CyclingSmarter LIFE AS A HUMAN Only one thing is certain… life is uncertain

Only one thing is certain… life is uncertain

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Faced with a blood cancer diagnosis at 34 I plummeted into uncertainty. The future I envisioned seemed to disappear in front of my eyes. A feeling that seems to have been echoed on a global scale over the last year.


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Fortunately, I was given a second chance after having a donor stem cell transplant in 2017. This led to some revaluation and I decided that my art practice was no longer going to take a back seat, so I went part-time with art teaching and I re-joined my local printmaking studio.

Reduction Lino cut prints from the recent ‘bloom’ series

Initially, the artwork was a reminder to myself as I tried to hold onto my own lessons, but over time I learnt that it is a powerful way to encourage and connect with others. I started to meet people at art fairs and exhibitions and some shared their stories with me. I saw incredible strength and vulnerability and these connections reaffirmed the realities of the human experience that I passionately wanted to capture. I knew from that point that the human form was a vital part of the work. Over the years it’s evolved from full figures to portraits as I explored the emotion I could capture in a single subject. During the pandemic, I was unable to access the print studio which I relied upon for many of my processes, so I started to use a technique called lino printing, which involves carving a piece of lino (called a plate) with tools to create a relief surface; which is then coated with a layer of ink and printed onto paper. I do this by hand with a tool called a Baren which applies even pressure to transfer the ink.

Some prints are built up with several plates, or from plates that are repeatedly carved into between each layer until it is eventually destroyed. This means that you know that each piece is an original, handmade piece of artwork that is always limited edition. It is important to me that you can see evidence of the process of its creation, so I leave marks behind which also creates life and energy in the piece.

Behind the scenes photos showing the process of linocut

Behind the scenes photos showing the process of linocut

I want to share work that celebrates strength and vulnerability, acknowledging that everything is impermanent, imperfect and incomplete and that is beautiful.

“The lotus flower is a reminder of the beauty that comes from change,
the magic that a new beginning brings, and the seed of potential that’s buried
in the most unlikely places.”
~ Jennifer Williamson

Reduction linocut prints from the recent 'bloom' series

Reduction linocut prints from the recent ‘bloom’ series

Image Credits

All Images Are © Clare Morgan

Guest Artist Bio
Clare Morgan

I am a practising artist and teacher working in Derby, UK. I create original, empowering portrait artwork in lino print that encourages reflection, empathy and calm.

After graduating in 2005 with a degree in Fine Art, I fell in love with printmaking; The process has remained a constant source of fascination for me. I relish the patience required and labour involved in preparing the stencils and plates. I am excited by the element of unpredictability inherently attached to the process. Until the first pull of the print, you are never quite sure what will be revealed.

I seek to explore the fragility and instability of the human experience juxtaposed against a desire for certainty and control. To make our inner world visible through expressive portraits, exciting colour palettes and imagery revealing more of a story and allows us to connect.

Blog / Website: Clare Morgan Fine Art figurative printmaker

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