'Shadow of Fire' by Kim Major-George

‘What the artist saw!’
A studio life Blog by Kim Major-George

This is a my first Blog covering what goes on in my studio and in the life of an artist, I hope it
will be the start of many a venture, so thank you for coming along for the first ride into
’ What the artist saw.’
I have decided to write about certain pieces of artwork that I have created, that are new or in my collection and required some interesting technical challenges I hope this will be interesting to artist printmakers and even non artists who are not aware of the process required to create a complex collagraph hand pulled print.

                                          …….Taking a closer look…….

 ’Shadow of fire’   
This is a medium size collagraph with an interesting two printing plate process and mounted in an unusual way which I incorporated into the design idea from the start.
Many of my images are float mounted to create an interesting effect of looking into the picture seeing layers below and layers
above . ‘Shadow of fire’ is part of the ‘Elegant Universe’ collection which is a new range put together with connecting
poetry by the contemporary poet,
Steve Thorp. 
Many of you may have seen his poems displayed next to my work in the past; this is a lovely collaboration which has been in place for many years.
We come together on a project every two years to cover a subject which interests us, we both have an absorbing interest in man’s relationship with Mother Earth, how our modern society just takes and doesn’t seem to be aware of the balance of all living things living on this cohesive planet .
I tend to link into the spiritual take on many ancient wisdoms which I have come across in my personal reading. Steve is more of an activist with words encouraging people to think about eco-friendly ways of moving forward. The result is a thought provoking exhibition, with strong images from me and strong words from him .

In this …"Taking a closer look" … section I will give a detailed break down of my process.
I start by designing on scrap paper - inspiration comes from many sources, poems, affirmations, unusual colour mix seen and collected, a link to a previous image of mine but in this case a beautiful picture from the space telescope Hubble - this set my imagination flying and it connected extremely well to ’The Elegant Universe‘ collection due to go on display at the end of 2017. 

Making the printing plates
After the sketches were finalised I worked out what each plate would be expected to do - these images were transferred onto tracing paper and then flipped over and drawn onto the waiting 3mil mount board.

Plate 1
The back ground  plate was a simple board cut to shape and covered in dry point card and stuck on with PVA glue.

Plate 2
Cut to shape from mount board, this was to be the top plate - torn thin card was stuck on top with sections of extra card to help at the inking up stage, sand paper was also added along with glue blobs, shiny crushed card.
All, I know from experience, create wonderful marks at the printing up stage.

The final addition was the dripping of the chalky paint (small sample pot from a hardware shop) using an old brush held above the plate and allowed to drip in a random fashion onto the printing plate, this whole plate was left to completely dry and seal a few days later with button polish.

Printing the plates

Plate 1
In this unusual image I used black  velin archers paper which is a popular black printing paper – I did not soak the paper as I just wanted the image to sit on top . To get a good bright strong red, I first loaded this background plate with white ink and then laid it onto the black paper that was placed on the bed of the press. I replaced the tissue and blankets and pulled the inked plate and paper through. I lifted the plate off the paper and cleaned the residue off this plate. Then I reloaded it with bright red ink and again laid it over the first inked images, replaced the tissue and blankets and pulled through again - this image was left to air dry.

Plate 2
This plate was inked up with a mixture of red and black with various tools into the different sections with a deeper ink application on the sandpaper areas, applied with a  tooth brush to create depth in the normal way –  other areas were left clear to allow the next process of crackling to show.
The loaded plate was laid onto the bed of the press facing up and layered with soaked and blotted white Somerset paper and pulled in the normal way,  tissued up and laid under weights, to prevent cockling.

 Hand embellishing & Mounting

When all the printed images were completely dry I tore the crescent shape out of the white Somerset, then coated with two layers of Crackle and left to dry. Gold leaf was applied in the normal way and the whole image was back supported with two layers of mount board.
The red image printed on the black paper was layered up with two layers of crackle and left to dry.
All crackle areas were inked up with pure oil paint in the normal way ( this is explained in greater detail in my ‘All cracked up’ master class  booklet).
When happy with the result the two were put together surrounded by a deep French black mount plus  a gold slip and framed in a large black frame.

To see further images connected to ‘the Elegant Universe ‘collection, go to my website:  www.majorgeorge.co.uk
                                                                                                                         Blog No. 1
                                                                                                                         August 2017