Max Angus does nature prints well. Really well. Her style is delicate, almost as delicate as the feathers of the birds she regularly prints, but her colours are bold.
Alongside her painting, she works in numerous plate linocuts, and her growing body of work touches on animals, plant life, village scenes and even the odd spot of architecture. It feels pure, rural even, and the general mood is of a blissful, sun-drenched land. A better land perhaps.
Max is also a member of of the Society of Wildlife Artists, so I asked her about that, as well as her printing techniques…
Hello Max. When did you become a linocutter?
That must have been about 14 years ago. Many years earlier after leaving college I didn’t have access to an etching press. I wasn’t really happy with what I wanted to achieve burnishing by hand. Then after a long search, I acquired a mangle and Googled ‘how to convert a mangle to an etching press’. I tried a few dry points and mono prints but it was the linocuts I found most exciting.
What other disciplines do you work in?
Wood engraving and charcoal. Though I enjoy painting, I’ve not had time to paint for a few years now.
What are the key influences on your prints – nature seems key?
I’ve always enjoyed walking and being outdoors. Drawing from nature combines the two passions.
What does being a member of the SWLA entail?
The SWLA Society of Wildlife Artists is one of the Federation of British Artists (FBA) art societies. The society holds an annual exhibition called The Natural Eye at the Mall Galleries. The exhibition is open for artists ‘representing wildlife in its natural habitat’. The society was set up by Peter Scott and other great artists like Robert Gilmour. Most member artists are not explorers but artists creating art from the wildlife on their favourite patches. The membership of the society is by election by the other members. I have been part of The Council of the society and The Treasurer for the last four years.
What’s your printing set-up like?
I work in a small part insulated workshop divided into mainly four sections. A table for cutting and planning. An area for mixing inks and inking lino. Storage for supplies. In the last section there’s a huge Albion Press from 1859 nicknamed Hettie.
Were you trained in the arts?
The printmaking at college focused on all the higher end printmaking techniques. We were given just one morning on linocut. I thought I was going to be a painter. I found in linocutting and the creation of multiple plates for different colours the closest in printmaking to painting.
How has selling your work been going?
I only create small print runs of generally 45. I don’t always print the whole run as I’m always keen to move on to my next picture. I always think being represented by about five galleries works well with the small print runs.
Where can people see/buy your work?
The main showcase achieved over the previous year is The Natural Eye exhibition at the Mall Galleries. The five galleries I use have a greater footfall than trying to sell direct. I also find they’re very friendly and interesting places to visit. Only selling through the galleries leaves me free to get on in my studio.
What are you working on next?
Currently, I’ve created a black and white wood engraving 10x10cm. Using the same source sketches I’m working on a partner, three block linocut sized 38x38cm.
For more information have a gander at Max’s site.