Friday, 16 September 2016

Time to Stand and Stare

One of my favourite poems is well known, in parts. It's called Leisure by William Henry Davies. You'll probably recognise it:


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

William Henry Davies                     

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Drypoint on a large scale

Last weekend I really enjoyed Alan Birch's new large format drypoint course in Rossendale's Prospect Studios. It was a chance to work on Perspex plates as large as 50 x 70 cm.

This was the first weekend the course has run. Another one is coming up in October. Class sizes are small. Day 1 was creating plates using traditional - and less traditional - drypoint techniques. Day 2 was all printing - quite tiring given the plate size.

I'm pleased with my first attempts to work at this scale and took the chance to explore the same image (an 'everywoman' / Eve sketch) using traditional drypoint tool and also on plate 2 adding power tool effects! Not easy to control, but creating some great texture and definition. I think I'm hooked! These rough proofs give you a preview of work in progress.

Drypoint using a variety of hand tools
Drypoint using a power sander as well as traditional tools

Picasso on the Wirral

It's a delight to have a linocut exhibition of Picasso's work locally. On at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight Village, until 8 January 2017, it's a small exhibition of prints from the British Museum. It's well worth a visit even though the exhibition focuses on just 3 works.

I'm going to look at 2 in this blog. The first that really fascinated me was a portrait - 2 plates, both black, but the first providing tone on a lino plate, something I hadn't seen before. The image builds to create a rare and striking effect. I'll be trying to replicate the technique, created with a wire brush, I believe.

Plate 1

Plate 2
Final work
The second work is a well known still life. The British Museum has acquired not just the final work, which is a reduction linocut, but also all the stages of its development, which are on show - and every individual plate is proofed and on show too. Such a rare treat for printmakers! Sometimes it's hard to work out how an artist has created a finished effect with linocuts, but here you have a master class on reduction linocut printmaking - on full display. I found it mesmerising! I've shown below the build to the full work.
Colour 1
 Colour 2
Colour 3
Final 4 colour work
For the record, below is the single plate, as proofed at each stage. The first colour is above. The rest follow:
Red stage proof
Green stage proof
Black stage proof
What a delight - I'm planning to visit again. It's not a big exhibition, but it's great. I hope you get to visit in person. If not, I hope this blog post will be of interest.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

A Parliament of Owls

I'm looking forward to receiving my copy of The Elegant Fowl - a Printmakers' collection of owl prints from 94 artists, published by Mascot Media, which is just out and will be retailing at £23.99.

My Barn Owl 2 colour linocut is in there somewhere - a print I created for my niece Amelia's 4th birthday a few years back now. She's vey excited to see her print and name in the book too!

Updated website - check it out!

The last few days have been a challenge as I've been getting to grips with new website software and have recreated my website with some new features like mobile responsiveness and social media links, as well as a new gallery.

Please check it out at the normal address:

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Ispired by Picasso in Malaga

Finally, after years of visiting Malaga, I got to the Picasso Museum this time. I'm really glad I did. The building alone is stunning - and much larger than I'd expected, housing the Collection and an exhibition running until 21 February 2016, called Picasso 'German Records'. Printmaking was well represented in both sections and the press used by Picasso in Paris, was also in pride of place on loan.

You aren't allowed to take pictures of the works themselves, so the images below are sadly of postcards or flyers, so the quality is not great. My favourite images were the large linocuts 'Portrait of a Young Girl, after Cranach the Younger'.

5 colours on plates 64 x 53.5cm, produced in 1958. There were also some great etchings, sugar lift aquatints and drypoint original prints. I found them inspiring in their challenge of technique as much as the powerful images themselves.

 It's a beautiful city. If you haven't been, perhaps it's time to plan it in...