Florence Harrison.com

Others have recorded their own opinions of Florence Harrison's style and methods. Each has its own merit, but as far as I am concerned, what set her apart from her contemporaries was her technique of using well-defined outlines of each object or individual, with washes of coloured inks or watercolour built-up in layers, to create a stained-glass effect and a luminosity of jewel-like colours.

As an example, one can clearly appreciate the enchanting effects she creates in portraying drapery or other fabrics, utilising the transparencies in a colour wash to develop depth, which contrasts with the sponge blotting method used in many of her backgrounds. A fine sponge gave her best results.

The multitude of whimsical black and white images she produced over the years and which frequently accompany the more visible and flamboyant coloured portrayals, clearly demonstrate her technique of using a wide variety of different line patterns to create texture and perspective throughout the drawing or monoprints and give her work a character all of its own.

Line and wash techniques can vary enormously, but the method that Florence used was to lightly put down a pencil sketch to establish the basic composition. This was then worked over in pen, using a water-proof black ink, to produce a more detailed account of the pencil sketch underneath.



When the ink was quite dry, she erased all traces of pencil. At this point, the pen was laid aside and a series of washes were laid down over the ink drawing, either in diluted black and coloured inks, or in watercolour. When this tonal work was complete, the pen was re-employed to build up areas of detail and to strengthen contrast as needed.


Apart from the everyday use of blotting paper to protect and dry off ink work, it sometimes has a more directly creative function. As with the line and wash method, many variants of blotting are used, though the essential aim is the same. This is to achieve rich tonalities through successive washes of inks, exploiting the natural qualities of the medium and the paper itself.


In her line and crosshatch work she would simply criss-cross the pen lines to build up the initial tone and texture. The drawn lines themselves were sometimes mechanically straight or occasionally broken, wavy and uneven. Successive layers of lateral and diagonal lines were then laid on to become progressively denser until solid black was arrived at.


In her later work, she employed a stippling method, particularly in her illustrations for religious bodies which emphasised the need for somewhat starker and less decorative images.