Robyn Penn makes an epic cloud print


Blogger: Jessie Cohen

01/02/16

“I find clouds a sublime metaphor for the transience of the moment, and, in the spirit of the Romantics, they are an awesome reminder of the force of nature. Clouds are ever-changing forms. As such, they lend themselves to human metaphors on processes of transformation.”

Robyn Penn

Robyn Penn has been busy in our workshop doing the sugar lift for a large cloud print –  the culmination of a series of much smaller prints, also of clouds, which were recently exhibited at our Parkwood bookstore for an exhibition entitled Cumulus (2015).

IMG_2697
Concentrating hard: Penn in our workshop, applying condensed milk to the surface of the copper plate for the sugar lift process of her upcoming cloud print. The painting behind her is of a different formation of clouds, titled Hokusai’s Cloud.
It is a reference to Katsushika Hokusai's famous woodblock print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa (1829-1832) and is intended to link her practice to ancient Japanese printmaking where a single image is often revised in varying visual forms.
Hokusai’s Cloud is a reference to Katsushika Hokusai’s famous woodblock print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa (1829-1832) to link Penn’s practice to ancient Japanese printmaking where a single image is often revised in varying forms.

Examples of Penn’s prints, including the Cumulus works (with two separate series entitled, Cloud of Unknowing and Nine Views of a Cloud) can be seen at:

http://davidkrutprojects.com/artists/robyn-penn 

The print is based on Penn’s photograph of a cloud, which also served as inspiration for her smaller prints, such as Nine Views of a Cloud:

Alongside the photograph, Penn is using some of her ink drawings as inspiration…

Penn made two ink drawings of the same cloud image, experimenting with different marks and compositions.
Penn made two ink drawings of the same cloud image, experimenting with different marks and compositions.

By depicting the same image on a much larger scale and in new colour variations, an exciting cross-referencing conversation between Penn’s works can be seen to develop.

Penn applies the condensed milk to the copper plates in a characteristically painterly way:

Penn’s brushstrokes are thick and gestural but also very specific as she is working across two plates – each depicting the same image, but with differentiations in tone, line and colour. The final print will be the result of these two plates layered on top of each other.
One of the plates after the aquatinting process.
One of the plates after the aquatinting process.
Using a small scale photocopy of her ink drawing and tracing paper, Penn tries out some different colour variations for the print.
Using a small scale photocopy of her ink drawing and tracing paper, Penn tries out some different colour variations for the print.

For this exciting new project, Penn wants to convey a sense of fragmentation in the image, explaining that the print will be done in two layers “to create the impression that the cloud is falling apart.”

“For my smaller cloud prints”, Penn says, “I tried to give the impression that the cloud is a solid, contained object. But for this print, I intend to evoke the opposite so I’ve made my marks more textural and chaotic”.

To read more about Penn’s concept and approach please refer to the following detailed posts:

http://davidkrutprojects.com/exhibitions/cumulus-by-robyn-penn

 http://davidkrutprojects.com/36473/interview-with-robyn-penn-nine-views-of-a-cloud