Making a screenprint.
Rough sketches. There were several of these, but the one below was the guide to the study painting.
Below: working the face in some detail on mountboard before beginning to lay on paint. The drawing disappears almost completely under the first layer of gouache, but by that time it is already ‘locked’ in my head.
The Virgin and child painted onto the lining of Gawain’s shield begin to take shape.
Gawain’s helmet plume. Gouache and pencil.
Camelot, worked in sgraffito and pencil. The ground is heavy, acid-free mount-board that allows for the inscribing with a needle.
Rendering in gouache and pencil.
The finished study. Gouache, pencil and sgrafitto on board.
The composition re-drawn as a ‘master-drawing’ to guide the process of making stencils on separate layers of transparent film. Each stencil represents a single colour in the printmaking process.
Camelot rendered in wax crayon on transparent film. In the study, the ‘etched’ look was created by using a needle to ‘indent’ the card, and then working pencil over the top. With the stencil I had to use a technique more akin to scraperboard, wielding a needle to clear areas of the wax drawing. It was massively time consuming as the sticky wax detritus had to be constantly brushed away before it got stuck back down by the pressure from my hand resting on the surface. This stencil, which is a small section of the composition, took two days to complete.
Layers of transparent film create the quality of mark and tone Dan and I were looking for. The stencils are all made in black and red. No point in working in colour at this stage. It’s easier to see what’s going on in the layers by simplifying. The pattern on the inside of the shield was particularly taxing. In the painting the pattern was made by using yellow ochre whipped in with a fine brush over the top of the red. For the printmaking, the ochre has to under-print the red, and so all those pattern marks on the stencil had to be painted around. A long day’s work.
More layers of stencils. Even though they’re transparent/translucent, eventually it becomes hard to see what’s underneath the top five or six layers.
The stencils fixed in place with registration pins to assure correct alignment. The colours at right are the guide for Daniel Bugg. Each corresponds to a layer of stencil. The big brush is to dust the stencils and keep them free of detritus, though usually a few stray hairs from Jack end up in there.
This is how Gawain looked when composed of all the layers of stencils. Quite sooty!
Proof stage by Daniel Bugg. The two stencils for the colours shown here have been processed as screens by Dan. Each screen is made of microfine mesh stretched on a frame, through which the printing ink is squeezed to make the impression.
Adding one of the black screens to the proofing stage, to check how things are looking.
Another proof, this time adding shades of ochre before laying in the black. Red and cobalt teal laid over each other make a rich, bruised purple.
Below: the finished print.
The Armouring of Gawain. 2016.
Screenprint. 55 x 55 cms. Edition of 75.
Opening 8th September at the Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff
Gawain and the Green Knight: Clive Hicks-Jenkins and the Penfold Press.
Prints, paintings and drawings exploring the medieval poem