An edition of 100 with 10 artist's proofs. Commissioned by the Gulbenkian Foundation in 1984 and printed in 8 colours, signed and numbered in 1985 at Lowick House Print Workshop on John Purcell 285gsm mould-made 100% rag paper.
The Gulbenkian Foundation Award was given to painters and sculptors to explore an aspect of printmaking and produce an edition of 100 prints. Lithography was something I had done a tiny amount of sixteen years earlier at St. Martin's School of Art . . . . . though back at college I hadn't enjoyed it that much. To get myself into the various and complex processes inherent in colour lithography I began by making 'Swaledale' (a fairly simple print in terms of design), and 'Bluefaced Leicester' in which I learnt not to be too timid with regard to the strength of the colour I was printing in. Making an eight colour lithograph and working towards an edition of 100 prints was, to start with, really scary. Making the wrong decision such as printing too strong a colour in the wrong place would wreck the whole edition. However, working with master printer John Sutcliffe at Lowick House, the whole process really was exhilarating.
'Shearers' depicts Gary, a local farm worker, and two contract shearers working on a farm close to my home. I have to say that Gary's nose is not like this. Whilst drawing for the eighth and final colour (the black), I was thinking about Federigo da Montefeltro's nose in Piero della Francesca's paintings of him, and I liked the idea of the curve of the nose echoing, in reverse, the curve of the shearer's cable. Sorry Gary!