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  • Caroline Finlay

Big Sky

I have been a member of Fife Dunfermline Print Workshop for a few years and last year we were asked to make a print for a collaborative group exhibition with an Australian printmakers. The theme was Big Sky and the print had to be big (56 x 76cm), bigger than I have attempted before.

My inspiration came from a beautiful Scots Pine with a dark, stormy sky moving in behind and sun still shining from the opposite direction.

What I wasn't prepared for were the challenges that arose with making a large screenprint, from equipment to technique. My sore shoulder meant I had to get to grips with using the squeegie arm as pulling large prints by hand would be too painful.

I had a few problems along the way and had to abandon my first print and start again although I was really happy with the first few layers.

The problems begun with the sky, the ink wasn't pushing through the screen properly and I was frustrated with the result and couldn't figure out the cause so decided to start again.

In the second print I wanted to work on the background first and add the pine needles later.

The sky was built up in layers. I wanted a loose, sketchy feel to the sky.

Three layers of pine needles have given the tree the depth I was hoping for and the dark sky makes the pine pop.

I'm really happy with this print and have learnt a lot along the way. It's far from perfect and there's always room for improvement but I think that will be the case forever. That's how we improve and develop skills.

It's been good working to a large scale but exhausting working with a huge screen so I'll be happy to get back to smaller prints next. I'd also like to play with alternative ideas that popped into my head along the way.

Big Sky. Screenprint, hand pulled on Somerset paper - 10 layers, small edition of 8.

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