Monday, 16 April 2018

A Greetings Card Journey

My new range of digitally printed reproductions of my original linocuts launched in December 2017. I introduced just six initially, to sell alongside our Printmaking Exhibition in Chorlton's World Peace CafĂ©. They have sold well - especially the bees! - and I'm now thinking of introducing some more designs. My cards retail at £2.50 (plus p&p) through Love From The Artist, they are a UK not-for-profit organisation supporting artists. To buy my cards online, please click here to go to their website.

Original six cards in the range
I've been playing with design ideas for a new set of cards - for Christmas and big occasions, like birthdays. I'm planning to have these finalised by July. Not all of these will make the grade, but I'm having fun exploring what works. These designs are all monoprints. Let me know what you think!

Possible new designs drying in the studio

I'll also be adding some cards supporting Macmillan, based on the huge linocut commission I I have just created. All profits from cards based on the 'Serenity' print will go 100% to Macmillan. They will be available from the opening of the expanded Macmillan Information and Support Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital in a few months. These are the early proofs. I'll update and share information when the cards are ready and available to buy.

First proofs of Macmillan cards based on 'Serenity' linocut by Carolyn Murphy

I'm delighted to finally have cards to sell alongside my original prints. A big thank you to the small team at Love From The Artist for all their hard work. There are lots of great cards on their website, so it's well worth a good browse!

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

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Pennines and the Halo!

On Saturday 21 April 2018 a new exhibition of artworks by Prospect Printmakers will open at The Whitaker Art Gallery and Museum in Rawtenstall, Rossendale. It's inspired by the Pennines, the theme that unites the work of almost 20 artists in a range of printmaking techniques.

My new linocut 'Halo' was created for this exhibition and will be displayed alongside one piece of work from each of the Prospect Studios printmakers involved.
  


There's an Opening on Saturday 21 April 2 - 4pm at the Whitaker. All are very welcome. Full details are on the website of the Whitaker. I hope you can make it to the Opening or to the Exhibition itself, which runs until 17 June. Our small exhibition runs alongside Liam Spencer's new exhibition 'Home & Away' in the main gallery space of the Whitaker.

I've outlined below some of the behind the scenes story of the making of this particular piece.

'Halo' refers to Haslingden Halo, an 18m diameter steel structure, sited on an exposed spot above the town, to mark the regeneration of East Lancashire. I hadn't visited it before working on this Pennine theme, but was interested in the juxtaposition of this large industrial-looking art sculpture and the barren moorland landscape. The Halo is lit at night too, giving it an other-worldly floating look.

The day I visited, I'd planned to make a number of sketches. It turned out to be in early March, during the snowy period and it was icy cold, windy and threatening to rain or snow any moment! I ended up walking the site and viewing the structure from all sides and taking reference images, before dashing for the car. I loved the shadows, the contrasts, the light. These are some of the photos I took:

Haslingden Halo with its shadows

The Halo looking alien in its landscape

Fantastic light and shade

Threatening weather
It was really in an exposed spot and I wanted to capture some of that sense of a big Pennine landscape. I decided to create the image from 3 lino plates, so that I could come back to the image and explore different colour ways. I cut the image from traditional lino 21 cm x 21 cm.

This is my first proof of the print:
First rough proof
From here, I made some changes to the colours and also cleaned up each plate further, cutting away stray marks. I was aiming for a more dramatic final image to reflect the light and shade, the storm clouds brewing and the warmth in the landscape.

I don't have images of every stage, but you can see that I've introduced a red/brown bracken colour and darkened the clouds. This is the print after printing just the first plate:

Printing plate 1


I have ended up with a small edition, which will be for sale at the Exhibition and later (unframed) on my website. I was printing this at the same time as drying my Macmillan giant linocuts and starting to work on new designs for my greetings cards. I'm definitely short of drying space!



 
Need more drying rack space!
 

My Twitter Art Exhibition (TAE18) Postcard

Last year I entered the Twitter Art Exhibition for the first time and loved it. I couldn't resist taking part again this year for TAE18. My work 'Strumble Head' (16 x 12 cm) went all the way to Canberra in Australia to find a new home and it raised 48 AUS$ for Pegusus as a result.
'Strumble Head' by Carolyn Murphy for TAE18
The Twitter Art Exhibition manages to create a great sense of community with artists all around the world and every year there's a fabulous cause. It works like this... Each artist contributes one original signed postcard-sized piece of work. An exhibition is created and all work is sold at a fixed price per card to raise money for a great charity.

Last year the sale was in Stratford-upon-Avon and it raised £18,000 for children's charity Molly Olly's Wishes. This year the exhibition was in Canberra and on Saturday 7 April the charity sale took place, followed by an online sale, all to raise money for Pegasus Riding for the Disabled, this year's  fantastic local charity. Original works are currently still available to buy on the Pegasus RDA website.

I decided to submit a relief print this year, based on a sketch I'd done a few years ago of Strumble Head lighthouse in Pembrokeshire. I created the image using 3 plates, a mixture of lino and wood for a change.

Below I've included the stages so that you can see the image build up. The first 2 colours are using linocut, whilst the final plate is a woodcut, using Japanese plywood.
Stage 1
Stage 2
The edges were left rough, as I trimmed the image down to the standard size of 16 x 12 cm. I also took a very rough early proof of the woodcut block, to see how that was coming along. This image is below:
Woodcut block work in progress proof
 
I then went on to continue cutting the wood until I was happy. Once I'd created this one-off piece I packed it carefully and sent it to Australia. I don't know who has bought my postcard - but I do hope they enjoy it and perhaps they'll also like seeing it as it developed.

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