Wood lithography

landscape 1mcue catherine Steel Landscape 2019mccue_catherine_steel landscape

Catherine Mc Cue

One hundred and thirty kilometers from Eronmanga, south west of Queensland is a gas plant, where working as an artist in residence I was free to explore the landscape in and around the plant.

My main interest was in the visual contamination of the surrounding landscape.

The images produced use techniques such as mokulito, ‘wood lithography’, monoprint and digitally altered photography. Steel Landscape depicts the harsh landscape that surrounds the plant, the work focuses on the disused material from the plant, now embedded in the dry earth, which in a way has become an accidental sculptural form.



Another two plate wood lithograph, this image was processed using gum only, left to dry for three days, the results where very good when compared with the first image which was etched using gum acid mix on a pre milked sanded board. The other aspect of this process is the cutting out of areas of the plywood to create a white areas, which I liked.

It has been  an interesting start to the new year, been busy trying out different techniques for wood lithography and I am seeing some great works being created. The work so far are based on the Girls Own series started in 2018, the first imaged produced using Mokulito is inspired by Harriet, an antislavery campaigner and Clara, who is said to have created the Red Cross association. Both works have been produced by using Luna wood, two plates each and added chine collie. Some where printed as single plate edition and the other as a two plate colour run. The  total number produced  for both plates is 30, but it would have been possible to produce more from the plates.
First Printing
Harriet was the first plate, lightly sanded, drawing on the plate using traditional lithographic material, and tusche, using wood carving tools, some areas where cut out. The plate was covered in liquid gum and allowed to dry for serval days. The gum was washed out, and plate rolled up using two colours on two sponges rollers using lithographic ink, the ink was quite loose but added a little plate oil, I also found that sponging the plate between rolling was too messy so reverted to just using a spray bottle between rolling. Different printmaking papers where used also wet and dry paper, I decided on dry smooth paper, BBK Rives and ran the edition, an extra 5 works were produced for the chine collie.
When dry, these first prints where  used on top of plate number two, this key plate was produced much the same way as the above with the exception of only using black ink. The ink  I tried was lithographic, but found it too stiff so used Aqua Black an etching ink with a little easy wipe, the studio was warm so the ink was loose, also reverted back to a large rubber roller which left no roller marks, some scumming did occur around the edges, this was wiped away using a small sponge. As with plate number one I used a spray bottle between rolls being careful not to make the plate too wet.


Mokulito, wood lithography, Harriet, Clara, and Joan

As with the other works, Joan has been produced using Luna wood, sanded, but also given a wash of goats milk with a little cloudy ammonia added, allowed to dry, drawing with  the usual litho materials and washes and some cutting into the wood to add texture. This time I added a little nitric  to my gum, 3 drops and worked on the plate as  I would for stone lithography, the plate was allowed to dry for three days and printed in the same manner as the first two works. The results as far as I can see is less of the wood grain printing up, due to the binding of the milk on the plate and  a much larger edition. I personally love the grain so might try a different approach for the next work.

The Making of an artist book, ‘War Games’


Catherine Mc Cue, Artist Statement WAR Games 2016

Its strange how first encounters stay with you forever. As a young girl growing up in a family with little interest in the arts my first encounter with images came from my magic lantern slides given to me by my grandmother. The slides where such a rich source of imagery and topics that I enjoyed them still.
War Pig
War Games, for children is one such set of slides, re invented and created as a boxed set,  complete with artist book and contemporary slides.  Materials used include, solar plate etching, embossed linocut, collage slides and text.

First I started to redraw the images to set the scale and size I needed for the slides, these will be re worked  and printed onto clear film, then mounted and framed.

When happy,  I reworked the images using Photoshop, to add  textured and noise.  As these would be printed out as transparencies the correct size for the solar plates, it was important to consider that line work was well defined to be used with solar plate.
Once printed, the transparencies  are placed onto the solar plate and exposed for 3 minutes.
Inked up and ready to print in the usual way, intaglio, three at a time.
The Finished prints, printed in a soft blue.

Next, make the book covers, as the solar book is an pull out  style, the two sections are joined together to make up the five images complete with cover pages.

Make the box that will hold all the components together and present and protect the work.
Adding paper elements from an original book on WAR
Finishing off the slides and framing them.

Adding the blind embossed linocut image to the inside of the box, and we are finished.


Book As Art by Copper +Spowart


BOOKS AS ART: 30 YEARS IN THE MAKING by Catherine McCue Boes

Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery – 14 May – June 29, 2014


An observation of artists and artmaking in the regions…


Artmaking and artists from the regions are constantly sidelined by the power of proximity that pervades these ‘blessed’ centres of art and culture. People who make ‘real art’, it seems, come from places where populations are concentrated, like ‘big cities’ or localities where a place of learning (university) or an uber vibrant arts community exists. In Australia the place names of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart and perhaps Bris-vey-gas, are part of a roll call of significantly charged places for artmaking, presentation, commentary and critique. *[Note: artists’ books have a wider community of practice that is more inclusive due to the fact that regional centres tend to present events, awards and workshops that bring the city and…

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