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Loosening Up!!

The need to control has always unpinned everything that I have done in life and the amount of mistakes and fun I have had. I have always strove to be a perfectionist and to fix other people's problems - which I will allude to in my blog 'Branding'. The need to have everything in the 'right' place and the need for clean underpinned what I did on a daily basis...I am not saying that I have OCD but everything being in the order that I wanted was pretty high up on my list of priorities, actually it was top!!

A number of things have contributed to the 'Loosening Up' of me - one of those being the arrival of children - which has stopped my quest of always a clean floor and the smell of bleach hitting the back of your throat when you walk in through the front door!!

As a lino artist there is a clear process that I follow to achieve a finished piece of work/ end product and I suppose that I like the fact that I am in control every step of the process. It is quite a rigid process and even though it is the quality of the print varies from edition to edition. This for me was a real battle at the start as I wanted perfection and not a under print insight and actually until I printed my most recent piece of work 'Blooming' it still was.

The thing with carving lino is that it takes ages and you have to be really precise as one small mistake and the whole printed image will be changed. When you are carving you can predict- through experience- how the printed image may turn out but in reality you don't know until you have printed what it will look like and whether the 30+ hours - in some cases- you have spent have been worth it. I have done blocks - such as a stag 'Startled' - that really should have put it into rejects- I printed anyway and now I have them in my work looking at me!! I felt the need to print as I had spent the time carving so I had to print it when really it should have been filed under B1N! On the other hand there are blocks that I have printed that I haven't explored to their full potential.

I have worked with lino for 3 years after restarting after a substantial break and I have been obsessed however during this time I have not explored mixing media which would allow my work to get to a whole new level or a different look. My PASSION for lino printing had led me to be quite static in my surface pattern designs- which is what I want to be doing- I want to bring lino printed images to be a part of people's everyday life- such as being on mugs, tea towels, deckchairs, fabric...the list is endless! However instead of exploring combining lino print images and other mediums I have been relying solely on the images themselves to create surface pattern designs with. When you look at wallpaper designers and manufacturers, like Cole and Son, Harlequin, Scion, Marimekko, Zoffany - the list is endless- they all have background patterns behind the main images. (This is what I need to be developing!).

I really wanted to do some more composition work as I had done a lot of stand alone images inspired by foraging when out on morning runs - and after 'Everyday Happiness' series I felt that I had returned to work that I had been doing before and not really developing. I had made several attempts with the illustration as initially I had tried to draw the floral representations too small. After a couple of weeks the view in the garden had changed so I made further illustrations. This change in flowering made me rethink the image and draw blooms that were out of scale in comparison to the size of the cottage window. The image took about 20+ hours to carve- however on printing the images was not what I wanted- i felt disappointed as I taken out too much of the block and gaping white was evident. So I carved out more and still not happy so I thought I am going to have to try something new! I got out the 'Brusho' watercolour powders that I accumulated from doing A-level art and began to play around with colour.

This was the result... 'Blooming'.

With being from Yorkshire, I don't like waste and I couldn't bare thinking about all the brusho powder that I couldn't get back into tub was going to go into the bin- so I started a bit of on an experiment!

So I got some A3 card and began to splash colour around and I actually couldn't stop so I have ended up with about 8 or 9 different background designs. In my everyday life I wear a lot of colour and the fact that some of my work can be quite dark is a complete contrast to me in the clothes that I wear.

I dug out 'Patty Pan' a small lino block that I carved in 2017 and began overprinting on the backgrounds that I had created. I was loving the look of it...so much I am searching for some other tiny blocks that I have carved in the past such as 'Spare Buttons'. I am determined to get my head around creating technical repeats in a digital format.

So for me 'Loosening Up' is not just being experimental in the creative work that you do but also about relinquishing the need to control every outcomes. I think that you can achieve so much more when you 'loosen up', by stopping trying in the not so important areas and by doing this you see what things you should be striving for and allow yourself to follow your dreams.

So for me I am very excited about mixing mediums /media to create exciting surface pattern designs and all through the art of 'Loosening Up'.

'Patty Pan' printed over stripes.

Background using brusho watercolour powder.