Hello. Thank you for visiting the website of Helen Prout. I am an artist living and working in the Cotswolds. To read more, click on About.
I’ve had a struggle giving birth to this second painting of the Lake District. Feeling unable to do justice to the sheer beauty of the place, I let my feelings and imagination spill a little whimsy across the picture, as if illustrating a fairytale. The houses and homestead farms that populate the lower slopes of the great Fells are dwarfed by the majesty of their backdrop and seem like toys scattered about the shores of the lake. The apparent contrast in styles mirrors this impression.
After a few deceptively warm and even sunny days, nature has reasserted her right to be contrary and it’s now snowing again, coating the skylights with a layer of ice which blocks my views of trees and rooftops. As colours don’t look the same in poor light, I’ve abandoned painting for the moment, along with thoughts of a bracing walk or creative gardening session. Instead I can focus on the technical challenges of my printmaking project.
The four lino blocks, or plates, are finally ready to be inked up and printed. I’m unsure how it will work out as I’m printing them as one large piece so I hope the corners are true. It’s planned as a monochrome work for the moment until I see how that looks. The greatest fascination about printmaking is that you can never really predict how the print will look – at least, I can’t, being inexperienced in this medium.
But here’s one I made earlier, two simple prints inspired by my spring garden. Using this “suicide” method involves taking a number of prints from the plate before cutting more away then printing a second colour over the first. For the two-colour print the first colour was yellow, followed by blue.
Sorry to have spread confusion by referring to a previously published painting as “Caravan of Dreams” when it’s actually called “The Dream Factory”. Some kind of Freudian slip? Perhaps I should change the title to that of the book of Sufi tales collected by writer and oriental scholar Idries Shah.
Enough is enough, this one has to stop now. I’ve been fiddling about with it for too long, easily done, and am getting bored with it. “The Snug”, a portrait of my little sitting-room, is a companion piece to “Caravan of Dreams”, previously featured. Both are mixed media pieces on canvas, though I normally prefer paper on board as a support, for it doesn’t give like canvas and better withstands being scratched, scraped, tortured with glue and having other indignities performed on its surface. Unfortunately I bought several canvases on impulse a couple of years ago before realizing this and feel I must try and use some of them up! They take up so much room just standing around waiting to be brought to life.
During the production of this painting, I’ve been taking distraction breaks to prepare some lino blocks for printing, an undertaking which is frustratingly slow and slightly hazardous; I’ve managed to nick my left hand several times already. Not much longer to go, though and I’m planning some Lake District paintings next. Life doesn’t get much more exciting than this!
This painting recalls a hot day in Sicily in 2007. I had been walking along a deserted road in unrelenting heat…. heading for a monastery which turned out to be too far away to reach that day. Turning back with my companion to retrace our footsteps to a bus stop, the small town ahead shimmered in the breathless air, dry, still and empty in the afternoon sun.