Paul Furneaux RSA: Japenese Woodblock Prints on Paper

RSA Friends Room


“The black and white works in this exhibition combine relatively new technology in printing and ancient Japanese traditional techniques. In the works I have manipulated photographs on the computer and printed them with an ink jet printer. These have been overprinted /supplemented using techniques involving printing with water-based pigments. In this case with watercolour or black sumi ink. These techniques I learnt while studying in Japan.


The coloured prints utilise both the soft subtle effects of printing with watercolour and gouache and also the rich vibrant effects achieved by saturating the Japanese papers which I use. In this case, I also use pigment colour mixed with a binder of gum arabic. This can be printed by hand with the aid of a “baren” (handheld disc wrapped in a bamboo leaf, or ball-bearing baren) forcing the colour deep into the paper which helps to give the rich glowing effects.


Currently one of the influences on my work has been gardens, but not so much in a pictorial sense so much as more in a semi abstract way. I am not trying to make a picture of flowers in a garden or even a sand raked or stone garden but trying to re-create the initial impulse to make these works. It is often the interplay of light and shadow or the way one interlocking shape works with another that I want to turn into an object of contemplation. This may also at times be something like the bark of a tree or lichen found on a rock.


Slowly, or occasionally rapidly, another subject will begin to be investigated but, in general, by reducing imagery I want to focus on the inherent beauty of the Japanese woodblock print.”


Paul Furneaux RSA

Paul Furneaux is an Edinburgh based printmaker, previous RSA Salvesen Scholar and recently elected RSA Academician. Tragically in 2002 he lost his entire livelihood in the Cowgate fire and since then, Paul has worked hard to re-establish himself as one of only a few artists in Scotland who work with the traditional Japanese woodblock technique. The RSA are delighted to present his work in this exhibition and warmly welcome him as a new RSA member.