Friday, 24 February 2017

More creatures

I’m still spending most of the time at my parent’s house so making is limited to what I can do on their dining table. I still like the idea of making a book with my strange creatures, and I have an experimental idea in mind, but I’ll need my workroom for that. So, in the meantime I’m doing some artwork for a smaller book which may be used as an artist’s statement to go alongside the seascape print.
I’ve been experimenting with different colour media and I think I’m going to go with gouache and pen with some inktense crayon for details.
 I think the seaboar may have to lose the orange wig in the final painting.

Sunday, 12 February 2017


I’ve been staying at my mum’s this past three weeks while she starts to recover from a hip operation so I haven’t been able to indulge in messy play.

Instead I started planning a book to enter for the 23 Sandy Gallery exhibition ‘Wayfinders’. I began by exploring old maps which led to medieval sea monsters and then onto bestiaries. As usual it hasn’t gone in the direction I was planning, I think this book is turning into a print. And unusually for my work it seems to be getting a bit political.  These are some of my preparatory scribbles.

Although I was going for tall and thin I think I prefer the second one. It gives a more chaotic feel which fits the subject better.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Baker’s Dozen For January

So far so good, I managed to make a print and a book this month for A Bakers Dozen.
I’ve been experimenting further with copper sulphate etching, trying to make marks that I could repeat in future work. Part way through making this plate I realised that I hadn’t yet used any solvent based gloops so I decided to make this an environmentally friendly etching. The resists were done using a combination of tape masks and Graphic Chemical’s water soluble relief printing ink.
I only had time for a quick proof print at Hot Bed Press so I finished printing it at home, experimenting with different inks and press pressures.
The plate inked up in prussian blue.
The first proof in sepia (printed at Hot Bed Press - so the pressures are set right on this one)
Prussian Blue
Burnt sienna, ultramarine and ochre
Playing with new Christmas present inks (process cyan, process magenta and process yellow) just to see what happens. I like brightness of these colours. It’s something I’m going to explore further.
 Adding burnt sienna to process colours.
There are bits I like in most of them, so now I need a new plate to push it further.
I’ve also been mono printing for January's books (I'm using a fishbonefold one of Hedi Kyle’s structures). To get some kind of unity between the three prints I used a set of circle textures for making marks in the paint.
The first book had plain paper on the inside folds and a circle pattern for the cover. I also made a mistake in the ratio of the page lengths when marking out.
For the second two I adjusted the page lengths
 I printed grids and lines on the other side of the paper so that the openings also had a texture to them
 The covers for these two are printed to reflect the grids and lines of the openings. This structure wants to spring open so all the books are held closed with a belly band.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Print Preparation

I had a disappointing day at the press last Thursday. It was my own fault. I hadn’t got round to working out what I wanted to do that day so I settled for sizing down an old drawing and winging it. The mark making worked in parts. The right hand size is getting there. But the image was not good overall and some of the lines have bitten too deeply to remedy easily.
 This week I am ready early.

A line drawing...

 and a tonal study.
Fingers crossed.
I’ve also started work on some monotypes. At the moment I think they’ll turn into this month’s Bakers Dozen Book but I’ll wait and see.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

A baker’s dozen for 2017?

After faffing around trying to work out what I wanted to do next I have come to the conclusion that I work best with deadlines and a brief.

In the past I have thought about trying to joining various drawing ‘a drawing a day for a year’ type projects but I know that I’d probably fail a daily commitment within the first few weeks. So I have decided to set my own challenge and try to produce a print and a book each month. They will probably be a mixture of polished work (finished, editioned and ready to go – for sale, exhibition or swop) and more experimental bits and pieces (exploring techniques and structures that have grabbed me).

I’m going to record the finished prints and books at  as well as on the blog so it will be more obvious if I one miss out. I might need that impetus in busy months. 

Yes, I know that there are only 12 months in the year, but although this week I managed to finish a book edition and produce a print, the work for both of these was started in 2016 and it seemed like cheating to use them as January’s response .

I started this print to carry on exploring the textures and mark making I can achieve using copper sulphate and aluminium. I’m happy with the textures on the stonework now I want to try and apply it to a more interesting image.

Fairy Tales which is my contribution to Endings and Beginnings is finally finished, printed in three different colours. I’m not sure that I’d use the floating panel structure again in a hurry, but I think that in combination with the text it worked for this book.

Now to think about January’s book and print!

Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Year Wishes

Bidding farewell to 2016, but not totally convinced 2017 will be an improvement, my resolution this coming year is to take as much pleasure as possible in the small things.
I wish you all a peaceful, happy and creative New Year

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Once upon a time

I finally printed the block. These will be the pages of books for a swop on the theme ‘Endings and Beginnings’.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Slowly progressing

Due to panto (this year performances are spread over 3 weeks and in two different venues) and family commitments printing has taken a bit of a back seat. But the block is made.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Exhibition News

I’m really pleased to say that I have several pieces of work on show in the Winter Tales exhibition at the Chapel Gallery in Ormskirk.

On a more bizare note, it’s dress rehearsal for the panto tomorrow, followed by the tech on Monday and four performances at the end of the week so all creative stuff this past couple of weeks has been spent desperately trying to get props and scenery  finished.

Have you ever made a chicken wearing a tutu with a light bulb in its mouth?

Saturday, 29 October 2016

20:20 and a New Book

I’ve finished the prints for the 20:20 print exchange, just waiting for signing and numbering.  I have to deliver them to the press for the deadline on Monday.
At the moment I’m working on a new book for the book exchange group I work with. I enjoy having projects with parameters and deadlines that have to be kept to. I find it helps generate ideas for other things and there’s the added bonus of exiting books arriving in the post every three months or so.

We’ve had to move from the original host site at ‘artist books 3.0’ as it was shutting down so we now ‘meet’ through a new blog Collaborative Artists Books. We’re still finding our way communicating on the new platform but come over and see what we do.

The new title is ‘Endings and Beginnings’. It seemed appropriate in the circumstances but I think mine has morphed more into beginnings and endings.

I have been working on fairy story related images recently. ‘Once upon a time’ and ‘they all lived happily ever after‘ seemed a good starting point. After playing with the characters that seem to go in between I came to the conclusion that the majority of them are quite interchangeable; the baby/child, the good girl (princess or serving maid), the evil stepmother/queen. I decided to use silhouettes to emphasise the interchangeability (is that a word) of the characters.

At this point I started to explore structural and layout ideas.
The text here was awkward and the whole piece seemed a bit empty.
Better, but I didn’t like cutting into the pattern to make the silhouettes float.  More importantly I realised that this image had grown to 84cm (the same size as A1 paper – not leaving any wriggle room for printing if I want to use collagraph). If I wanted to keep the text at the sides I needed to lose some characters. I came to the conclusion (due to the lack of images I made while I was doodling) that the hero/prince and stepfather/king probably don’t interest me so they were the ones to go.
Think so far this is what I’ll work up.

Next step is to draw up my own silhouettes (you may have noticed the presence of Queen Elizabeth in the mock ups) and work out the border pattern