What do you create?
I am a fine art printmaker, making linocut limited editions and monoprints as well as collagraph and carborundum original prints. 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 at a family run bindery.
Where do you make your work?
I work mostly from my home studio snuggled 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.
What is your inspiration?
I am undoubtedly inspired to give visual expression to my inner feelings about the world and lives around me – the essential isolation of the individual and the connections of community, alongside the hidden landscapes that I have been watching and catching for a moment throughout my life, be it a 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.
What process do you use to create 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. As well as carving linocut blocks, I also build collagraph printing plates, cutting into and adding card and fine grit to create contrast in textures as well as line. 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 or building a plate, long hours are involved 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. The former for its meditative contemplation of the final image and the latter for that breath-holding moment when I see how the ink and marks have together made the image their own.
Who inspires or has influenced you?
There are too many art influences to list, but I have an enduring love of artists Joan Eardley who made Catterline in Scotland her home and Keith Vaughan for their use of semi abstract form, characterful and energetic 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. I couldn’t leave this question without also mentioning Robert Motherwell, an abstract expressionist whose wonderfully strong work takes my breath away.
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 studio hours 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 where I feel completely at home. I work hard to push myself, my skills and the technique to create images that will then mean something of their own to each person viewing them.
Where do you exhibit and sell your work?
I have exhibited across the UK and internationally in both group and juried exhibitions. A selection of my work can be found in private galleries around the UK and I try to keep my website up to date with forthcoming exhibitions and links at www.fionahumphrey.com. I couldn’t finish without mentioning that I really enjoy the engagement with others over on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fionahumphreyart/ where we can have a natter together about works in progress, technical questions, studio life and any aspect of art that takes my fancy that day.