The composition of these prints always begins with the water designs. The linocut water aims to represent the ephemeral quality of ripples colliding and overlapping, to create ever changing patterns. The Koi swim with the flowing water, whilst the Gingko leaves spin in the tiny eddies left as the fish pass by. Each print is a dance celebrating movement, and as with the mono-prints, the various elements are carefully choreographed to achieve this end. These works are printed with oil based inks onto heavy quality print paper.
This body of work marks my transition from painting to printmaking. I start by creating the grey flowing water patterns using the Suminagashi marbling technique, which forms the background for each print. This in turn influences how the Koi will swim through these compositions and interact with each other. Each print represents a captured moment in a choreographed dance of Koi, Ginko leaves and ripples.
I print with oil based inks and the polychrome Koi are hand-coloured. Some prints also include embossing, chine-collé and gold leaf.
Nishikigoi, often translated as 'brocaded carp' or 'swimming jewel', originated in Japan where koi (carp) were selectively bred for their rich colour and pattern variations. Today, there are hundreds of varieties of nishikigoi in existence; descendants of the humble ancestral Chinese carp. Nishikigoi are widely represented in traditional Japanese woodblock prints and are associated with a host of virtues, such as fortitude and tranquility.