Wednesday, 14 November 2018

New card designs

Following the North Wales Print Fair and some lovely feedback on some of my newer prints, I decided to add to my card range. My cards are produced by a fantastic charity called 'Love From The Artist', based in the South West of England. They aim to make it possible for artists to boost their income with cards, calendars and digital reproductions, producing these using digital technology and environmentally friendly paper stock. Check them out on the Love From The Artist website

New to my range are cards of my 'Halo' linocut, 'Little Boats' etching and 'Portnahaven' linocut. You can now buy these online

Little Boats

It's fantastic to be able to choose suitable card sizes and shapes, rapidly set up new designs and order small quantities to test their appeal. With digital printing, there is no stock in the system, so when I order 5 cards of a new design, it's only 5 that are printed, making things more affordable and creating no waste.

The public can buy cards directly from the Love From the Artist website too, personalising the inside with messages and images (at no extra cost) if they want to. For Christmas cards, occasion cards or artists' cards of all types from a huge number of amazing artists, it's the place to go.

Love From The Artist also supported me with the Macmillan Cancer Support project earlier this year, creating a home for 'Serenity' cards and A3 reproduction prints, so that all profits go directly to the Macmillan Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital via their Serenity page

If you're thinking of creating digital cards from your own artwork, I'd highly recommend you consider the lovely team at Love From The Artist!

To see more of my work, please check out my website: where you will also find an online Shop with currently available work. Thanks!

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

'This Way' or 'How to create a multi-plate linocut'

This post shows the development of my new multi-plate linocut 'This Way', which I created for the Northern Collective exhibition in Keswick. The image is of a stone stile, small gate and footpath marker which I came across on a walk in the Elterwater area of the Lake District.

Why choose multi-plate over the reduction process? It's a fair question to ask and I do use both techniques, depending on the project and image. Both methods have their relative advantages and disadvantages.

For me the benefits of multi-plate are:
  • you can come back and explore different colour ways
  • you can make the most of overlap colours
  • you can use the plates again in other projects
  • if one plate goes wrong, you can re-do it!
Some useful tips...It's critical to plan your plates and use of tones, before you start! Also you need to transfer your image to each plate from the master image with care and accuracy. My master image was on tracing paper, as I reversed my sketch because I wanted to reflect the real place as closely as possible. I like to test the plates in a quick, often wet-on-wet prototype poof, just to check everything is fundamentally working, before playing with colours.

'This Way' is made up of four plates. In the prototype you can see how each one of the plates builds to create the image:

After colour 1 - rough proof

After colour 2 - rough proof

After colour 3 - rough proof

Final rough proof - with all 4 plates

This proof allowed me to adjust tones and make different decisions for the next stage of the development of the print. I wanted the colours to be more vibrant and was trying to create a sense of light and shade, as well as distance, in the linocut, so I tweaked the plates a little more, before printing the edition.

I printed the final edition of ten, at Hot Bed Press in Salford using Intaglio oil-based inks on the wonderful old Albion press.

The final colour is a deep grey / blue

'This Way' edition drying on the racks

A good example of the benefits of multi-plate can be seen in 'Halo' and 'Regenerating' - both linocuts use the same set of three plates, but the colour choices and different paper stock, transform them:

'Halo' multi-plate linocut

'Regenerating' multi-plate linocut

To see more of my work, please check out my website: where you will also find an online Shop with currently available work. Thanks!

Monday, 15 October 2018

In the 'Northern Collective' Exhibition in Keswick

I'm very excited to be part of this large group exhibition, which has just opened at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick. The sixteen artists involved are united by spending time drawing together in the Lake District and various venues across the North West. Artist Geraldine Walkington, from Kendal, organised our first group exhibition.

On Tuesday we delivered work to the Circle Gallery promptly at 10am, for it to be hung by the team at the Theatre. The exhibition opened to the public the following day & runs from 10 October to Sunday 11 November. We held a private view on Sunday, which was my first chance to see all the work on the walls. I'd highly recommend popping in, if you are in the area. The Theatre is in a fantastic location, right by Derwent Water, with a café with views to the Lake - ideal for a lunch stop! The exhibition itself is really varied in media and style: including paintings, printmaking, textile art and assemblage.

I decided to include my large 'Serenity' linocut, which was commissioned by Macmillan, plus 3 smaller linocuts - 2 with a link to the Lake District. 'Over Morecambe Bay' is based on a sketch I did whilst up at Grange on one of Geraldine's Drawing Days, whilst 'This Way' is a linocut of a Lake District stile and footpath sign.

I've included in this blog post more detailed pictures of the whole exhibition, so that you can get an idea of the work on show and the artists exhibiting as the Northern Collective, even if you're not able to make the journey to Keswick. Images of the Preview are on my website. I hope you enjoy a look around, in person or online!

