I have received feedback from my tutor on my collagraph project, part of it reads as follows:
“Task 2 (Project 12)
You were asked to work towards a series of representational images using the collagraph technique. Some interesting results for this exercise, I can see from your notes that you struggled a little with gaining a particular aesthetic in earlier test prints, but you took the knowledge from producing the test blocks for project 11 and made changes to rectify the lack of tone in your prints. Your referencing of site-specific materials within your collagraph blocks is a particularly nice touch, and your tests of these materials are really very engaging in themselves.
My only comment would be regarding the overall image. I don’t feel that it accurately describes your subject matter, and I found it difficult to ascertain what the image was until I referred to your preparatory work. Collagraph is a technique that takes time to perfect, and with further experimentation and development, I believe your prints will improve, and have the potential to reach the same level as your relief prints.
Feedback on assignment
The work submitted for assignment 4 is overall of a good standard. Your use of different papers and inking techniques (combining dabbing and rolling) is great, and your presentation of your prints is clean and professional. What I would recommend is a bit more work on your representational ability when using collagraph. If you can dedicate a bit of time to working with different types of composition, the description of foreground/background, and the use of multiple colours as apposed to just two, I think this would enable your skill in this area to develop further, and will benefit your submission when it comes to assessment.”
I agree entirely with this, and was concerned that my final image was a bit abstract. I did struggle with subject matter, and possibly fell into the same trap as with my elephant combination print, in that I was making the block do all the work, and didn’t use the inking to it’s full potential to add depth to the image. It’s back to the drawing board for this one, and I will need to comb my photographs and sketchbooks for a new subject that is not such a challenge for me to begin with.
To make some positive progress on this and get inspiration, I have been looking at some other artists collagraphs. One example that I felt worked particularly well and demonstrates the point I was making about making the colour do some of the work is “Bailey #1 (Original Collagraph of Boxer” by Bonnie Murray. In this print, the edges of the subject are quite loosely defined by the block itself, in which the patterned textured areas are used to draw the eye to the details of the portrait. The outline and depth in the portait is achieved by the application of varying tones of colour, using light and shade in a subtle way.
Note: I have included a link to this print image on the artist’s website rather than reproducing it here for copyright reasons.