"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.

Monday, 31 August 2009

More Holiday Pictures

Robin singing from the cottage garden. Pencil.

Another quick two minute sketch in my small sketchbook. Landscape seen from a pub carpark just outside St Clears. Watercolour.

Dryslwyn Castle. Watercolour.

Red Kite mobbed by a Carrion Crow. Pen and Ink.

The view across the Towy Valley to Llanstephan Castle from Ferryside. Watercolour.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

More from the Towy Valley

Painted Lady Butterfly. Watercolour. A very worn and washed out looking individual with pale colouration.

This was a family holiday so drawing and birding had to be fitted in as opportunity allowed. Much of the work was done in the early mornings or evenings.

Buzzard. Pen and Ink.

Raven perched in the top of a dead tree in the field across the road from the cottage. Pen and Ink.

Immature Peregrine Falcon circling over Dryslwyn. Pen and Ink.

The road to Dryslwyn Castle. Watercolour and Pencil.
I keep a small A6 sized sketchbook in the car which is small enough to slip into my back pocket when we are out. It comes in handy when waiting around outside shops or sat waiting in carparks. This drawing was done in about two minutes and the watercolour put on later in pretty much the same time.

Dryslwyn and the Towy Valley

Paxtons Folly from Dryslwyn. Watercolour. Sketched in a light drizzle which accounts for the funny blotches in the sky.

We have just got back from a week long holiday in the Towy Valley near Carmarthen in West Wales. An area I know well as I spent my student days here. This was my first visit back in over ten years but the landscape is still very much as I remembered it. We travelled down through the hills and valleys of Mid Wales in glorious sunshine and then woke on the first morning to a day of rain.

The view from the kitchen window of our cottage. Drawn at 7pm in the evening after the day long rain finally stopped. Watercolour.

The second day broke with better weather and these Ravens tumbling a welcome in the sky over the cottage. Pen and Ink.

Red Kite. Pen and Ink.
Drawings of a bird watched sailing slowly over the village of Pontargothi.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Southerness Lighthouse - Linocut

Southerness Lighthouse. 6 Colour reduction Linocut. 257mm x 170mm. Edition of 5

Got the final colour printed, although lost three prints along the journey. Two of them through sloppiness on my part in positioning the paper in the registration marks before printing. With the third print I got distracted and left the paper on the inked block too long and ended up sticking it to the lino! I did cheat with the railings though and brushed them in afterwards with a No 1 watercolour brush.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Fourth and Fifth Colours

Managed to get the fourth and fifth colours down fairly quickly. Firstly a grey brown colour for the wet sand left by the waves and then a dark brown for the rocks below the Lighthouse. Only black to go now.

Friday, 14 August 2009

So Far So Good

Printed the third colour and I am now ready to cut the block for the next colour. Originally this was intended to be a dark brown followed by black. However, looking at this print, I want to more clearly define the area of wet sand left by the receding waves. So I will print an extra colour in this area before moving on to print the rocks on which the Lighthouse stands.

Tonight is the preview night for the Batley Open Show at Batley Art Gallery. I have had two prints accepted for this exhibition which runs from 15th August until 16th September.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Second Colour

Got the second colour printed, and the image is now begining to take shape. The third colour, a pale blue should follow fairly quickly as there isn't much of the block to carve away before I can print it.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Linocut Step by Step. First Colour.

I know it doesn't look much at the moment, but I thought it might be interesting to show the development of a linocut from the first to the last colour. Although if things start going pear-shaped half way through it might get a bit embarassing, anyway here goes.
Using the painting of Southerness Lighthouse posted earlier as a starting point. I've drawn out the design, reversed it on the Lino block and then cut away all the areas I want to remain white. I've then printed the first colour; a very pale cream. There are similarities in making a linocut with painting a watercolour. Both involve the simplification of colour and tonal masses, and both work from light to dark using the white of the paper for the highlights.
At this stage the plan is to use five colours; the cream already printed, a cool grey, blue, dark brown and finally black. Although this may change if I think the design needs additional colours or tones.
As I hand print using a baren I keep my editions fairly small, usually between 5 and 10 copies. The exact number being determined by how much of the first colour I mix up and how many prints I can get out of it. I find it hard to make up a second batch of colour exactly the same as the first so however many prints the first mix lasts for is the initial number of the edition. As things progress, if all goes well, all the prints will come out, but accidents happen, this isn't a mechanical process and usually the final edition is a few copies short of the number of prints in the first batch. So this cream colour lasted for 8 prints.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Following the Muse

Peregrine Falcon. Pen and Ink Scraperboard. 105mm x 145mm

Dipper. Pen and Ink Scraperboard. 63mm x 82mm.

Stoat. Pen and Ink Scraperboard. 95mm x 85mm

Hare. Pen and Ink Scraperboard. 150mm x 110mm.

While I am happy to follow my muse wherever she goes in terms of subject matter and medium. Looking back at my recent posts there is not a lot of wildlife content among them. So having got these drawings out to mount up and frame, I thought I would post them to go some way to restoring the wildlife balance.
The drawings were originally done for a variety of projects; the Dipper is the oldest having been done around ten years ago as my entry to a British Birds Bird Illustrator of the Year competition, the others are all more recent. The Peregrine and Stoat I did for a proposed book of my own on wildlife in the Yorkshire Dales which never got any further than the planning stage in my head.