An interest in sustainable gardening led Anna Curtis to make still life
drawings, which include fruit and vegetable drawings of fresh produce
from her garden in North Queensland, Australia, as she planned her
latest body of work.
These sketches were then transferred to Anna’s preferred printmaking material, a lino-block, and carved with a sharp carving tool before being printed by hand, in a reduction lino printing process, onto high quality Arches rag paper, using oil based printing inks.
Technically, Anna is “streets ahead” of most other print-makers,
who use relief printing. Using the “reduction” method of building up an
image with successive layers of colours and cutting away already printed
surfaces of her lino-block, Anna displays patience and skill, born of
many years of development, to take her art form to the highest level
Still life drawings become still life relief prints. Click here for an overview of Anna’s relief printing methods.
But although it is important, technique is secondary to her work and occurs as part of a process of which she is often not conscious.
The concept, the materials, the hand and eye become as one with
the work, which seems to develop of its own volition, so there is always
an element of surprise for her when the prints are completed.
Anna explains her working methods in developing still life drawings to linoblock 'paintings' in this new 'garden' series:
"I have approached many of the new works in this series differently to most other reduction linoprints.
In combination with the reduction linoprint technique, I have used stencils to mask out the ink and have worked on individual fruits, teapots etc to achieve subtle effects.
As is the case with all the linoprints I create, drawing is central and integral to the process. The image unfolds like a painting in some ways.
It is very much a layering process, as I use one block to create a multi colored image. Most people who make coloured linoprints print a black and white image and then hand colour sections. Using the reduction method gives a unique quality and because I print by hand using a special baren, there is slight variation between each print in the edition.
It’s a complex process involving many skills, including drawing, carving and printing. There is also the added element of having to plan for the image printing in reverse to the carved image on the linoblock. Lots to think about!
It takes a great deal of concentration to create a reduction
linoprint, and as I am literally destroying the lino as I go, there is
no turning back once it is complete".
Meticulous in her working methods and planning, it is only to be
expected that the work space of this brilliant print-maker would be
Anna’s efficient studio is only a few steps from her beloved
garden, or the kitchen in which she creates culinary delights, cooking
with spices, vegetables and herbs, still alive when they go into the
So it is that drawings of vegetables quickly find a home with still life drawings of ginger pots, flower drawings and garden sketches.
Tend the garden, nourish the soul, stir the pot, carve the linoblock – Anna’s creative mind is at work!
She says, “I love to grow the food I eat and to share fresh produce with others. It gives me great pleasure to dig in the vegetable patch, to plant seeds by the moon rhythms and to nurture the plants daily until they are ready to harvest. This seemingly simple, domestic activity keeps me in harmony with the earth and the creatures that inhabit my small garden. It creates a feeling of wonderment and purpose.”
Anna has aptly named this latest collection of still life drawings which
have become linoblock relief prints ‘Spice of Life’ and explains that
“fruits, vegetables and spices are its main ingredients. These are
combined with such domestic pleasures as making lemongrass tea in a
favourite teapot or eating a delicious laksa. The whole is then mixed
with favourite objects, intricate patterns and textures of cloth and a
dash of good humour for a feast of images that will lift the spirit and
feed the soul.”
I am sure that this ‘down to earth’ artist has enjoyed the process as much as the viewer will relish the results! If you would like to see more of Anna’s past and current work please check out her website for more images or make an enquiry direct from her by filling in the short form below.
Please also enjoy this video of Anna hard at work in her studio.