Andreja Brulc's Blog

Screenprinting is fun!

Posted in Printmaking by andrejabrulc on 12/03/2011

I have been meaning to do a screen printing course for a few years now and I am really glad that I have finally found the time to do it with Ann Norfield at East London Printmakers. I am now hooked!

As part of the brief for the second session of the course, I had to bring along a photographic image printed either on an opaque thin paper or on an acetate. The brief also said that the image was to be printed using a darker colour over a lighter one – the background – made from a stencil.

I was thinking for a few days which image I was going to print that would work well and be most effective with two layers of colour. At the end I decided to go for one of the photographs I made on my second trip to India in August 2008, showing the locals (and a tourist!) relaxing on the Marina Beach in Chennai in Tamil Nadu (below). I wanted to emphasize two points in the final print: first, to give a more documentary feel to the image, that is, in the style of newspaper print, and second, to put a particular significance on the sea with which the place is associated.

As lovely bright colours of saris are so dominant and overwhelming in the original photograph, it would have seemed most obvious that I should have used a brighter colour as the background, a colour more relevant to the colours of India. On the other hand, I could have used a lighter blue or even a turquoise blue associated in our minds with the exoticism of distant seas, both colours of which would have fitted in well with the brief. But if I did use a lighter blue for the background, the scene with people staring towards the vastness of the Indian Ocean would have come out as the most important element in the final image. However, by inverting the significance of the focal point in the image, I wanted to convey a different message – instead I wished to stress the importance of the sea rather than the people. My decision to go for a darker and deeper blue was due to the fact that the very same 13 km long beach had been badly hit by the tsunami on 26 Dec 2004. On my visit to Chennai I was told by a local that on the morning of the tsunami (it was a Sunday!) thousands of people from Chennai were relaxing on the beach, or were engaged in some sort of game such as playing cricket or even selling candy floss and so on, when all of a sudden the monstrous wave came from a distance and swept away many lives.

It was therefore obvious that the deep blue, expressing the distance, the unknown and the unexpected, was to become a paramount element of the image in the final print. And here is the result!

Of course, there are always problems with your first print! I managed to reverse the stencil when printing the background! And I was not going to cheat in Photoshop here as I wanted to be reminded of this mistake!

I do like the Marina Beach – have a look at the video.

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