Sunday, 18 November 2012

Inspired by my next trip to Africa

A couple of years ago we took our children to Ethiopia.  Friends were working there and it was a good opportunity to experience what life is like for other people, people who don't have what we have.  Since then I have been very interested in the work done by Beyond Subsistence, a non-profit organisation committed to helping those in third world countries through forestry and agro-forestry.

In April of next year, 2013, I am heading off to Africa again, this time with Beyond Subsistence to see the projects they have happening in Ethiopia and Uganda.  Trees make a big difference to how people are able to live their lives.  Trees provide food, shelter, fuel and an income.  They improve crop production and give the soil stability. It is something I see as very important.

And so, I have been inspired to create.  This time, lino prints.  A new medium for me to play with.

Subject #1 The African Acacia: Over-harvested, the African Acacia often stands as a lone tree, symbolic of the wilds of Africa.  Unfortunately, lone trees don't provide sustainability.
My first attempt at lino printing and I need to practice my technique as I did forget that final step of using a spoon to rub the print onto the paper for even paint coverage.

I like this night time image.  Lots of stars (as a result of forgetting the spoon step!).

The simplicity of the image means that it is eye-catching no matter the colour choice.

Subject #2 The Australian Acacia:  This native Australian tree grows well in Africa and is useful for all of the things mentioned above.  The seeds are high in protein and can be eaten.  The trees grow quickly and are easy to manage.

This print is hand-coloured with water-colour paint on a black print.  I like this particular piece but after some consideration I began to feel that it looked like a coloured-in photo copy.  So I decided to try colour.

I love this.  I know what it is.  If you don't "know" then I doubt you could "tell" which means the image may not travel well.

I especially loved it in green.  I might hand-tint them but I can't quite make my mind up.

Subject #3 Mother and child.  
Trying something a little more challenging and here it becomes obvious that I am new to lino printing.   Despite the many problems associated with the actual cut (I need to cut more out of the print) and with the actual printing (I need to press the paper harder), the image still retains its integrity.

The sadness and story of the image is easier to see here.  Dark, alone, desolate. 


  1. Wow! You have certainly been having some fun! Congrats with the lino. I love the shape of the acacia tree, it looks very African. Great you are going over there. Every book i read lately..rather all 2012, has been autobiographies of folk in Africa somewhere.Whatever you can do to help is wonderful. I like your handcoloured wattle, its delightful.

  2. Thanks Anne, your kind words really encourage me. I am loving lino prints and am looking forward to experimenting more.