I remember once, long before the new millennium, making a series of lino prints about a holiday I`d had in Cornwall with my flatmates, over a New Year. I made the images because, though I retained memories and some photographs, these didn`t string together anything like the entirety of the experiences we`d had. There was no linking narrative. And in creating the prints, I was recreating the events themselves. Like stories. Like songs. Breathing new life into what would have slowly and inexorably faded to nothing.
We moved down from Edinburgh at the turn of the millenium and originally ( having trained as a sculptor) I invested a lot of energy into constructing large, figurative pieces incorporating people and animals, intertwined and symbiotic. Here`s an example:
I then chose to revisit lino printing as a much more immediate (though no less physical) medium through which to tell my “stories”.
I love the “constraints” of lino cut, especially black on white. In the printed image`s wide, white, paper border there are echoes of the printed page.
Throughout 2016 I started to express what I feel about the more westerly towns hugging the Tweed, and created a series of narrative images, quite cinematic in design, which related my experience of living in this river valley. I wanted others to see what I was seeing, because I found there was a lot of beauty there; especially where the natural world encroaches upon the fragile worlds we`ve constructed over long generations. The hills, forests, river and weather. The shy wildlife, the farmed and corralled tamelife.
The culmination of this project was an exhibition at the Eastgate Arts Centre, Peebles, during August and September 2017. This was followed by an exhibition at Tweedale Art Gallery in Peebles
I like that the limitations of the cutting tools bring about a
clarity; make you create distinct textures and clear patterns,
each separated like the gap between words. Like an OS map,
the cutting lines can help describe the contours of hills, the
flow of a river.
I find unrestrained, story telling inspiration in the lino cuts of
Namibian artist John Muafangejo; in the dizzying perspectives of
Kate Downie`s charcoal drawings; the draughtsman-like perfection in Herge`s comic strips; the patterns found in the fields, tree-copses and skies of William Gillies`s Midlothian landscapes.
And then there`s Eric Ravilious. John Nash . . .