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Behind the print: "The Power of Three"

Laura Reiter’s vibrant screenprints explore colour, layers and motifs. Her spontaneous approach means she is always responding to the last brushstroke or colour – and if mistakes happen, they become opportunities. She talks about making “The Power of Three”, which has kickstarted a whole new strand of work.

A colourful screenprint in turquoise, grey, teal and yellow with a purple pansy-like flower slightly the to left of centre
"The Power of Three", screenprint by Laura Reiter (edition)
A turquoise, grey, gold and pink abstract print with a large sketchy flower motif and small pink petals like cherry blossom
"Raining Pink Petals", by Laura Reiter, a monoprint based on "The Power of Three"
An abstract screenprint of two large flowers in purple and grey overlaid with layers of turquoise and yellow with a grey background
"Double Take", by Laura Reiter, a monoprint based on "The Power of Three"

“The Power of Three” is a small edition that you have developed into few separate screenprint/monoprint pieces as well. Is that something you’re going to continue to do in future?

I normally do quite small editions of six to ten. This was going to be an edition of six, but because of the complexity and many layers I made a mistake on two of the prints. I could probably have corrected it, but I decided to develop these two as monoprints instead, which I found quite exciting and I really like the results. So it was a happy accident, and it also reminded me I used to do this a long time ago and had forgotten. I’m already working on a smaller print in this way.

How did the idea for these prints develop?

I started these prints with mark-making and abstract organic shapes, developing them like monochrome paintings. It felt free to do this – locating my inner abstract painter self! I was prepared to see what would happen once I started to print. I often start my print/painting journeys like this. I find it an exciting way to begin.

This is the first time for a very long time that I’ve worked in a larger format, which has been quite freeing. I finally have the opportunity to prepare my screens easily with drawn and painted stencils again. My previous studio closed down and I was searching for a new one, so I had to work with mostly cut stencils for a while.

The title “Power of Three” came to me at the end when I noticed three repetitions of shapes throughout the picture.

An abstract print inspired by woods, with overlaid shapes of blue tree trunks, pink petals, green lines and a yellow and turquoise background
"Wood Walk", screenprint by Laura Reiter

You work in layers and build up this incredible mix of the bold and the delicate in your work.

I love working in layers, playing with colour and seeing – and often not knowing – what colours will be produced. I never plan or sketch out a print first. I like to work organically, responding and making decisions according to the last mark or colour made. I find this keeps the energy going, and I quite like the danger of not knowing what will happen. I like to develop the different spaces on the picture plane, and often the different spaces are quite ‘squashed’ – flattening them all down with opaque marks on the very top.

Neon pink abstract pink with shapes of pale green, orange and neon red
"Glow", screenprint by Laura Reiter

Your use of colour is beautiful. Is that coming from your painting background?

My use of colour does I think, come from my painting and my excitement at all things colour. I don’t really know what will happen, except from experience, and will continue according to what happens. I studied with an amazing watercolour teacher many years ago and I’m sure this experience helps my colour choices.

A pale tree and house float in this abstract print with a bright pink background and yellow and teal accents
"Ghost House, Ghost Tree", screenprint by Laura Reiter

You often use symbols in your work. Do they have particular personal significance to you, or is it more about the visual aesthetic?

I do like symbols. I don’t think they are particularly personally significant – rather to tell a story.

An abstract print of drawn colourful flowers and a blue photograph-like building
"Blue City and Flowers", screenprint by Laura Reiter

You were saying that your work is about atmosphere, and also about place to a certain extent. Is it about creating a particular mood with the print?

I like to create atmospheres using the density and/or delicacy of layers and colour. This tends to happen organically. I think it’s often my response to the print as it goes along and what it feels like. I think I am very much a ‘maker’ – letting the work make a journey, which I sometimes control and sometimes not.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on two strands of ideas. The first is my series, ‘Flowers and the ….’, which juxtaposes the city and the natural environment. But as a result of the “The Power of Three” prints and monoprints, I am also excited to explore the idea of ‘there but not there’, using many layers to hide and reveal the image.

Laura’s featured artist show continues until July 16, and her vibrant prints are available in the gallery and in our online shop all year round. For more information, see her artist’s page and her website.

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