“I have been making prints for many years, but a few years ago I started making a whole series on and around canals. They vary from the downright figurative to more abstracted realities, but they are all recognisable to the canal user.
This particular print is part of a series of multi-block and reduction linocuts for an exhibition at the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port from May through July 2013.
Rather than have as many blocks needed to create all the colours I want, I like to make my life more difficult, and to create the same image with the least number of blocks. This print is made from four blocks: blue, yellow, red and key.
The blue is inked as a graduation from a warm blue to a colder cobalt. The red (which is really a pink) overprints the blue, and the yellow is printed as a graduation from a bright yellow to an ochre. From these almost all the colours are in place. The key block was printed in a deep blue/grey, but the top (ie., the “real” world) portion was printed three times, making the colours — which are already brighter than the reflected colours — stand out even more.
My work is about the process of making a picture. I let the works swap ideas, each picture influencing the next. When an idea, a mark, or a colour works on one picture, I use it on others.
When I paint I work on board (MDF) as I like to feel the resistance of the surface. I use acrylics, which lets me reform the painting, block out areas and change colour balances quickly. But I also use canvas and oils.
I am interested in letting the picture develop from within itself, allowing each shape and colour, texture and mark to suggest the next, letting the image itself dictate and change the form. The lino cut has become an important part of my work. The graphic and immediate mark-making suit the way I think. So far.”
Editor’s note: Eric Gaskell SGFA is exhibiting his canal linocuts in a solo exhibition at the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port from 04 May – 31 July 2013. The official Canal & River Trust poet laureate, Jo Bell, will be showing a number of her poems alongside Eric’s prints. Find out more by visiting the exhibition page on the Trust’s web site — just click on the image at right.
Profile of the artist: “I have been painting, drawing, printing and exhibiting since 1980. I believe good draftsmanship is the prerequisite of good art, and I always have a drawing book in use, drawing from life and experience. Generally the “life” helps to realise form and structure, while the “experience” lets me move ideas forward.
I was born in Wigan, Lancashire in 1957 and studied painting and printmaking at Wigan College of Art and Sunderland University. I left art college in 1980, winning two painting scholarships, one to New York and one to Istanbul, as well as the Sunderland Fine Art prize. Since then I have continued to develop my art, and I now teach drawing, painting and printmaking in Rugby, Warwickshire. I am a member of the Society of Graphic Fine Art and have exhibited widely in the UK, Europe and North America.”
To see more work by Eric Gaskell SGFA please visit his web site www.egdesign.co.uk