Saturday, 9 December 2017

Emsworth Arts Trail 2018

This week the weather has taken a turn and the temperature has dropped. Not that that has stopped art being produced with paintings being worked on, designs for cards being drawn and a little bit of wood engraving on the side as I have been trying out a new sandbag.
I guess the most important event of the week has been the first Emsworth Arts Trail meeting on Monday in preparation for the 2018 trail. All thoughts are now turning to producing a show and working on a new painting for the Arts Trail web site.

With Christmas around the corner the next few weeks are going to be super busy but can't wait to get planning and putting the show together.
There maybe a nautical theme if these sketches are anything to go by...............

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Taking A Risk

Today was Puffins day. Picking up on where I had left off with the has been a while....the first task was to lay down the next layer of grey. I thought I was being very careful getting the right tone and everything looked good as I was mixing it.

Mixing grey
I inked up the plate and away I went. 20 Puffin prints were gradually being rolled off the press and at first I was pretty happy with the results but I can't help picking over the results so by the end of the print run I was starting to think the grey was just that bit too dark and way to dark for the birds white chests. So a bit more head scratching.

Result of the grey
Detail of a foot
After a couple of days thinking it through and trying to work out what to do next I decided to jump in and take a risk. I managed to make a space between the wet canvases, re-cut the stomach of the puffins whilst still trying to keep the form, then mixed white with a lot of extender to allow the  grey to show through.

Creating form on the white

White and extender over grey
And voila, a very strange looking group of puffins but I am feeling quietly confident that my maverick exploits will pay off as I start to put down the next layer. Unfortunately the prints are very wet and the air has been damp this past week, so I will have to wait another week before I can put on the next layer, but that's OK as I can spend that time working on my Cornish paintings.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Beginning of an Idea

This week it's all been about the under painting. This is a set of paintings depicting cloud formations that we get along the south coast of England. Some are taken from looking out to sea while others have been observed across farm land between Chichester and Portsmouth. Being next to the sea we get some amazing skies at dusk, this summer being particularly stunning, so depicting them in paint has been reasonably straight forward.

Seeing how they sit together

As I painted them in quick succession the colours in these underpaintings are sitting together quite nicely and are working well as a series. If this continues I will hang them in a square formation at the arts trail.

Drying Paintings
Having spent all day working on them I will have to wait a few days before I can apply the next layer. If I decide to start introducing glazes I may have to wait a week otherwise I risk lifting the paint underneath.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Storm Clouds and Underpaintings

Back in the studio from my trip to Cornwall and the amazing smell of the oil painting is filling the air. The pallet is loaded, the easel is set up and my head is full of ideas of big landscapes with sweeping atmospheres.

Paints on the pallet
I have had a clear up and found a selection of small canvases to get my initial ideas down, then from there I will work up to some very large canvases that I bought earlier in the year.

Small canvases at the ready
As painting is a bit more of a free flowing experience for me, compared to the printing, it doesn't take long to work out where I am going with this. The romantic atmospheric sweeping landscape is starting to breathe life and every brush stroke is melting into the next.

Under painting working out colours and composition
I now have a series of exciting paintings to work on ready for the 2018 Arts Trail. I don't know how many will have a splash of red but this one seems to be working.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Cornish Inspiration

September turned out to be a reflective month due to a leaky water mains and a total computer melt down, so art work was put on hold and major house jobs suddenly became a priority. Having spent the past few weeks doing DIY I finally got down to the studio and reorganised my space ready to work on new paintings.
As luck would have it a family trip to Cornwall has been the perfect inspiration for some big landscapes.

View from Pendennis Castle
With photos and sketches to hand I have spent the morning working on underpaintings and new compositions.

Puffin prints are also staring at me from the corner, and working out the best way to tackle collagraph ideas is next on my jobs list. Monday morning is going to be all about art with no distractions....hopefully!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Beaks, Feet and Stencils

Carving away at the beaks and feet didn't take too long so it's been quickly onto the next layer giving those beaks that distinctive bright orange.

Carving out the beaks
Bright orange was mixed using vermilion, yellow ochre and a small amount of extender.

