Louise Rutherford came to visit, with coffee and good cheer and her boundless, generous curiosity. We spread prints and drafts and proofs and plates all over the living-room floor (after a small delay while I hunted down the “OK proofs” folder, which was hiding under a big sheet of blotting paper). Then Louise looked them over, with her excellent eye and the benefit of innocence – she didn’t know what order I had done things in, what processes were applied, what I liked, what I had rejected as technically or aesthetically unsatisfactory. Magic! Everyone should do it from time to time, provided of course that there is a willing friend on hand with an acute eye.
Louise’s feedback and spontaneous reactions added two kinds of value that were almost opposites. On the one hand, she confirmed that the painted polymer plate technique I’ve devised has potential for making strong, atmospheric images – offset by the danger of encouraging me to make mere pictures, with little to offer that couldn’t be arrived at more easily via a b&w photo print. On the other hand, she pulled me back to valuing the more graphic, forceful, fundamentally abstract character of the collagraph prints that I used to make from recycled packaging. I’ve come away from our conversation with a sense I need to find a way to pull together the potential of both techniques, rather than trying to operate in two divergent modes, which just doesn’t work, or abandoning one of them wholly, which is pretty much what I did by default with the collagraph.
Louise also reminded me that I had started this blog, which I had all but forgotten. Time to get some images up, and some writing written. Perhaps I may even find some way of bringing them together, beyond the blog itself. But it will do for now.