"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.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Finished the Hosho test

2 Colour Reduction Linocut. 180mm x 110mm.

Finished this simple two colour print and I'm really pleased with the Hosho paper. Now to try something a little more demanding.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Changing Paper

Up to now all my linocuts have been printed onto smooth Winsor and Newton Cartridge Paper. The paper is quite heavy and it takes quite a lot of effort to handprint onto it and get good colour saturation. So I finally decided to jump in and ordered a batch of Hosho paper. I didn't want to do anything too complicated as a trial so I drew out a simple two colour design.

The first colour printed; a simple dark to light and back to dark blend. I hadn't realised what a difference changing paper would make. I applied far too much pressure with the baren at first and nearly went through the back of the paper. But I'm really pleased with the way the colour laid.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Recent Sketchbook work

A selection of sketchbook work done over the past week or so.

11/08/2011. 2015pm. Pencil and watercolour. 3 Roe Deer in a cornfield beside the A1 north of Doncaster. Raining and almost dark.
These were seen fleetingly out of the corner of my eye as I was driving. With no chance to stop I drew the sketch from memory and imagination as soon as I got home. Will it have any value or use as a study for a finished piece, probably not but it serves as a record of the scene.

16/08/2011. 0830am. Pen and ink. Looking west across the Annan valley, Moffat. The far hills hidden in the low cloud.
A short break in Dumfries and Galloway, this sketch was made looking out of the window of our room whilst waiting to go for breakfast.

16/08/2011. Rockcliffe on the Solway Coast. 1700pm. Pen and ink.
Looking south west across the bay with the tide ebbing.

16/08/2011. Southerness Lighthouse with the Lake District fells behind. 1855pm. Pen and ink.

Southerness Lighthouse with the Lake District fells behind. Pencil.
Drawn from a slightly closer viewpoint than the previous study.

17/08/2011. Nuthatch. Moffat. 1300pm. Pen and ink.

17/08/2011. Loch of the Lowes. Scottish Borders.Pen and Ink. 1445pm. Overcast sky.
One of my favorite spots, I painted this loch from a slightly different viewpoint in August last year. On 1st January this year I drew this view from almost the same spot with the lake covered in a thick layer of ice.

17/08/2011. Grey Mares Tail Waterfall. Watercolour.
I climbed up to the bottom of the waterfall and started to draw.Then it started to rain, at first a light drizzle which soon got heavier. This started life as a pencil drawing but the paper got too wet and the drawing smudged beyond recognition. To try and salvage something from it I added the watercolour later after I'd dried out the book.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Art in the Pen

Just got back from Art in the Pen this weekend. A very enjoyable experience . For those of you unsure about the set up, this is what you get. The day before I arrived this was full of calves!

This was my first time at this event so I had spent quite a lot of time agonising over how I was going to hang the work. However, with the help of a few cable ties from Poundland the work was soon securely attached to the railings.

With 64 other artists and makers exhibiting there was a very diverse range of styles, techniques and subject matter on display. Although there were only about five other printmakers we all worked in different disciplines so avoided competing with each other. The artist in the next door pen was an etcher which was good,  between us we demonstrated both intaglio and relief printmaking techniques.

The weekend went very well and so I would like to say a big thank you to all the people who came and bought my prints. I had a great time meeting some very interesting people and some very talented artists. Check out the following :

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Art in the Pen Skipton

Off to Skipton tomorrow to set up for Art in the Pen this Weekend. The preview is tomorrow evening from 7pm to 9pm. So if any readers are in the area either tomorrow night or over the weekend then please drop by for a chat. I will have a number of linocuts, both framed and unframed along with watercolours, scraperboards and some pencil and ink wash drawings.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Badger Prints

Finished both of the Badger prints. Both of them have come out ok, but considering it was pretty much an after thought, I am especially pleased with the second one.

Autumn Badger.
7 Colour Reduction Linocut. 120mm x 75mm.

Moonlight Badger.
6 Colour Reduction Linocut. 120mm x 75mm.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

More work on the Badger Prints

 Print 1. Colour 4. A dark russet brown colour for the dead bracken fronds.

 Print 2. Colour 4.
A further dark blue colour.

 Print 1. Colour 5. The final dark grey colour, mainly for the shadowed part of the animals body.

 Print 2. Colour 5. The penultimate colour only one more final dark to go on this print. Print 1 will need a further two colours before it will be finished.

Print 1. Colour 6. A dark brown colour for the earth around the Badger, only the final dark to go now on both prints. Should be finished in time for Art in the Pen on Friday.

Sunday, 7 August 2011


I've not quite given up on the mini print exhibition yet, so I've started another image. I printed this first colour and then had an idea. Inspired by the japanese woodcut masters, who often made multiple editions from the same blocks by using different colour combinations. I decided to make another set of prints from this block.

Print 1. Colour 1.
After printing the colour above I darkened the mix and printed a set as below.

Print 2. Colour 1.

Next stage on the print was a light yellow brown colour.

 Print 1. Colour 2.

And on the second print a darker blue grey.

Print 2. Colour 2.

Third stage on the first print was a pale mauve grey colour.

 Print 1. Colour 3.

And on the second print, continuing with a darker blue grey mix.

Print 2. Colour 3.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Recent Sketches

I started this blog with the intention of it being a kind of sketchbook diary, hence its title. Since then though it has changed and developed and now contains more finished studio work than field sketches. Ten years or so ago, pretty much all I was doing was sketchbook work with very little, and in some years no finished studio pieces being produced. Now I seem to have turned full circle, with nearly all of my time taken up with studio work and very little time being spent outdoors. I need to redress this balance, ideally I would like to set aside some time each day for some serious observational drawing, even if only for half an hour or so. The following are some recent sketches made over the last month, actually they are the only sketches I have made over the last month. So you can judge for yourself how much time has been spent outside, (even some of these were drawn from inside the house looking through the windows!).

A dejected looking Dunnock in the back garden in a heavy rain shower.
6b Progresso Graphite Pencil.

A Heron sketched as it flapped lazily overhead as I sat in a supermarket carpark.
Rotring Art Pen.

Two Jays sat on the fence at the bottom of mums garden. Eyeing up the fat balls hanging from the birdtable, trying to work out how to get to them.
Rotring Art Pen.

A female Sparrowhawk drawn as it flashed passed chasing a Blackbird. The drawing on the left is all wrong the wing shape looks more like a harrier!
Rotring Art Pen.

This afternoon we had an hours walk around Winscar Reservoir on the northern edge of the peak district. This Common Sandpiper was on the edge of the shoreline, the Wheatear on the moor above the reservoir.

Common Sandpiper.
Rotring Art Pen

Female Wheatear
6b Progresso Graphite Pencil and Watercolour.