This is the first of two artworks based on a swimmer preparing to plunge into the ocean. I wanted to convey a sense of stillness in the stance of the lone swimmer, in contrast with the movement of the surrounding surf. He is calm, absorbed in his own thoughts, and unafraid of being in the sea.
I have lived on the coast for most of my life and find myself drawn to the sea and places where I swim as my main source of inspiration. I try to convey a sense of intimacy and serenity in my work and rarely include a human figure or signs of human habitation. I use a limited palette and mainly work in blues.
I mainly work with the photopolymer technique which uses no harsh chemicals. My work usually begins with a photograph I have taken, which is digitally edited to remove any elements that distract from the calm psychological mood I want to convey. The newly created image is printed in black ink onto a transparency on which I hand draw elements such as line work, shading and contrast. This reworked transparency is then placed on a metal plate coated with a light-sensitive emulsion and exposed under an ultraviolet light source. The emulsion hardens under the clear areas of transparency and remains soft under the areas covered by black ink. The soft areas wash out with water, creating a type of water ‘etch’ in the polymer surface which is then further hardened in sunlight. The plate is then inked, covered with printmaking paper, and passed through an etching press under high pressure.
The resulting artwork is known as a photopolymer intaglio print.
Libby has been a member of Warringah Print Studio for eight years.