Dijanne for opening my eyes to this experience.  Here’s my summary:

Lino Cuts - Claude Flight
Published in 1927, this book is hard to get hold of it and our Art Gallery Research Library has a copy!  It was wonderful and easy to read, with some methods updated through technology, but written by one of the world's expert teachers on lino cutting.  Going to the Art Gallery connected me with a whole world that I had no idea about.  The Auckland Art Gallery had 307 Lino prints that were gifted by Sir Rex Nan Kivell an ex-pat NZer who gifted 1160 lino cut works to four New Zealand galleries.  He ran the Redfern Artists Gallery in London.  It's an incredible body of work to be in New Zealand across 4 galleries, and this book was part of the gift.  Some of his collection was also gifted to the National Gallery of Australia.

Graphica Britannica - the Rex Nan Kivell Gift of British Modernist Prints - by Peyter Vangioni
This book is an exhibition catalogue from a showing in Christchurch of the lino cuts gifted by Rex Nan Kivell.  Loved the diversity of work, particularly that of Australian Artist, Ethel Spowers (1890 - 1947) called Wet Afternoon, 1930.  The fine lines in this work are incredible.  This exhibition covered, woodcuts, lithographs and lino cuts.  Have yet to investigate if it is still able to be purchased by the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Claude Flight and His Followers - the Colour LinoCut Movement between the wars.  (An Australian National Gallery Travelling Exhibition - by Stephen Coppel
Not so many images in this catalogue as you might expect, but loads of biographical information about each of the artists in the exhibition.  Loved the work of Ethel Spowers - Resting Models (1934) and The Gale (1930).

DVD - Sybil Andrews (1898 - 1993)
The Art of the Lino Cut (artists of the world series).  Chip Taylor Communications
The Research Librarian was amazing - I asked for one book (Claude Flight) and he came up with these other three.  This DVD is really worth watching to get a sense of Andrews' work and how she views art as her work.  It also gives some demo’s of lino printing in process.  All these books I have read so far have widened my experience of lino cutting - I had always imagined it to be a two colour process, but it is far more complex with up to four colours. Andrews had been to the Grosvenor School of Art while Claude Flight was teaching lino cuts there for four years.

I don’t know why, but I hadn’t really thought about how much written information there might be about lino cutting – an Amazon search produced a huge list of titles – 21 of which I have ordered from the library.  It’s going to be an informative week.

Claude Flight also wrote a second book (published 1934, London) – The Art and Craft of Lion Cutting and Printing

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