Sunday, August 9, 2015

Assiniboine River Trail II

Assiniboine River Trail II.
75cm x 105cm. 2015. 

Aside from experimenting and challenging myself with multiple etching plates this summer to expand my visual vocabulary and to loosen up my sense of composition (see post below), I wanted to do something more relaxing and I decided to return to my comfort zone of mapping Winnipeg. I returned to one of my favourite images of the Assiniboine River Trail. I had a good time translating parts of an earlier etching from 2009 into a somewhat larger block print (plate size 60cm x 90cm). Instead of using tonal gradations like I did in the etching, I worked a lot with patterning. I'm using a flooring linoleum (in a silly orange colour) by Tarkett. I was fortunate to find a large end roll at a thrift store a few years back, but I believe this material is still available at various flooring stores in different colours also. I did a lot of the carving at home on our little kitchen table evenings and weekends, since, as I said, it was kind of a side project.

When I ink the plate, I use a soft brayer with very little ink to lay down a thin coat of ink on the carved down part of the plate in the upper half of the print. That ink gets picked up only lightly during printing, giving me a soft grey in the background. This effect livens up the space quite nicely. To ink the surface of the plate I use a harder brayer. Well, it's time to print now.

Etching Studies

Here is a selection of the more successful experiments I've been working on during this summer. I have etched about ten different plates (not all of them turned out very well) with image elements about my thesis topic: Changing Landscapes - Explorations of Growth, Expansion and Destruction. In these pieces I work with ideas about the disappearance of the dry forest in the Chaco region in Paraguay, expansion of pastures, the displacement of indigenous people, fences as barriers and separations, etc. These are some of my attempts to layer the different image elements, but I find it's quite the challenge. Nonetheless I'm also enjoying the freedom to try out new things and letting myself be surprised by some of the results. These pieces aren't finished yet and I see them as sketches in their current form that will hopefully lead to larger pieces in the future.