"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, 29 December 2010

Next Two Colours

The first, a light blue for the sky, water and shadowed areas of the birds white plumage.

The next a blue green for the background hillside and the ripples on the foreground water.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Last job of this year or first of the new

Putting aside the Trawler print temporarily, I've begun work on my redesigned cover for the Huddersfield Bird Report. Delivery promised for the first week of January. No pressure then!! This needs to go better than my last couple of prints have.

First colour down is a darkish cream for the clouds, followed by a rather garish pink which will only show in three areas of the print; the birds beak, a ring around its eye and its legs and feet.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Rosehips in the Snow

We woke up on Saturday to another fall of snow, the second heavy fall in as many weeks. So appropriately enough the garden is looking like a Christmas card scene.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Eyemouth Trawler Colours 4 and 5

Two more colours down, the first a brown grey colour for some areas of the decking and the edge of the harbour wall in the foreground.

Next was a mid blue tone which will be the main tone for the water down the left side of the print.
On Friday we travelled over to Doncaster to collect the unsold pieces from the Open Art Exhibition. Of the three pieces exhibited one of them sold, so a big thank you to the purchaser if you are reading this. And I hope the print brings you as much pleasure as making it gave me. On Friday evening we attended the preview of the Batley Art Gallery Open Exhibition (two pieces hung), which due to the 'bad weather' had been postponed from the previous week. This is a very good exhibition with a very high standard of work selected and well worth visiting if you are in the area.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Ilkley Arts Market

I will be at Ilkley Arts Market this coming Saturday with a selection of work for sale. Not just linoprints but also a selection of illustrations and packs of ex-libris bookplates. Much of the work is unframed but I will also be taking a few framed paintings and linocuts. Prices range from a few pounds for the bookplates to £140 for a framed acrylic painting. Entry to the market is free so if you are in the area on Saturday please call in for a chat, or even pick up an original art work for a Christmas present.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Eyemouth Trawler, Colours 2 and 3

Printed the second blue colour and then a light brown colour. This colour will not show much on the finished print other than on the timber edge to the harbour wall in the foreground. The blue colour was a complete accident. I had intended mixing a different tone but when this colour appeared on the mixing glass I decided to use it instead. It means adjusting the tones of the other colours to follow so as to maintain the colour harmony. And the print will look different to how I intended but there is nothing new about that!

Looking at this line of prints hanging to dry, I think its about time I invested some time and effort in making a more hi-tech drying rack.

Batley Open Art Exhibition 2010

I have two Linocuts on show at the Batley Art Gallery Open Exhibition. The preview should have been last friday evening. However, this was postponed due to the recent bad weather, and will now be held on Friday 10th December.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Starting a New Print

I haven't quite finished with the report illustrations yet, and following the demise of the Kingfisher print I need to come up with a new cover design. So Christmas could be a bit busy this year as I promised they would be ready for the first week in January! However, on the basis that a change is as good as a rest, the illustrations have been temporarily put to one side and a new print started. The third of the trilogy of prints that I intend submitting to the Ferens Open Exhibition in the New Year. Even at this early stage the subject matter is already becoming apparent with this print.
I also need to spend some time this week preparing work for the forthcoming Ilkley Arts Market. Prints have to be mounted, cards printed and ex-libris bookplates trimed to size and packaged. Its important work and needs to be done but I always feel guilty spending time doing this rather than producing work.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Plodding On

Two more finished illustrations, both drawn in my usual pencil and ink wash.

Had fun with this although I'm not sure that the stream works in monochrome. Its hard to get the feeling of looking down through the ripples to the stream bed. I've painted watercolours like this and its easier to suggest the different planes of view using colour.

Ringed Plover
Just a straight forward portrait of the bird perched amongst the rocks on the edge of a moorland reservoir.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Three more Illustrations

Male Whinchat. Pencil and Ink Wash. 90mm x 130mm.

Cuckoo. Pencil and Ink Wash. 90m x 130mm.

Buzzard. Pencil and Ink Wash. 90mm x 130mm.

I have now finished seven of these illustrations, with probably another seven or eight to go plus a cover design.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

More Illustrations

Finished 3 more illustrations this week with another 3 still taped on the drawing board in various stages of finish. Although one of them isn't going too well and may have to be reworked.

Turtle Dove. Pencil and Ink Wash. 130mm x 90mm.

Long Eared Owl. Pencil and Ink Wash. 130mm x 90mm.

Montagu's Harrier (Male). Pencil and Ink Wash. 90mm x 130mm.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Starting a new set of Illustrations

Waxwings. Pencil and Ink Wash. 130mm x 90mm.

The first of this years illustrations for the Huddersfield Bird Club report. This will be the 21st report I have illustrated.

The drawing is based on a set of sketches that I did a couple of years ago of a small flock that frequented local gardens. This could be a good year for Waxwings as there are already reports of birds in the Halifax area, although I haven't heard of any in the Huddersfield recording area yet.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Malham Cove - Revisited

Malham Cove. Single colour Linocut. 120mm x 178mm.

