As Flora McLachlan works on her pictures, she wants to evoke a single charmed moment out of time, a magical vision that stills. The scene is our ancient and enchanted landscape, roamed by guardian spirit-like animals, shadowed by woods where the holly springs green amongst the bare oaks and beeches.
She is inspired by the quests of medieval romance poetry – the idea of venturing forth into the wild world of trees and thorns, searching for a glimpse of the white hart.
Etching is the ideal medium for Flora’s purpose, with its mysterious blacks and glowing, darkened whites. She bites heavy, time-worn textures into her plates using soft ground, either making shadowy layered transfer drawings with soft pencils, or printing into the ground with cut, carved and scored collagraph plates, to give the feeling of an old woodcut. Then she likes to scrape and burnish the light back in. Painting cloudy washes of spit bite aquatint over the image brings it to life, gives it weather, frees the waters. Her images look like a weathered relic from the distant past, briefly come alive for us to see.
Born in 1974, Flora was elected to Associate membership of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (RE) in 2008, and became a Fellow in 2013. She is now establishing a print workshop of my own in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, on the edge of a wild and scented moor, surrounded by lichened trees.