"The artist...is also a born adventurer. His explorations, unlike those of a tourist, are rewarded by the discovery of beauty spots unmentioned in the guide books, and with tireless curiosity and an exceptional proneness to wonderment, he will come upon objects of remarkable interest overlooked or even shunned by more disciplined observers."

Augustus John, R.A.




Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Tynemouth

This is an image that I've been playing around with for the last couple of years. I've already tried to make a linocut of it twice and failed, so now I'm trying a mezzotint. Grounding of the plate began in early April and took a couple of weeks work. Since then I've been working on the plate intermittently between printing linocut editions.


Starting from a tonal pencil drawing taken from my original pen field sketch. I scanned the sketch and printed it off in reverse (above). From this I began working on the plate. Gradually scraping away the ground to reveal the lighter areas.






1st state impression. This proof reveals the basic image although one with much work still to do. Overall it is still very dark. The breakers and beach need much more work as does the cloudscape above the castle.


After a bit more scraping and burnishing I took another impression. Already there is a big difference from the 1st impression but there is still much to do. Gradually though the image is starting to come together. The waves breaking on the beach need to be better defined but I'm pleased with the way it is going.

Curlew


Song of the Moors
8 colour reduction linocut
Edition of 10
190mm x 170mm

With the addition of a last dark blue grey I finally finished the curlew print. I'm pleased with how this print has turned out. Hopefully with just a limited palette and a simple composition I've managed to convey something of the atmosphere of a northern moorland spring.

The print has now been listed on my Folksy shop and can be found here

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Curlew print - next colours



Next couple of colours on the curlew print, a mid  brown and darker blue grey. A final dark brow will see it finished.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Curlew - First stages

Started on a new lino print, originally intending it to be of two curlews but after some preliminary juggling around decided to leave the second bird out.




After cutting out the white areas, the first colour above, is a blend of 3 pale greys working from top to bottom.


Next much of the cloud surrounding the bird is cut away and the block inked with a pale yellow brown.


Colour 3 is a pale blue. I thought a lot about how to do this. Initially I was going to do it as a blue to pale blue grey blend as I needed the lower part of the print to look as if it was receding into the distance. In the end I decided on using a flat blue colour, relying on the greys of the cloud in the lower half to shift the appearance of the blue there making it look less bright than in the top half where it sits alongside the white of the paper.


Colour 4. With the sky finished all that remains on the block is the shape of the bird, this is inked in a darker version of the first brown colour.


Colour 5. A darker blue completes the shadows under the birds wing. Should be finished after another couple of colours. Hopefully in time for the Art Market at Holmfirth next weekend. If not it will be finished for the Sheffield Print Fair in July.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Latest works

Been a bit quiet on the posting front  lately but here is a selection of the finished and works in progress so far.


Pendragon Castle, Mallerstang.
Reduction Linocut. 
18 colours printed in 9 stages
Edition of 10



Mezzotint plate in progress. I've been working on this plate on and off since the end of April. I think I've gone as far as I can now and need to take a print from it, to see if what I think is on the plate, translates on to paper. Once I have an impression taken I'll be able to see which areas need further work.


1st stage of a new linocut, a 3 colour blend from top to bottom of warm and cool grey through to a darker warm grey.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

South Stack Lighthouse

Another linocut step by step, after doing wildlife subjects for the last couple of prints it's back to a straight forward landscape. Although as things turned out this was far from straightforward.

Step 1.

The areas to remain white are cut away from the block and a blend of warm grey to light blue rolled on the block and printed.




Step 2.

Another blended roll this time adding a light green to the bottom, then the warm grey and finally the blue at the top this time.



Step 3

A blend of 3 blues, sky blue at the top through to a greenish blue for the sea.



Step 4

A slightly darker version of the initial warm grey colour. Inked on to land areas of the print only.




Step 5

A pale green, again applied selectively to the block.


Step 6.

Another blend of blues.




Step 7

Now to add some details into the cliffs. Another darker version of the first warm grey colour with the addition of a little brown.




Step 8

Another darker blue to finish off the sea and add shadows onto the cliff face.



Step 9

The final dark -  made from the blue used above with the addition of a little purple.



and the finished print.

South Stack - Anglesey
Reduction Linocut
240mm x 360mm
Edition of 4

Really pleased with this print but it's execution turned out to be something of a disaster and at one point I didn't think I was going to get any use able prints at all. The 100lbs cartridge paper  I print on can usually be relied upon to stay flat throughout the printing process. This time, for reasons I can't explain it began to cockle after the second printing stage and by the fourth stage was becoming very difficult to use, causing real problems with the registration. In the end from an initial 10 impressions taken of the first colour I've finished with only 4 saleable prints.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Fishy Prints

Following on from a recent small print I made of a Brown Trout rising to take a fly. Which, when I posted it on the excellent Linocut Friends facebook page, created quite a lot of interest in how it had been made. I promised to do another and show all the step by step stages. So here it is:

This is my working drawing with all the elements drawn out and the pattern of ripples determined. Like any representational image the basic problem is to give the illusion of depth. Although unlike a landscape, where you only really have to be concerned with the depth from the foreground to the horizon. With this print I want to give the illusion of not only the water surface going away from the viewer, but also the depth of water below the surface and then getting deeper as the river bed drops away beyond the fish.


Step 1.


There is only one spot of pure white in this print, where the fish just breaks the surface of the water. So a small piece of lino is cut out and the block inked up in a pale yellow colour and printed as below.


Step 2.


Some more small marks are made in the lino to represent small paler pebbles on the river bed. At this stage because the initial colours are pale and I don't want to risk the drawing offsetting on to the print. I am only drawing on to the block the areas that I am removing. Once all the marks that I want have been cut away I ink up in a pale blue.


and print as below.


Step 3.

The pale blue represents the paler ripples moving across the water surface. So these are now cut away from the block and the shape of the fish drawn on.


I mix up three colours, a pale yellowish grey, an orange and a pale purplish grey and using a brush carefully paint the ink onto the block to give me the basic body colour of the fish.



Although this stage is essentially a monoprint, with care it is possible to get a consistent result across the edition of 10 prints.


Step 4.


With the body colour of the fish defined I cut out a lot of the paler areas from its body leaving just the darker bits on its upper surface. I mix up a blend of yellow through orange and brown to a slightly darker blue than that used previously. This is going to put down the base colour for the river bed, some details on the fish's body and finish off the water surface in one go. (The size of the image at 240mm high was determined by the size of my largest roller, as I need this blended roll to cover the whole block in one go).



From now on it's just a matter of gradually darkening the oranges and browns to complete the details in the  print.

Step 5.



After cutting out some pebble shapes a three colour blend of copper through brown to blue grey is rolled on the block and printed.


And the print starts to emerge.


Step 6.


 More cutting away of pebble shapes and spots on the fish's body and the block is inked with a dark purple grey colour. This was intended to be the final colour but looking at the print I wasn't happy with abrubt end to the pebbles. I wanted to give the impression of them fading out of view into the deeper water but this colour has made them too dark in contrast to the water colour.

Step 7.

As a fix, I mix up a blend of a dark purple grey fading to pale blue and ink up the block again.



and the final print.