Sunday, 18 November 2018

20:20 Print Exchange 2018

This year, I submitted my 20:20 edition of 25 prints 20 cm x 20 cm with Prospect Studios, one of the 40 or more print workshops taking part. The 20:20 print exchange was created and is organised by Hot Bed Press in Salford. Every year, as it's grown and grown, their staff and volunteers face the huge task of sorting the work of around 500 artists, so that every one gets back a box with their own print and 19 other randomly sorted works from across the UK, and now internationally. This year print workshops in Iceland, Moscow and Melbourne, Australia took part.

The full collection of work can be seen on flickr - check out this link.

My 2018 print uses the same plates I cut for my 'Halo' linocut earlier in the year, for the 'Pennine' exhibition with Prospect Studios. Because it's a 3 plate multi-plate linocut, I returned to play with the colours and cut the finished print down to 20 x 20 cm, calling it 'Regenerating'.

I've included some pictures of its development below:

'Regenerating', 20:20 linocut by Carolyn Murphy

Three lino plates used to create 'Halo' and 'Regenerating' linocuts

'Halo' linocut by Carolyn Murphy, created for the Whitaker's Pennine exhibition
Printing plate 1 at Hot Bed Press

Using the Albion press

'Regeneratin' after printing one colour
'Regenerating' in the drying racks, after colour 2
Trimmed 20:20 prints ready to go for 2018!
It won't be long before I receive my box of prints. Fingers crossed for a box I really love! Having taken part since 2011 (sometimes for both Hot Bed Press and Prospect Studios)I have a great collection of 20 x 20 cm prints. Some are on my walls at home. Some have been on my office wall in the past. And I still can't resist picking up a few extras, when something jumps out at me, like yesterday at Hot Bed Press Open Studios, when I bought a print from Iceland's 2015 collection.

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!