Sally Anne Morgan – Printer and pastellist

Can you tell us about yourself and your background as an artist/maker?

In 2012 I decided to use more of my time for making art. After a varied career across different areas of life I felt it was time to use and develop innate talents. To make sure my work matured I focused just on two medium - printmaking and working with pastel. My confidence, and some success, have grown incrementally over the years and now my biggest joy is being able to teach others how to print and obviously exhibiting and selling some work! It was taking part in Worcestershire Open Studios in 2015 that changed how I was seen and how I saw myself and my creative work has grown since then.

As I walked down to Zennor Cove

Tell us a bit about your creative process.

Printmaking could be seen as my prime creative process, particularly that of reduction printing with lino. There is something so tactile and sculptural about this art form. For me it is very process driven - there is a beginning and an end and this 'end' is something that needs to be known in advance - the number of prints to be made, their size etc.

The process then begins with the creation of a design which needs transferring to the lino block; cuts of the right depth and style need to be cut, paper prepared, ink to be mixed and rolled (in just the right consistency of ink); then the pressing of block into paper. The next stage is magic - the reveal, when the paper is pulled back and the first pass of the image seen. It is when people go Wow! That is the exciting stage.

Making work from pastels is very different. I do plan but I work from a sketch, usually from a day's plein-air sketching. I don't copy the colours from this sketch and I apply pastel ground liberally without much thought of what will be created. The application of pastel is usually quick with an element of alchemy, so I can often feel a bit tense but conversely excited. The joy is when the work suddenly goes 'ping' and I know I've captured what I want in the picture.

Where you do usually work from?

I work in what was my dining room and is now my 'print room'! It is a beautifully calm room at the front of the house. It is where I store all my materials, including fabric, water colours, pastels as well as printing equipment. I make most of my prints in here except for printing on material when I work on the kitchen at the table and with the ironing board. When I create a pastel piece I work anywhere as I usually have an urge to 'make a pastel' (and in turn make a mess) but the need to respond is more important than worrying about any mess I am making.

Have you developed any unique or unusual techniques in your work?

I don't think I have developed any unique or unusual techniques but I do think I've deepened my skills over time.

Tell us about a favourite piece of work and what it means to you.

I have a number of favourites. My lino favourite is one of Zennor Cove - I feel proud when I look at it. From my pastel work, I'm loving creating my 'Glimpses of Worcestershire'. These are small 10 x 10 cm pieces and I think they reflect how I want my pastel work to look . Some of my favourite pastels are those I have made of my grandchildren.

My most favourite pieces of work, that I would never part with are drawings I made when I was 16, based on the work of W. Heath Robinson - my grandchildren are wowed by them!

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

The prints made by the Grosvenor School of Art and the style of the old railway posters are my inspiration for printmaking. The work of Degas and currently John Tookey inspire my pastel work.

What advice would you have for artists who are just starting out?

I always thought artists were something special, different, high achieving. I now know that lots of people create art for the sheer pleasure of it. I think what makes an 'artist' is someone who strives to create the best they can and improve/develop along the way. If you want to make art, just make it for the joy of it: if you want to be an artist have goals to strive for; challenge yourself; accept criticism; keep learning and make what makes YOU happy not what you think will sell. Be generous with your time and ideas and good things bounce back to you.

If you sell your work, can you tell us more about how you do this?

Worcestershire Open Studios has been my 'in' to selling both art work and workshops. I sell at the yearly event and I recruit workshop students. Over time people have got to know my work and courses and recommend me and/or come back to purchase.

Currently I have set up an on-line shop on my website and an Etsy shop so fingers crossed for sales!

Glimpses of Worcestershire – Hanbury Church

How has lockdown changed your creative process?

Lockdown has enabled me to really get to grips with printing on fabric and creating accessories from them. I've also turned to my pastels more. Strangely enough I haven't made an art print since January. One different thing I am creating is a visual weekly diary of Covid 19 - incorporating what is happening in my domestic world with the broader political picture.

Tell us about any future projects you have planned.

I will continue developing my series 'Glimpses of Worcestershire' - these are 10 x 10 m pastel paintings of key Worcestershire scenes. I also intend to develop my theme of Modernity - I was two pieces in when lockdown happened. I will turn some images from my Covid 19 diary into prints. I also have plans to create small dry-point etchings based around 'comfort' 'contentment'. Watch this space!

See more of Sally’s work on her Worcestershire Artists page.

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