Summer in the Park

This is the photo which inspired my latest print 'Summer in the Park'. Taken in early Spring when I met some co-workers for a rather chilly 'Wellness Walk', it captures one of the long, magnificent avenues of lime trees, which are later plantings from the 1950s, replacing older trees from the early 1700s. This was instigated by the then Park Superintendent, the renowned gardener Percy Thrower, who felt the older trees to be dangerous; at the time it caused quite a controversy, but seventy years on there are still around 250 elegant mature lime trees which seem to draw people to them, like bees to flowers. I began imagining what might be happening under the trees - picnics, reading, babies in prams sleeping - and perhaps, a little dog and its human enjoying a pleasant game of ball. So I began my first doodles and scribbles. This for me is the most interesting part; tweaking the design and making tiny alterations until everything works in harmony. 

Then came the lengthy process of registering the two colour blocks so that everything lined up correctly over the course of two printings per piece. 

This is quite nerve wracking, especially using a premium paper and I pulled each print through the press with great care and gentleness. I eventually had a batch of over 40 good prints which just needed the final, painstaking touch; the tiny red ball which the little dog is leaping to catch. I spent an evening experimenting with various methods, trying different printing implements and techniques, but I couldn't get a consistent result and one mistake would wreck the entire print. 

In the end I bought a little pigment pad and used a big type piece full stop, which did the job. Despite it's miniscule size, the ball is the focal point of the whole picture. 

Earlier this year, I reprinted an old lino block from my college days over thirty years ago, 'Little Red Coat'. I've been creating these little figures since I was a teenager and it's interesting to compare what I did then to what I do now. I can pick out similar characteristics, but there is something more joyful in my new print, as opposed to the quiet solitude of the older one. 

From a limited print run of 42, I have thirty 'Park' prints for sale here in my Etsy shop, and a few 'Red Coat' prints for for sale here, from a limited run of 30, as they sold very quickly. (Or click on the pictures for a direct link).

The old lino plate was pretty flattened by the time I'd finished and I won't be using it again. Now I have to do a quick tidy up and move on to the next one. 

1 comment:

Shrimpton and Perfect said...

Sensational work as always.