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The Journey of a Print - Cathedral of Trees

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

In this blog, I want to share with you, some of my process and inspiration when creating a print

Cathedral of Trees


Reoccurring Themes:

Cathedral of Trees was created after walking in woodland near Bredon. The sight of the trees interconnecting, creating such a beautiful arch was so inspiring and reminded me of a cathedral.

As soon as I saw the view, I knew that I would have to create a print of it. I am always drawn to the shapes the trees make, especially looking through a tunnel of trees to what’s beyond. What is on the other side? Only the viewer can decide!

This narrative seems to be a recurring theme in my work, inspired by the Japanese concept of Ma. I interpreted it to mean ‘the space between.

My previous work around this theme.

Because of my previous background in textile design, I have tendency to decorate every part of a surface, but I feel this doesn’t translate very well into my printmaking. There should always be space, a time for the eye to pause. Without it, everything can become too busy visually, so I try to consider this when creating a new piece of work.

Drawing, drawing and more drawing:

One of the biggest things I learned in recent years is that there is no substitute for drawing; photographs can never capture what you see. A camera cannot reproduce the subtleties of the view. By drawing in situ, you understand the textures of the trees and how the branches interconnect.

Preliminary sketch for print

You choose the interesting features that only you are drawn to. This then feeds into the print. As you make the plate, there is confidence in the marks you make, because you have made them before when drawing.

Preliminary sketch of trees

Always learning:

Once I was back in the studio, I made a discovery! I created a drawing of my planned print onto a small piece of grey board which really helped me to work out the composition and, more importantly with Collagraph, the tones of the plate.

By using a dark pencil and white acrylic paint on the grey board I was able to plan where the light and shade would be. And like my last point above about drawing, the larger plate was much easier to create now because of this preliminary planning. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before but will certainly be using it in my future work.

There is always something new to learn!

Small sketch on Greyboard

I have in the past, I would normally create smaller test plates, to see how a print may look but creating this tonal drawing gave me the confidence to go straight onto the larger piece.

Keeping it simple:

I wanted this print to focus entirely on the beauty of the trees. I only cut into the plate for darker areas and used waterproof glue for the highlights. No clever techniques, I wanted to simply capture the vision I had first seen when out walking.

Once drawn, I began the cutting, this took nearly a week, but it was worth every leaf and tree!

Scaling up my drawing

I chose to ink the plate in just one colour, again, keeping it simple. I didn’t think it need more. This would only distract from my original idea.

Always an exciting moment!

I am pleased with the way this print has turned out; it is everything that I hoped it would be when I first envisaged it. This doesn’t always happen, and I am always grateful when it does!

Final print and plate

I am sure I will return to this theme again, and already have plans to return in the Autumn, to the place I drew the trees, as I am sure it will be spectacular and worthy of another Cathedral of Trees print.

We should all worship at the Cathedral of Trees.

Want to see the print up close? Check out my exhibitions page for details of my upcoming exhibition.

Click on the link below to purchase this print

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