Hilary Paynter – Printmaker

there's just something about wood engraving the quality of the wood when you're working on it it's it's just so satisfying it's organic and it's responsive and love the marks that it makes i love the precision you can get the widest range of textures and tones with wood engraving than you can get with any other printmaking method i very rarely do a complete drawing before I start engraving because if I've resolved everything on paper and the design it can be fairly tedious I'm just reproducing what I've already worked out the only things that had to be really accurate were the the architecture the spectral Center the street and pretty castle so although it's risky to plunge straight in the results are much more lively and spontaneous if I've worked out what I can and resolve the difficulties on the block itself if it all becomes obvious and logical the ideas might not break out if I'm too conscious of what I'm doing the engravings are done on end grain wood which is like a slice through the trunk you get a round slice that you work on you've just got the end fibers so you're not constricted by any sense of the texture of the word or knots or patterns in the in the wood you've got virtual freedom within the small scale that you're you're working on has to be careful cuz those crumbs Lodge in the lines if you're not careful I want to show the drama of the scene and the photographs are generally very disappointing so I want to be able to stand back further and further and capture everything I can within that scene that's important and sometimes that can only be done from an aerial view I love doing these little people I can get personalities and see if I can put a little child here holding on I've never been really conscious of the history of wood engraving I was constrained during the 70s I suppose when I started exhibiting when the interesting work I was doing was rejected and only the traditional work was included in exhibitions and that helped to form other people's views that wood engraving was always a bit of The Archers and very traditional I was quite unconscious of what I was doing and what I was making as being different it was just what I wanted to do once it's on the block and I've done most of the engraving I go as far as I can and then I take proof just to see if it's all right to see if there's anything that's particularly obvious in the way I should be working and I can go back with my print and see what needs to be done next I've got to work out what goes between all these pieces to make them right I'm gonna go and do a little bit of work here on on the floor mostly I'm just making very small pecking marks but they actually each very significant and will make a difference to the liveliness of this area which was looking bit dead a lot of people feel that wood engraving is the tightest and the most lacking in freedom but I think once once I've got an idea I just feel totally free on the block and I it it just feels totally right to me you

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