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Print of The Month: September 2019

Gina Medcalf

Shepreth, 2017

Size (cm - unframed): 75x 56 cm
Technique: Three Plate etching
Materials: Somerset Velvet 300gsm
Edition size: 30
Publisher: The Print Studio
Copyright: The Artist

Soft swathes of rust and ochre cut across a gradient of turquoise in this 3-plate etching by South London-based painter Gina Medcalf. Born in North Wales (1941) and was a graduate of the Central School, London the artist has also lived and worked and exhibited in the USA (1973 – 86).

Typically working in acrylic upon canvas, she again explored an abstract approach to making the streaks of vertical colour in her collaborative print with the studio. Thoughtful and soft, there is a genuine organic ‘air’ to the result of the colour combinations, inspired by the Japanese woodblock artists Hiroshige and Utamaro. Her appreciation of Italian frescos and the marshland passed through on her journey to the studio perhaps also played a part, Shepreth and Meldreth being points on the line from London. Meldreth, another resulting print was produced using red, orange and yellow inks. The entire collaboration was a result of the artist receiving her second Pollock Krasner Award.

The image for the print was made with wide, trimmed brushes, using a mixture of gouache, PVA medium and water working on textured Truegrain drafting film. She made many trials from which two related drawings were chosen. Photo-polymer etching plates were made from the drawings and proofing began. A third plate was then required to produce the soft gradient that forms the ground behind the drawings. This was achieved by rolling a seamless blend with a large hand roller. In the final print this was delivered in Cobalt blue running into pure extender, that is from colour into nothing.

Due to the concentration of ink landing upon the paper during proofing, amendments and a slowing down of the process was required to prevent the surface of the paper from ‘picking’ - that is the ink was not flat but spotted as it reacted to the surface texture of the paper. The problem was overcome by a pre-damping of the sheets followed by running them through the press under high pressure to ‘iron’ one side of the paper. In consequence the back of the sheet is interestingly much more textured than the front.

The prints were then dried and pressed for over a month.

This print is being featured as part of Prints: In Situ and listed upon our Shop.