Our first Spotlight On… is with fine art printmaker Fiona Hulmphrey who shares with us her methods of working, inspiration and a studio setup.
What do you create? I make collagraphs, linocut monoprints and small limited editions. Each print is conceived and created as an original artwork from start to finish – often a lengthy process. I also have a range of linocut journals, where each recycled card cover is hand-printed by me then professionally bound by a family run bindery.
Where do you make your work? I work from my home studio under the eaves, using a large floor standing Hawthorn Printmaster etching press. I am also a member of the Leicester Print Workshop and have access to a wide variety of printmaking equipment there.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Mostly, images appear in my head but I am undoubtedly inspired by my personal desire to make sense of our lives and feelings – the isolation and community of life – alongside the hidden landscapes that I have been watching, catching for a moment throughout my life – the queue at the bus-stop, a patched pavement, the curve of a hedge, a quiet moment in a café, an eroded painted shed, the shadows cast by the tabs of a curtain against the ceiling, these and much more have all inspired sketches and ideas.
How do you go about creating your work? I am a printmaker which means I carve and cut using sharp tools, making marks in whatever way works for the final image, I ink and manipulate ink, then print, both by hand-burnishing and pulling through a press. Printmaking is process heavy, each stage taking time – from carving a block, to etching a plate, hours are involved long before I reach for inks.
Which aspects of your work do you enjoy most? I love carving the lino blocks and the final reveal when I pull back the paper from the block on the press.
Who inspires you and influences your work? There are too many art influences to list, but I have an enduring love of the painters Joan Eardley who made Catterline in Scotland her home, and Keith Vaughan for their use of semi abstract form, bold mark-making and exciting colour palettes. I also admire the sculptor, Barbara Hepworth for her ability to create sculptures that are delicate and bold, essential and spare, tactile and giving.
Have you always been a printmaker-artist? I have always made art, but I first studied languages at Birmingham University, spending a couple of years in France, before then qualifying as a solicitor. It is coming up for 15 years since I left law to pursue art, initially teaching to support my early efforts and then in 2004 I took a course in printmaking at the Oxford Printmakers and I was hooked. There is something about the character of mark-making that is unique to printmaking techniques and makes me feel at home.
Where are you currently exhibiting your work? In galleries across the UK, through gallery representation and juried exhibitions – a small selection of which include: the RBSA Birmingham; the New Walk Gallery, Leicester; the Biscuit Factory, Newcastle; Fosse House Gallery, Dunchurch and Staithes Studios in Yorkshire.
What are you working on at the moment? My practice increasingly explores graphic bold mark-making in tension with loose painterly sweeps of colour, both abstract landscape and semi- abstract figurative. At the moment I am developing a body of work for The Eye Project, an artist-led series of exhibitions at the Old Library at the Leicester Adult Education College, which will culminate in a series of group exhibitions, showcasing, in each one, the work of about twelve artists and their responses to a given theme – my group is working to a ‘Light and Dark’ theme. The series will start in December 2016 and end in May 2017.
You can see Fiona’s work at the following exhibitions, at this year’s Made in Kings Heath and on her website http://www.fionahumphrey.com
Leicester Society of Artists Annual Exhibition – New Walk Museum and Art Gallery
4 November- 3 December 2016
The Eye Project – Collective Exhibition 8 December 2016 to 4 January 2017 and Group Exhibition 16 February – 15 March 2017 at the Leicester Adult Education College
Small Print International – a touring exhibition 2016 and 2017, and Passion2 Print, Leicester Print Workshop Print Biennial November 2016 in multiple venues – for full details of both exhibitions please visit: http://www.leicesterprintworkshop.com/
Staithes Studios ‘Winged’ exhibition 22 October- 27 November 2016 and 4 February -26 February 2017.
Quinns Gallery Winter Exhibition, on now through Christmas and the New Year.