When it comes to creating, nature is hard to get right. There are so many curves and fluid lines, one false move and you can get the whole thing wrong.
Add linocutting into that mix – a medium that stems from the blade – and you can see why many people (myself included) rarely venture further than the architectural or graphic within their prints.
But Jackie Curtis’ work is almost entirely based on the natural world, and her depictions of animals and wildlife are some of the most impressive I’ve seen. From her Somerset studio she was kind enough to answer the usual barrage of questions…
When did you start linocutting?
Nearly 20 years ago when my Dad sent me his linocutting tools – and a plaster!
Who influences you?
No one specifically, but I admire printmakers who can take very ordinary scenes – such as Gail Brodholt’s M25 linocut – and create fascinating images. It makes me want to push the boundaries of my work.
What sort of images do you try to capture?
The landscape and wildlife around me is what inspires me, and in particular birds. I’m attracted to patterns such as the shapes in a bird’s plumage, the coils of ammonite fossils, things like that.
You colour palette is very stylish…
It’s really governed by the image – many of my linocuts are monochrome blue and black but I’m drawn to warm, earthy colours.
What sort of printing set up do you have?
I have a smaller (30cm wide) Gerstaecker KD31 press and a larger ABIG press, which will take up to 50cm wide prints. It’s been modified to take thicker woodblocks. I use longer pieces of wood as base plates for longer prints.
Do you like to mix up the medium of printing with others, such as painting, hand finishing, etc?
No, I tend not to. I use several different printmaking methods – monoprints, collagraphs, linocuts and woodblocks – and tend to select the technique for the image I’m trying to create rather than mix mediums.
Have you had good results from selling your work?
Yes, luckily I have – it gives you a fantastic buzz to sell a piece.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just finished a large intricate woodblock so I’m letting my back and hand rest. There’s an image in my head which may be a reduction print of a fox on a woodpile, with rich earth colours, that may be my next linocut
Any tips for budding linocutters?
I always try to carry a sketchbook and camera, as you never know – sometimes a scene just says ‘linocut’ and you need to be able to record the details then and there…
For more information on Jackie’s prints, or to buy and browse, visit her site here.
And she’s also on twitter – here