Canal Linocuts

Art by Eric Gaskell

What's On

ERIC GASKELL was born in Wigan, England in 1957 and studied painting and printmaking at Wigan College and Sunderland University. He left art college in 1980 winning two painting scholarships, one to New York and one to Istanbul, as well as the Sunderland Echo Fine Art prize. Since then he has continued to develop his work. He is a member of the Society of Graphic Fine Art and over the last 32 years has exhibited widely in the UK, Europe and North America. He teaches drawing, painting and printmaking and lives in Rugby.

I was brought up near the Leeds-Liverpool and the Leigh Branch, playing along them and watching the coal barges chug past. I wanted to produce a series of works from all over the canal system, but in a different light to the traditional canal drawing or painting. I believe the graphic nature of the canal environment best suits a simple, bold linoprint style. The textures and patterns of the pathways, trees and lock gates, the swirling waters as the locks empty, the calm as they wait to be used, and the buildings and bridges that give our canals a backdrop. All these elements twist and blend to create simple yet striking prints, without losing their sense of place.

The Linocut

I draw, then redraw the original drawing, several times. Refining and developing it to fit both the format and the process. A final line drawing (or key) is then transferred to one block as a mirror image. This highly detailed line drawing, which has all the information needed for all the blocks, is cut and the image transferred to the other blocks. Each of these is then cut, inked and proofed, until all the blocks have been made. The final job is to print them all, one on top of the other in the correct order, to create the final image. Sometimes the key block is used as the final colour to "key" the other colours together.