Artworks by Colin Binns in the exhibition

Textile art by Jaini Hadley on show

Paintings by Geraldine Walkington in the show

Work by Gerry Hickson

Assemblages by Petra Hartmann
Linocuts by Carolyn Murphy
Collagraphs by Annabel Wilkes in the exhibition
Mixed media artworks by Ann Marie Foster

Paintings by Janette Phillips

Printmaking artworks by Lynn Pascoe
Artworks by Barbra Cropper
Katie Bentley paintings in the show
Julie Emary's work
Angie Mitchell linocuts in the exhibition
Priscilla Edwards & Marian Jazmik's work
Christine Sandford's artworks
After the exhibition preview, we had time for a short stroll near Derwent Water as the sunlight was fading. It was a glorious autumnal drive to Keswick and back home!
To see more of my work, please check out my website: where you will also find an online Shop with currently available work. Thanks!

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Exhibition Inspiration

This year, apart from the fabulous exhibitions I've been to alongside my Printmaking course at Wrexham, I've also really enjoyed getting to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the Terracotta Warriors exhibition in Liverpool, as well as Salts Mill in Saltaire, Bradford to see the David Hockney exhibition.

I also really loved this year's Printfest in Ulverston, Cumbria. I've included a few pictures here to act as a reminder and ongoing inspiration.

Salts Mill work by David Hockney

Salts Mill - a huge fax print by David Hockney, if memory serves me!

RA Summer exhibition

Summer Exhibition - Woodblock print by Grayson Perry 

Neil Bousfield print commemorating WW1 at the Summer Exhibition

Anish Kapoor RA - work outside the Summer Exhibition 

Terracotta Warrior

Terracotta Warriors in Liverpool

Jason Hicklin etching at Printfest

Gail Mason - winner of the Visitors' Choice at Printfest - with her screenprints

Gail Brodholt's stand at Printfest - Printmaker of the Year 2018

To see my own work, please check out my website: where you will also find an online Shop with currently available work. Thanks!

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Macmillan Linocut Workshop

Yesterday I had the pleasure of getting the Macmillan Craft & Chat group at Wythenshawe Hospital into some linocut printmaking. Linda runs weekly sessions on a Monday morning and she had asked me to show the group what's involved.

Two hours is a fairly short time for linocutting, so I decided to keep the lino pieces small - just 7.5cm squares and limit the number of ink colours. The Craft & Chat regulars, as you'd expect are a creative and lively bunch, so it didn't take them long to get the hang of things, following a short demo!

The results were impressive and you can see the care and attention going in to the cutting. I definitely got the impression that everyone enjoyed trying something new and getting just a little bit messy!


To see more of my work, please check out my website: where you will also find an online Shop with currently available work. Thanks!

Friday, 7 September 2018

'Manchester Old & New III' or 'Why choose Easy Cut Vinyl over Traditional Lino?'

It's only taken me about three years to finish the little set of three 'Manchester Old & New' mini linocuts that I originally intended to create.  Manchester has changed quite a lot in the meantime!

This year I added the last one to the series:

First proof of 'Manchester Old & New III'

This linocut complements numbers one and two, shown below:

'Manchester Old & New II' (on the left) and 'Manchester Old & New I'

For the whole set I chose to use 'Easy Cut Vinyl'. I buy the type I use online from Artesaver. You can see the plate during and at the end of cutting:

Part-way through cutting - with marker pen clearly visible on the easy cut vinyl plate

The finished 15cm x 5 cm plate with cutters
I know some people don't like the character of Japanese vinyl or easy cut vinyl at all. In the dark grey, it can be tricky to see the pencil marks you have transferred to the plate too. I tend to use a marker pen to fix the lines and get them to show up more easily before I start cutting. Some say it lacks 'soul'. It's certainly less green than traditional lino, which is made from clay and linseed oil.

The feel of the vinyl is certainly different and pieces of cut lino do not 'ping' out, as they would with traditional lino. You have to finish the cut and allow the tools to rise to the surface. For me, it has it's place and sometimes I chose traditional lino and other times I choose easy cut lino, depending on the project. For reduction linocuts, for example, I'm more likely to use traditional lino, as the process is a one-off and the lino is finished with at the end.

Here I've summarised some of the advantages I find in the easy cut vinyl I use:
It's robust and does not deteriorate - so good for longer editions or returning to a plate later
  • Plates can de cleaned in washing up water
  • The very first print comes off clean and crisp
  • You can achieve fine detail, as well as you can with traditional lino
  • There is no hessian backing to release small fibres
  • It's probably slightly cheaper and comes in a range of sizes
  • It's easier to cut, especially in the cold
To see more of my work, please check out my website: where you will also find an online Shop with currently available work. Thanks!