James Mundie

'Uccello's Mount'

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Artist's comments ...

I approached this print in a slightly different manner than usual. Normally, I tend to sketch out several versions of a possible print before I commence drawing the 'final' design onto the board itself. This time, I treated the board like my sketchbook, 'drew' with the blade, and allowed the final print to retain some of that 'sketch' quality in the end.

The inspiration for this print comes from the works of Paolo Uccello (1397-1475), an Italian painter of unique style and vision. I have always particularly admired the way Uccello rendered horses -- giant handsome sturdy beasts with enormous spherical buttocks. Uccello's white horses in particular have the look of splendid confectionery. For my little homage here, I wanted to keep the focus on pattern and still give the impression that the horse might be composed of white chocolate. For that reason I decided not to model the forms as I usually would and just let the whiteness of the horse stand alone. To give a sense of space, a Renaissance flavor and as a reference to Uccello's rigid perspective patterns I added a chequered floor. This has the added bonus of adding a bit of mystery to the image ("Why is that horse in the banquet hall?!"). In keeping with the sketch quality of the image, I allowed the planning lines of the floor to remain. For a bit of variety, I scratched in some texture -- roughly for the floor, a bit more refined for the saddle and reins.

When I pulled my first proof, I rolled up the board so that the background was a deep rich black. With the strong patterning in the composition, this solid black caused the form of the horse to visually "jump" in a way I found displeasing. So, I decided the image was better suited by giving the background less ink and creating a more atmospheric look. The contrast is less stark and allows the warm color of the paper to come through.

At some point in the future, I may revisit this design. There are areas I think that could be refined. I'd also like to introduce some of that trademark Uccello red; but for now, I am satisfied with this 'sketch'.

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