Bright orange
Stencils had to be recut and positioned individually but with a little tweaking they did their job.

Inked up and ready to go
The stencils lasted well enough for ten prints before having to be replaced.
Stencils in action
The next step was to do a fiddley bit of carving on the feet and then pull the next 20 prints.

Deep red for shadows
Vermilion red and a touch of didn't dilemma form the shadows on the feet and bring out some of the textures.

Feet just waiting for some rocks
The feet do look a little fuzzy but this will get tightened up as the next layers go on.
Detail of feet
Next will be a series of Grey's casting shadow and making textures on the feathers and rock.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Experiments into Textiles

There is a storm ragging across the South Coast of England today so it's been a great opportunity to mess around with some printing ideas and try out a bit of textile printing. As I enjoy sewing in my spare time it seemed the obvious thing to try, so inspired by some textile artists and patterns I had seen on the internet I cut some scraps of lino and mounted them on blocks. With some remnants of cotton I set to work using some textile printing ink.

Lino printing blocks
This pattern was inspired by the print maker Jane Walker, who makes bold shapes and patterns in her still life prints. I like the organic shapes and thought it was one of the more successful patterns as I can link it with the art work I make about natural objects.
I had just enough fabric to sew it into a purse with co-ordinated black lining which really enhanced the printed fabric.

Small hand printed purse
As I could only print with black textile ink I decided to have a quick go and printing onto paper in a range of different colours just to see what it would look like. If I decide to print these onto textiles I think I will be  a lot more choosy about my colour combinations as these colours didn't really do it for me but the process was interesting 

Mock up of peg bag
I made a quick mock up of a peg bag and started to think about the possibility of making fabric storage bags and buckets in the future....possible designs for my Etsy Shop in the future?
A variety of colours and patterns

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Orange Beaks

The orange layer of beaks and feet have now been pulled. The orange was an equal mix of yellow, yellow ochre, extender and a touch of vermilion to warm the whole thing up.
A touch of orange
More stencils had to be cut which took a little time but once I was organised I was up and running. 20 puffins prints were soon hanging up drying in the studio.

Lino inked up and stencils cut
The extender made the beaks much more tacky than I expected.there was a fine line between too much ink and no ink at all, but as a lot of it will be covered by a dark orange I think the overall effect should work quite well.
Close up of orange beaks
I recently fitted my studio with day light bulbs, which is wonderful while you are working, but it is causing havoc while trying to photograph my work so the colours are a little off and yes that is my shadow in the right hand corner. It's becoming mildly irritating as no matter where I stand I am always casting a shadow across the work but you can get an idea of how far the print is progressing.

Very grey puffins
Next step will be to cut yet more stencils for a darker orange then onto the rest of the birds. Everything is looking very unbalanced but as the final ink layer will be black I know the whole thing will pull together in the end.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Feet and Beaks

Having spent the evening cutting out stencils, which I thought were pretty accurate, I found I had to cut them out again as somewhere in the distant past I must have slightly changed the composition from the original drawing. I salvaged it by cutting the paper up and strategically placing it over the lino which seemed  to do the job.

Stencils being re-cut
So on with the yellow ink. I went for a pure Dairylide Yellow and extender which will form the basis of the feet and most importantly the beaks.
Inking up with yellow
The yellow looks quite alarming against the pale blue and grey but hardly any of this will show by the time all the other layers are over the top. One thing I have learn't about this process is to not get swayed or diverted by weird things that go on in the middle of the print. As a painter I would never make this decision so there is a certain amount of trust (or nashing of teeth) in the printing process itself.
Yellow against the blue
Next step will be to print shades of orange so more stencils and more shocking colour combinations, but this will make the distinctive beaks that give puffins so much character.

For those of you who have visited my Etsy shop, you will have seen my last Puffin print, 'First Catch', which is a small dry point print, hand coloured to show off their distinctive beaks.

'First Catch', Dry Point Etching

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Etsy Shop Now Open

For the past few weeks I have been distracted by opening my Etsy Shop which has meant that the Puffins print has been on hold. I then spent a week trying to make a decision on whether to put it in the blend layer that I had originally planned. Other distractions have crept in as well with the arrival of new printing blankets so I could get on with some collagraphs.....maybe.....just as long as I don't get distracted by something else.

