John McGowan - Printmaker

Original Prints from an Original Printmaker


 

Canals


A series of prints about the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal were amongst the first that I editioned in the late 1970s. Nearly all of those prints have left home a long time ago but it was the return of a less than perfect copy of one of those early canal prints that sparked off a new set.

What, I asked myself, could I do with the same images with the skills and techniques that I had acquired over the ensuing forty years?
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Rothersthorpe Lock 1

Rothersthorpe Lock takes as its subject matter a view through lock gate 11 of the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal, looking east towards the M1 Bridge over that canal and lock gate 12. This view no longer exists, as a motorway slip road has been built between the two. The image is based on photographs taken in the late 1970s. This version of the print uses 4 grey tones and has been created by painting each stage onto a transparent sheet with Lascaux Tusches and various pens, scrapers and chinagraph pencils. What is significantly different from the old print is that the greys provide the foundation for the print, rather than a subsequent tonal modification of the colour.
Stacks Image 938
Screen-print in 4 colours on Somerset satin White 300gsm mould-made paper
Dimensions: Paper H 76cms x W 56cms, Image: H 47cms x 63.5cms
Limited Edition of 5


Rothersthorpe Lock 2

This version of the print uses 4 grey tones and 5 colours, which are overprinted onto the greys. Only one green is printed. All the other green variations are the result of modification by the greys, blue, yellow and purple – grey. The composition is more open and follows the organisation of the photograph more closely. The use of splatter/spray techniques and a greater variety of mark making tusches and tools help to create the rich textural effects.
Stacks Image 944
Screen-print in 9 colours on Somerset satin White 300gsm mould-made paper
Dimensions: Paper H 76cms x W 56cms, Image: H 47cms x 63.5cms
Limited Edition of 20


Northampton Lock (Kind of Blue)

‘Northampton Lock’ takes as its subject matter a view through a lock gate of the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal, looking East. This print is a revisit to the first print that I editioned using high contrast film in the late 1970s. I rediscovered those film sheets and realised how primitive they were. I have taken the same negative, scanned it into the computer and extracted more subtle reflections and given greater space for sky and landscape. Distracting elements have been eliminated. This print is an attempt to focus on the lock gate and its reflection as well as giving greater emphasis to the landscape beyond. Its subtitle is a reference to greatest jazz album ever!
Stacks Image 948
Screen-print in 8 colours on Somerset satin White 300gsm mould-made paper
Dimensions: Paper H 48cms x W 37cms, Image: H 40cms x 23cms
Limited Edition of 25


Warehouse, Far Cotton

The broken warehouse windows were the subject of one of the first photo-screenprints that I made in the 1970s. Now, some 40 years on, I have returned to that same image having studied the works of Gerd Winner and John Piper in depth. The qualities that I now see in that image has changed dramatically and this print reinterprets the context in gentle colour and delicate texture: kind of Gerd Winner meets Claude Monet! The image is the result of a rigorous translation of a continuous tone negative into a series of five stepped tones: a posterisation. The large image was made and re-made three times in an attempt to realise the subtle half tones of the warehouse wall and its reflection. Finally, I achieved the result I wanted through the help of Goldmark Atelier in Uppingham, who printed out the tonal positives on their huge ink-jet printer for me to make screens from back in my own studio.
Stacks Image 952
Screen-print in 5 colours on Somerset satin White 300gsm mould-made paper
Dimensions: Paper H 18cms x W 38cms, Image: H 54cms x 40cms
Limited Edition of 12

Bollard

This is a study of a bollard and lock gate on the Grand Union Canal, Northampton Arm. It is made from 3 hand-drawn images on acetate that overlap each other and printed with transparent water based screen inks. It is like working with watercolours.
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Screen-print in 3 colours on various mould-made papers
Dimensions: Paper H 23cms x W 23.5cms, Image: H 11.5cms x 17.5cms
Limited Edition of 25


Making a Landscape Screenprint using Lascaux Tusches



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