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Drawing on Alice

Lockdown has meant one of my Lithography assignments changed from drawing and printing off a stone, to simply drawing on paper. Initially I felt like the change would be a massive step down to the intricate and technically complex Lithography assignment. However, once I bought my thick water colour paper and some lithography rubbing ink and crayons, black drawing ink, masking fluid and a greasy pastel pencil, I realised that I had an enormous opportunity to explore using new and interesting materials.

I also found that with the restraint of home studio work, my creativity and ideas were expanded. I needed boundaries to expand my thinking. Later, when I did get to draw on the stone, I was so much more confident and explorative with my mark making due to my drawing exercises. Further, the composition of my image was far more mature given I had explored it significantly throughout this assignment.

Initially I thought I would extend the image of the reflected misty morning in the autumn dam that I had explored with my Mokulito last year. However, after one drawing I realised I didn’t feel passionate about going over this again. I decided to explore imagery inspired by my exploration of conspiracy theories and Alice falling through the rabbit hole, and pandemic times being a kind of wonderland dreamlike experience.

I explored some of these images through drawings and gauche paints, inspired by Charles Blackman, Joy Hester and John Tenniel. I also tested some of the images using monoprint techniques. You can see these here.

After this I thoroughly enjoyed building up and paring back the images using the lithograph style materials on the water paper. Given the thickness of the paper, the material was strong enough to withstand many layers of masking fluid, oily pastel and pencil build up, and then my scraping parts away using my burnisher and etching tools, scissor blades and sharp pencils. I explored painting, flicking and pouring the masking fluid over the paper, and later, when it was dry, peeling it off, sometimes with an eraser. Sometimes I left parts of it on the paper to add texture. I bought a nib and explored using it as a drawing tool, but also to scratch, scrape and dab paint on its blunt end. I trialed white paint, and blue ink, and also oil pastels of white, yellow and blue.

You can see some of the building up of images, the erasure through overpainting and collage, the adding and subtraction of detail. The following are some of my drawing experiments.

The White Rabbit with a tin foil hat, and at one point a mono printed face mask (of which I removed to clarify my intent)

The White Rabbit as a Q Anon believer as the world burns is one of my favourite images:

A couple of the Cheshire Cat

My favourite being the Cat playing tin foil hat children as puppets:

And some of Alice in different settings, sometimes combined with the cat and rabbit.

My favourites of these are Alice on a conspiracy telephone and Alice and the Rabbit walking through an alien landing

The evolutions of the images, layering of materials and textures, and later collaged images, have all been totally essential to the development of my lithographic images and have helped forge a way forward into exploring the the concepts of my conspiracy theory and Alice theme.

My next step will be in trying to transfer some of these images to photographic lithography stone for printing.

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