Planning my next move in the studio
After pacing up and down and wringing my hands a lot, I finally made a decision to not do the blend as I thought it might kill the delicate blue and take away from the puffins themselves. 
Removing the background
So instead I cut out the background and printed a very pale grey that will now form the basis for the rest of the print.
Showing a touch of grey
Now I've made that decision I can see the next few steps forward so hopefully everything will be a little more straight forward.

In the mean time visit my shop;
I have stocked it with a selection of small prints, original art works and hand printed cards

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Starting Something New

It's been a few weeks since I've been able to get back in my studio. After a bit of a clear out the remaining boxes are back on the shelves, the printing press has been re-installed, ready to go and the desk is clear for painting to begin.
My first task is a bit of a mammoth lay the first layer of ink down on my Puffins print.
Imagine a rectangle of white and you're pretty much there, followed by a transparent powder blue...followed by a blend of blue/pale blue to finish off the sky.

Ready for an evening of carving
With the white background already done, I spent the evening carving out the white on the puffins. Just to make life easy I marked out everywhere I wanted  to keep crisp (and it helped me sort out which direction the feathers were going).

The palest blue
Now time for the ink. Try as I might this photograph does not show the right tone of blue. It is very pale but in real life it looks a lot bluer. The idea of making it so pale is simple enough. I want to lay a blend over the top to give more depth to the sky.

Inked up and ready to go
Twenty prints later there is the emergence of Puffins. It was a good day in the office as the composition is looking OK. Once this little lot has dried out, the next challenge will be to get the blend to balance....
Just visible - pale blue Puffins

Monday, 1 May 2017

The End of the Trail 2017

Well, it's been the end of a busy few weeks focusing on the Arts Trail. Thanks to all of you who made it to our venue. Once again it was a great event with lots of interesting artists to look at. Hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did. Here are a couple of paintings you might recognise...

Ascending Light
Dawn Rising
Now I am looking forward to the next few weeks of pottering around the studio and playing with a few ideas that I have had.

My Puffins reduction lino cut is top of the list as well as some relief printed cards. There are paintings to be done for the Emsworth Artists Summer Exhibition and a few experiments into textile printing. Oh and if I get the time I will be having a go at collagraphs. Sounds a lot but can't wait to get started.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Emsworth Arts Trail 2017

What a great day to have an Arts Trail. We've been relaxing in the spring sunshine and talking to all those who have been making their way around the Arts Trail. This was the set up this morning just before we opened.

Looking good in the sunshine

Geometric Textile Design

Check out the chair! My son's art project is slowly taking shape. Can't wait to see how this develops.
A few extras!
We're looking forward to tomorrow as many people are bringing their partners back to have another look.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Series of Nine; Paintings 8&9

At last the series of nine small paintings has been finished and is ready to hang. All the large paintings are also ready to hang and the studio is well on it's way to being emptied.
As usual now that everything is packed away I want to get on with new work and start preparing canvases ready for painting. Inspiration always strikes when I can't get on with anything...I will have to stick to the sketchbook for now.
'Rippling Stream'

'Crashing Waves'

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Series of Nine; Paintings 6&7

With one week to go paintings are starting to take a turn for the better. Here are the next in the series of nine small paintings.

'Through the Gloom'

'A Break in the Storm'
There's still a huge amount to do with my studio still needing to be cleared out. Ideas and experiments have had to be put on hold for the moment while large paintings are being finished off.
Next year the 'artists studio' will be part of the show as I am going to leave studies and sketchbooks out for folks to browse through...the thought of emptying everything out again is getting way too much!

Friday, 7 April 2017

Series of Nine; Paintings 4&5

Here's another taster of what is to come on the Arts Trail....
'Night Light' and 'Wake' are part of the nine series that I will be hanging together.

'Night Light'


Painting and planning is furiously continuing as the Opening is only in a few weeks....and I still have to clear out my studio (and tidy the garden).