Meet the artist Jane Duke, printmaker

Short summary about you?

I am a British printmaker living in York in the north of England. I’m one of the organisers of the annual York Open Studios event and I also teach printmaking workshops in my studio.

What is your art about?

A lot of my subject matter comes from the architecture, animals and scenery I see around me here in Yorkshire. I’m particularly drawn to buildings and landscapes which have endured through centuries, and the bonds we have with our shared past. I often use rich colour to encourage the viewer to reassess their assumptions and look a bit more closely at the everyday sights they might take for granted.

Cathedral Steps by Jane Duke
Collagraph print of Wells Cathedral

How did you come to art or how did art come to you?

Art was a hobby until I had my children. I dropped it for a few years while I was busy with childcare and when I took it up again I found I had to work hard to regain my previous standard. Having started to study seriously I just kept on working and learning and improving and before I knew it I was joining art groups and exhibiting and then selling and finally I was a full time professional artist.


Has anything changed about your working processes during your artistic career?

I was a painter, mostly in watercolour, for decades. I was doing well, receiving commissions, getting coverage in national publications and teaching regular classes. But then when I was in my 40s a chance conversation with a printmaker sparked my interest. I had to start from scratch learning new techniques and approaches and building a new career but I haven’t looked back and now I describe myself as a printmaker rather than a painter. I think you can still see my painting background though as I lot of my prints are quite painterly; I tend to use softer, expressive techniques more than crisp graphic ones.

Fleet of Foot by Jane Duke
Handprinted artist’s book

Can you tell us a bit about your printing techniques?

The first prints to grab my attention were collagraphs and that is still the technique I use most. I build up printing plates on mountboard by adding collage elements and incising into the board. I use a lot of wiping techniques so that each print is effectively a monoprint (and very painterly as I mentioned). I also use drypoint etching to which I sometimes add watercolour after printing. Watercolour also comes into use in my Japanese Woodblock (moku hanga) printing where the ability to blend and shade appeals to the painter in me.
Lindisfarne by Jane Duke

Woodblock print

To learn more about Jane, please visit her website

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