Perhaps my Wheat Field block print pattern was subliminally inspired by trip last spring to London. I took a solo trip to the capital and indulged in all things art, culture and food. Long days at the V&A (Victoria & Albert Museum), repeat visits to the National Portrait Gallery and The National Gallery with plenty of good food in Chinatown. At this point I was still in my early days of block printing, not quite sure what my creative output would be focused on or even what my process was. All I knew was that I was inspired by every corner of the city and no matter what self doubt or reservations lingered in my mind, there was, and is, always room for more art.
I remember visiting Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘A Wheatfield, with Cypresses‘ at The National Gallery. While I appreciate Van Gogh’s incredible talent and legacy, the works of Henri Matisse will always have my attention first and foremost. I’m not sure why Van Gogh’s painting made such an impact, and at the time I wasn’t even aware it had, but I bought a coaster with his print from the gift shop and thought no more. It is still used to this day.
Towards the end of last year, I began a 30 day challenge, specifically a ’30 days of block print patterns’ to kick start my enthusiasm and creativity. On day 7 I carved my first interpretation of my Wheat Field block print and have since revived this design and refreshed it to become part of my permanent collection.
Living in East Lothian, U.K., we are surrounded by rural countryside and plenty of wheat fields. I think it was the same appreciation and understanding that saw Van Gogh paint his Wheat Fields collection. The significance of such a simple yet important grain, the hardships and struggles associated with peasant farmers of the past and wheats connection with nature and history of providing comfort and stability to all.
I have deliberately left my Wheat Field block print pattern simple, using only one block and one motif to create a drop repeat pattern with each colour way only using two colours. I like to think the ochre/cream combination represents wheat fields at their fullest, just before harvest during the long summer nights. The charcoal/cream combination for me, represents wheat fields at their quietest, during the hours of darkness before twilight, before any expectation of a ready harvest.
I hope you enjoy my Wheat Field block print pattern as much as I do, there is something extremely satisfying about carving grass and leaves in linoleum. The way the lines and curves flow, the simple yet bold shapes and instantly recognisable form which then appears upon printing.
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