Two of the sparks which fired up my new work...Shepherd's Haven by Joseph Webb and a small etching by Holman Hunt. I saw the Webb etching last year at the Aberystwyth School of Art exhibition and was lucky enough to be able to look through their entire collection of his work, including drawn and painted-on proofs, of intense interest to a printmaker! It's fascinating to see how the images are built up through many stages of drawing and biting. The revisions make for a richer final print, which is reassuring to anyone who regularly lunges at a large, expensive copper plate with a sharp point and a cauldron of acid.
Joseph Webb: Shepherd's Haven. Etching, 1929
William Holman Hunt: The sphinx, or The Desolation of Egypt. Etching, 1857
Flora McLachlan: The forest enclosed I and II, etching and aquatint, 2019
The chapel-like barn intrigued me with its sheltering shape and enormous tree trunk pillars, suggesting a forest within. I began to play with ideas of inner, enclosed forests. I have always treated forests as places of wildness, revelation and inner transformation in my work (see the images below), and the chapel enclosure around the forest seemed to express this more explicitly. I also found thoughts of 'haven' versus 'prison' emerging...the small shelter being unable to contain life indefinitely, eventually stifling what it is erected to protect. I also wanted to bring in the fragility of Hunt's small glowing white tent in the bleak land with the menacing shape of the Sphinx looming like a mushroom cloud...it made me think of the futility of preserving plant life in a bubble in the event of a climate crisis...let's do what we can to preserve the whole environment!
Flora McLachlan: Forest deep, In the wood and The wood-pool. Etchings.