This print was created in response to the Open Call by ‘a space’ arts to celebrate International Women’s Day 2022, by hosting a silent auction of artworks by female identifying artists, following a two week exhibition at ‘a space arts’ flagship venue, God’s House Tower (GHT). The print was sold on 8 March 2022, along with many other works of art, raising £1500 overall for local charity Yellow Door which helps victims of domestic and sexual abuse, and it was really good to support this worthy cause.
My print uses three shina plywood plates printed with blue /green inks to create a complexity of rhythmic patterns that give the effect of light reflected off waves. Use of blended ink colours on the second and third plate bring a sense of perspective to create depth. The image is based on a photo taken at Newtown Creek, a beautiful National Trust nature reserve providing a safe haven for sailors to put down their anchor for the day, or night, and popular with bird (and seal) watchers, on the north western coast of the Isle of Wight. The colours chosen reflect the colour of the Solent, the sea between the mainland UK and the Isle of Wight, where I have spent many days sailing, and, on a sunny day, the sunlight makes the sea a beautiful green, almost emerald colour; hence the name ‘Solent Green’.
I decided to print the plates as a bleed print (i.e. no border that would need to be float mounted), printing onto A4 sized (the required size for submissions) 300 gsm Somerset White Satin paper with deckle edges using Schmincke Linoprint Inks. These are waterbased and have some transparency but not as much as the oil based Caligo Safe Wash Relief Inks I normally use. But they have one big advantage – they dry very quickly and can be overprinted the next day. As I had spent so much time developing my design for the submission I had run out of time to use the oil based inks as they would take at least three weeks to dry, even using driers. I also decided not to print an edition due to the lack of time so this resulted in a unique print with just one artist’s proof.
The print was a great success, getting off to a good start when bidding opened and received lots of positive comments.
As the print seemed a success I decided to print a second edition ‘Solent Green II‘, printing the whole plate using oil based inks onto a larger sheet of smooth 145gsm Zerkall print paper so that the print had a border allowing it to be mounted traditionally (the photo below shows the original print using Schminck inks on the left and the one using Caligo inks on the right) . My presses at home can only accommodate a plate just larger than A4 in width so this meant a trip to Omega Printmakers in Southsea to use their magnificent 1892 Albion Press.
The print is inspired by Ayomi Yoshida (b. 1958), a printmaker and installation artist. Six years ago, early in my printmaking journey, I came across her work in a book by Avril Vollmer on making woodblock prints. Researching her work online I became captivated by her distinctive use of the gouge for mark making, her rhythmic repeating patterns, and, in particular, her abstract seascapes, which have a strong synergy with my own fascination with the sea, wave patterns and reflected light. Ayomi comes from a long lineage of Japanese artist printmakers, the Yoshida family, stretching back over 150 years, and unusually, is the third generation of female artists. Interestingly, like me, she studied architecture, but in Tokyo (I was at Sheffield University – a bit of a difference!), and while writing her graduation thesis in California she began exploring silkscreen printing but turned to woodblock printmaking when she could not find materials needed.