Emma Kirkman’s exhibition includes linocut and etched images from a series of work focussing upon the birdlife of the Solway coastline and the surrounding areas of rural North Cumbria. Also included are Collagraph prints which form part of a series of images which portray the exploration of hedgerows throughout the months of the year. A beautiful collection of work, intended to reflect the dynamic contrasts between the seasons.
Emma has given us some insight into her inspirations and motivations as an Artist…
“As an artist I am influenced by the natural world around me and feel a profound and emotional connection with nature, I see the beauty in the mundane, the things that people pass in the street I find fascinating and want to explore. I draw Inspiration from my love of nature which I immerse myself in as much as I can. Although I am still exploring my process as an artist I find that experiences where I have had the opportunity to interact or connect with a location and explore the surrounding environments and inhabitants will spark off an idea that starts a chain reaction, from here I will make quick field sketches to capture an essence of a place and capture its spirit knowing that it will later evoke memories that I have experienced on location. These sketches are made with mixed media using pencil, pen and ink, pastel and watercolour and are very rough. The next stage in my process is to go away and research and sift through reference material, this is usually because a fleeting glimpse of a goldfinch does not give me enough opportunity to draw an accurate image and so I will need to source images from elsewhere to support me with this, however I never completely ‘design’ the print by copying a finished sketch and putting it on to the block because I find this too edited and restrictive.
I like to form a collection based on an idea or location to start a series of images, the subsequent choice of collograph or linocut comes from the sketches produced from the reference piece, I find that collograph gives me a more etherial image whereas linocut is bolder and stronger in the final outcome, both I find wonderful but very different outcomes. Working with print helps me to loosen up my style and become more abstract when producing images. I am drawn to print as a process because although there is a technique and there are so many variables which will influence the final image. I can intend to produce an image which I have visualised and often the final image varies from my expectation, a serendipitous experience to which I surrender quite happily.”