I’ve always loved the simplicity and graphic quality of a good educational poster - like lovely cut away flower anatomy - stigma, stamen, pistil.... The intriguing colours created by over-printed layers are so delightful and subtle. With these in mind I set out to use my watercolour sketches from nature to design a series of silkscreen prints to capture the essence of the seasons.
I use my drawings as the start point carefully working out the colour separations in my head and by testing out ideas with watercolours. Then I hand draw each film carefully overlaying each one to ensure registration.
Each colour is created using a stencil drawn on film and exposed onto the screen. I use transparent inks so that colours are built up through the layers - there is an element of the unpredictable in every layer I print! The prints use 8 or 9 colours. I like to say that a little bit of missed registration adds to the charm and vibrancy of the print.
All the original drawings are made in season - so my Autumn treasures were drawn in September, October and November. All the Summer nature table items were drawn in June, July and August - finds from the beach, the park and the garden. With two now printed, I need to wait until the start of December before I can start drawing my Winter collection.
Ravenscourt Park has an extraordinary range of ornamental trees. The Indian Bean Tree drops its large exotic flowers during June. Another wonderful tree in Ravenscourt Park is the Californian Buckeye. - wonderful scented flowers in June and conker-like fruits in November.
Drawing on holiday is one of my favourite activities. Three of my Summer treasures came from Old Hunstanton beach. I love beach-combing along the tideline and always pick up a few fallen gull feathers. Further out at low tide a wealth of sea creatures become exposed - including the old barnacled sea urchins. Old Hunstanton beach is backed by wonderful dunes populated with Sea Holly, Sea Buckthorn and Marram Grass.
Finally one specimen from our garden - the glorious Morning Glory!
With all the sketches done, I can begin to visualise the final layout.
The next stage is creating the hand-drawn film for each colour. Each layer is turned into a separate screen - and then the printing begins.
Three colours in to the process.
Five colours done.
The final print drying on the print rack.