Like Peter, I have had an academic career until recently in fields entirely unrelated to the visual arts: first Literature, and then Education. I did not experiment with painting or printmaking until I retired in 2013.
Although I have always been an enthusiastic visitor to galleries, I did not experiment with painting or printmaking until I retired in 2013. In this time, inspired initially by an exhibition of lino cuts, I joined a class at St Andrew’s Art School in Lewes, tutored by Claire Mumford. The experience of discovering different ways of conveying ideas and images through simple cuts in lino blocks continues both to challenge and give me great pleasure.
Of the many printmakers whose work has impressed me, three very different artists stand out. One, Eric Ravilious, only rarely worked in lino, but did find ways of producing black and white images through woodcuts and wood engravings which often answer the problems of trying to cut a picture: how to create a wide range of shades and textures using only the contrasts between ‘cut’ and ‘uncut’ areas of the block. When considering how to represent the surfaces of the sky, sea and hills, for instance, I can always re-view Ravilious’ intricately textured prints for ideas. The second, Edward Bawden, a close friend and colleague of Ravilious, designed lino cuts of urban spaces and events in a bolder and more colourful style which seems to suit a contemporary practitioner in printmaking. Finally, a great source of ideas is Mark Hearld, a young image-maker whose use of lino in layers and colours is complemented by his extraordinary inventiveness in collage. Emboldened by Hearld, I have come to use my own off-cuts from prints in collage work and to enjoy the surprises of unplanned juxtapositions of colours, tones and shapes this process affords.
Living in rural Sussex, I am drawn to depicting the local landscape, which I try to present in new ways, along with the animals who inhabit it, and those domestic objects – lemons and onions, pots and vases of plants – which have their own intricate natural design.