Whilst mulling over the demise of the Kingfisher print and plotting my next move towards its resurrection (or not). I carved this small print based on my larger Sunlight and Shadows at Malham Cove print.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Doncaster Open Art Exhibition 2010

I have had three Linocut Prints accepted for the Open Art Exhibition at Doncaster Art Gallery. The prints accepted are; Sunlight and Shadows-Malham Cove, The Keep at Conisborough Castle and SH218 on the coble landing-Filey.

The exhibition runs from 23rd October until 4th December 2010.Further details can be found at www.doncaster.gov.uk/museums

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Messed Up !!!

Really messed up with this one, I wasn't going to post this stage of the print, hoping that it would quietly fade away. However, in the spirit of total transparency lets show the failures as well as the successes.

There are two further colours printed on this, a dark blue which is the cause of all the trouble as I printed it far too dark. And a dark green which is the tone I wanted, but isn't sufficently different from the dark blue. This wouldn't be too much of a problem if I was using different blocks for each colour, but this is a reduction print so bridges have been burnt.

Back to the drawing board!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Next three colours

Work has progressed faster than anticipated so I have the next three colours printed. A first pale chestnut colour.
and then a darker one for the shaded areas on the birds underparts.

before the second green colour is printed to establish the main areas of the foliage.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Kingfisher First Colours

Printed the first colour and for once got the colour and tone exactly as I wanted it. The only problem being that the drawing on the block has transferred through to the print. So much for indelible markers!
Second colour down and the marker pen is starting to disappear.

Third colour and progress will start to slow down now as the cutting gets a bit complicated.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Working Drawings

For my next project I have gone back to some field sketches I did around 8 years ago of a Kingfisher beside the River Calder.

Kingfisher. River Calder at Brookfoot. 17th July 2002. Pen and Ink.

Kingfisher. River Calder at Brookfoot. 17th July 2002. Pen and Ink.

Kingfisher. River Calder at Brookfoot. 17th July 2010. Pen and Ink.

Then started to work around some compositions and colour separations. This is intended to be a bird report cover, so I want to balance accuracy with a prominent design.

From the thumbnail sketches I draw a full size cartoon before transferring it to the linoblock. Although at this stage I still haven't settled on the exact colour values for the vegetation around the bird.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Conisborough Castle

The Keep - Conisborough Castle.
9 colour reduction linocut.
270mm x 180mm.

Finally finished the latest linocut of one of Yorkshires most impressive castles. On the whole I'm quite pleased with how this eventually turned out. Even if it isn't quite how it was originally intended. But thats what drives the creative process - always chasing that elusive perfect masterpiece.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Colour 8

Printed anothe area of dark green, and having resisted the temptation to add another colour there is just the final dark to print now.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Back on track

Printed the next green, a darker shade and I'm happier now about how the print is going. Not sure what to do next though. I should finish it in two more colours but the temptation to add a third is lurking just around the corner.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

A bit more progress

Colour 6 and I'm still not happy about that green!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Losing the plot

Back to printing. Its been over a week since I last worked on this, a much longer interuption than I would like. It can be hard to pick up the thread again without losing the direction of the work.

Anyway onto colour 4 - the first green.

.... and then a warm brown colour, which has made the green look a bit lurid. Hopefully the next colours will calm this down a bit!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

A Break in Dumfries and Galloway

Just got back from a short break visiting my brother in Scotland. Had five days of really good weather.

27th August.
The view across the rooftops towards Frenchlands Tower. Moffat, Annandale.

28th August. Another view across the Moffat rooftops, looking towards Hunterheck Hill.

....and below a real surprise.

An Otter hunting in the River Nith below the weir in central Dumfries. After walking round the town we were going back to the car and stopped beside the river to see if any Salmon were jumping. This otter appeared below the weir and gradually moved closer to us. As usual in such a situation- no camera, paper or pencils. We watched it for about ten minutes then I decided to go to the car for a sketchbook. It took me another ten minutes to get back to find it still there although it gradually made its way up the fish ladder and onto the weir before swimming upstream in the deeper water above the weir. These drawings were made on the spot, the watercolour was added later, more to 'fix' the drawing than anything else.

28th August.
Looking west across the Annan Valley from Moffat towards Queensbury.

29th August
The same hill from Roberts garden. 1900hrs.

31st Auugust
Jackdaws mutual preening.

30th August
St Marys Loch.

31st August
Loch of the Lowes

Sunday, 22 August 2010

A mixed bag this week

Quite a bit of news to post this week. Firstly the latest copy of the Huddersfield Bird Report has been published and is now available to buy. Details can be found by following the link to the Huddersfield Birdwatchers Club on the right.

Following on from the previous post regarding bookplates, I used one of my recent holiday sketches and produced this scraperboard drawing of Lindisfarne Castle. Which should fit the bill for a bookplate design for an old friend from Northumbria now living in the West Country.

And now on to the next Linocut. I'm not going to reveal the subject just yet, for anyone familiar with the history of Yorkshire the identity of the castle should become apparent quite quickly. So here we have the first colour, as usual darker than I intended. I really struggle to get the tone right on the first colour!

The second colour goes down and now I'm a bit happier about the tone of the first colour.

Third colour down and I can move on to the foreground.