People keep asking me to make my pictures bigger. The challenge with printmaking is that the size of image is limited by the size of the printing press. After a lot of experimentation with new papers (Somerset), ways of handling larger sheets and the maximum area possible to print, I’ve found a solution. But then I discovered I needed to adapt my technique – to scale up. After a few unsuccessful attempts and with advice from my tutor and fellow printmakers, I have found that laying my printing plates on the floor and standing over them to apply the ink with larger rollers seems to be working. It helps me stand back from the image and create longer more sweeping marks. This is particularly useful when creating some of the large diptychs.
So from a typical printed image size of 30 cm x 30 cm or 30 cm x 40 cm, I’m now able to print 40cm x 60 cm. And by putting two plates next to each other I’m creating diptychs twice that size.
What is a Diptych?
Very simply, a diptych is a drawing or painting in two parts. The format of the pictures may be landscape or portrat, but they will usually be the same size. It is sometimes a continuous but divided image, or may be composed of separate, closely related images. Often you’ll see portraits of a couple with one person in each panel.
The word diptych comes from the greek root ‘dis’, meaning two, and ‘ptykhe’, meaning ‘fold’, and was the name of the folding writing tablets used in Roman times.
Two boards, most commonly wood, but also bone or metal, were hinged together, the inner faces covered with a layer of wax which could be inscribed.
Top image: ‘The Heather on the Hill’. Monotype oil diptych – each half is printed on 300 gsm Somerset paper with a dimension of: 760mm x 1120mm (30” x 44”) to show the deckled edge of the paper. Price for the pair £550
Bottom image: ‘Towards Emsworth’. Monotype oil diptych – each half is printed on 300 gsm Somerset paper with a dimension of: 760mm x 1120mm (30” x 44”) to show the deckled edge of the paper. Price for the pair £550