Après Matisse

I was very excited to see the prints from Matisse’s “Jazz Suite” at the Pompidou Centre last month: bold, primary colours; simple shapes on the boundary between recognisable and abstract; and a great feeling of movement. So I had to have a go at my own version. The “Jazz Suite” edition was stencilprints, created from Matisse’s original paper cutouts; my version is a linocut.

Apres Matisse 1

First stage: I’ve cut away the areas of the linoblock that I want to stay white (that is, where the paper will show through), and printed the block in light blue (ultramarine plus lots of white).

Apres Matisse 2

Second stage: I’ve cut away the areas of the block that I want to stay light blue, and printed the block in darker blue on top of the light blue.

Apres Matisse 3

3 stage reduction linocut, 16 x 16 cm.

Final stage: I’ve cut away everything except the two outside figures, and printed the block in black. (The blue looks different in this photograph from the earlier stages; it’s actually the same, just slightly different lighting.)

Print finished. Did it work? Not sure: it’s a lot bolder than my usual linocuts, and I like the simplicity of using only three similar colours (actually four colours — the white of the paper is an important part of the design). But it’s still not as bold or as simple as Matisse’s.

I’ll try some more.

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