'Maggie McDonald’s Place' (detail), Stone Lithograph
Bill Hall is a printmaker based in the UK that draws from Irish landscapes and decaying buildings to inspire his prints.
What was your first experience of printmaking?
As a student doing a foundation year, I was introduced to a very traditional and painstaking approach to etching. Being 19 years of age and more inclined to painting, I wasn't impressed by how long to took to achieve a small and, in my case, fairly unimpressive result! I returned to etching years later through my work as a teacher, and finally understood the magic. Now, my painting easel shares a studio with two etching presses.
What inspires you as an artist?
Neglected places and plants. I'm fascinated by old decayed buildings, weeds, and often combinations of the two. Ireland has provided me with a rich source of both of these, as have the North Downs in Surrey. The human form has also been the other important thread in my work.
What are you working on at present?
More weeds, especially thistles, nettles and thorns, as well as some wonderful ruins I've found over the last few months.
‘Drumlane Window’ Etching, aquatint & drypoint
‘Leamanagh Doorway’ Etching, aquatint & drypoint
What is special about printmaking?
The ability to keep re-working and proofing a plate until it's right, combined with the element of chance which can push your work in new directions.
What is your favourite printmaking process, and why?
Etching using Ferric Chloride ('Edinburgh Etch'). I like the marks and textures, as well as the convenience of being easily able to process a plate in my own studio without the need for air extractors and complicated Health & Safety precautions. It means I have the time to keep reworking and biting the plate, without counting the hours of studio time. I've also recently discovered the joys of stone lithography in a nearby studio, where I hope to develop my work in a new direction.
What prompted you to take part in the International Print Exchange?
Print exchanges are a great opportunity to share what we're all doing, and the IPE is one of the very best.
What is your favourite colour?
The one I'm using at that particular time.
What is your favourite paper and ink?
Fabriano Rosapina suits my current work, and Intaglio Printmakers' Etching inks
What kind of music do you listen to whilst printmaking?
Classical BBC Radio 3 or, if it gets a bit too heavy and operatic, a collection of classical CDs. (However, I'm a keen blues, soul and rock fan outside the studio!)
Who is your favourite printmaker?
Impossible to name just one. John Piper for his images and composition, Norman Ackroyd for his skill and mastery, Hughie O'Donoghue for his power and mystery.