“The ginkgo tree is from the era of dinosaurs, but while the dinosaur has been extinguished, the modern ginkgo has not changed. After the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, the ginkgo was the first tree that came up.” ~ Koji Nakanishi
Ginkgo biloba (or maidenhair tree) is a species of tree, native to China, with distinctive twin-lobed leaves. It has been widely cultivated for many centuries, as a source of food and traditional medicine. Scientists sometimes refer to it as a living fossil, because all it’s closest relatives are extinct.
I chose to make a collagraph of these leaves due to their unique shape and a graduated roll in yellow and green to represent the change of colour in autumn. Unfortunately I only had these colours in water-based inks, which dry too quickly for effective collagraphs. A better result could be achieved with oil-based pigments, to allow time to apply, wipe back and reapply for the desired effect. This plate is A4 size.
“I’ve always loved magnolia trees and their blooms—there’s something so beautiful about a magnolia blossom. It demands attention, and you can’t help but love those big, creamy petals and that fragrant smell.”~ Joanna Gaimes, The Magnolia Story
I haven’t had much success growing a magnolia tree on the farm, although I love to see the bare branches festooned with pink flowers in the early spring. They would have to be one of my favorite non-native trees. What I haven’t been able to capture here is the velvety brown undersides of the leaves and, of course, their lovely aroma!
“This simple process of focusing on things that are normally taken for granted is a powerful source of creativity.” ~ Edward de Bono
New Holland Honeyeaters are a common occurrence in our garden. They seem to love the Grevillea and Echium flowers, of which we have a few different species. This is a collagraph plate, produced from my old Botany herbarium, with the bird cut-outs pasted in. I chose one of my favourite colours, Payne’s Grey, for this print, to give it a smoky atmosphere.
Today I am working on another collagraph plate of Latham’s Snipe, for the “Overwintering” project and exhibition that may come to the Portland Bay Press gallery. I rented a unit in Port Fairy for a short time, opposite the Powling Street Wetland Reserve, which is a known spring and summer habitat for this endangered bird. This species begin their migration in February and depart northern Australia in May. Their breeding grounds are in Japan, so they are protected under the Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (JAMBA).
“From the mud of adversity grows the lotus of joy” – Carolyn Marsden
This linocut has been hand painted with watercolors, possibly a bit too soon after it was printed because the black ink has ‘reanimated’ in some places. Curse my impatience. One thing I need to learn from my art practice is to slow down and enjoy the process. Almost all my mistakes and imperfections are caused by rushing.
I am going to do a bit more work with this design to create a repeating pattern and recarve it. Since I have practiced with better quality tools, I can get finer detail and more consistent cross hatching. You can see another version of this print a few posts back, overlaid with a ghost print. Which one do you like best and what would you change to improve the image?
“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control” ~ Julia Cameron
This plate (in progress) is a collagraph – cardboard cutouts glued to mount board with three coats of shellac. The intaglio ink is applied with a stiff brush and then wiped away and reapplied in a painterly fashion. I plan to use a graduated roll – green to yellow – to add more interest to the repetitive shapes. I might try eucalyptus leaves as well.
“I think in this life, it is important to be kind, be thankful and always be creative” ~ Bishop Brown
Yesterday I had a wonderful time at Portland Bay Press, which is part of the Julia Street Creative Space in Portland. They have an enormous water bath and huge press for members working in large formats, but I was very happy with the little Enjay. I inked up this plate from the beginning of the year, as I had only hand-burnished it before, pressed it and then turned the plate upside down for the ghost print. I quite like the effect and think it was my favourite print of the day.
“Sometimes you’ve got to let everything go, purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything, whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.” ~ Tina Turner
I have discovered a love for printmaking relatively late in life, enjoying the whole process from sketching my ideas, creating a plate (linocut, collagraph or monotype) to printing and mounting. I share my creations here for friends, family and visitors to enjoy.
I am currently enrolled in a Diploma of Art, which gives me time and space to explore techniques and share my ideas with others. I am very grateful to my teachers and colleagues who have supported and encouraged me.