Wednesday, 4 September 2013


Here is one of my rare nature moments, from a few years ago, at university.

I was experimenting with texture in screenprinting.  I wanted to build dense prints from layers of simple strokes and flecks.

This piece was intended to be a subtle evocation of damp, velvety mosses on a wall.  The staff were not at all sure what I was trying to achieve with this variety of blobs and smudges.  I put it down as another instance of me having some atavistic feeling in my head that doesn't translate into reality.

My five-layered screenprint of moss.

Moss, lichen, heather and grasses have two associations for me.  The first is homely and human:  a part of nature that sits, semi-cultivated, in a human environment, the subject of diligent but leisurely botanical study; knowledgeable but twee.  I see shafts of dusty sunlight in the country gardener's shed in an Edwardian children's book.

The second is primal and timeless:  windy, prehistoric or post-apocalyptic heath and fenland, silent but for a few marsh birds or the sound of a Jute being scalped in a bog; ancient buildings fallen to ruin and repopulated by unassuming but patient plantlife.

Most of the time I need to make pictures relatively quickly.  In my case, that leads to a lot of little people, buildings and boats.  But I could enjoy spending weeks in a print room, making backgrounds, surrounded by pots of honesty and heads of pampas grass, studying the leaf-structure of heathers and hebes...  and drawing them with a more refined series of blobs and streaks.

1 comment:

Mel said...

I like the print. It makes the moss look like a forest.