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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Linocut, stage 4

I cut away all of what was left of the view through the door, and some details on the door itself, and more of the leaves. Then I printed a darker green to brown to green blend over the previous layers. Fortunately, the mistake on the previous layers has been successfully covered.

Reduction linocut, stage 4

One more layer, and it might be finished.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Linocut stage 3 (twice)

I cut away more of the distance, and the leaves around the door, and then printed the block in green.

Reduction linocut, stage 3a

As soon as I printed the first copy, I realised that I had cut away the leaves at the top too early: the blue of the previous layer shows through. I should have left the top solid for this layer, and then cut away the leaves on the next layer.

So after I'd printed all the copies for this stage, I cut a paper stencil that would expose just the top of the block, and just used a small roller to put more green ink directly onto the paper and hide the blue.

Reduction linocut, stage 3b

I think I'll get away with it...

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Linocut, stage 2

Second layer on this reduction linocut. I've cut away some of the details in the distance, and the paving stones in the foreground.

Reduction linocut, stage 2

A blue to green blend over the previous layer: Still trying to keep the colours light, so that later stages don't get too dark. Some of the design starts to appear.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Life drawings

A couple of drawings from this week's life group.

Both in pencil: 4B for the softer lines and shading, with some HB where sharper lines are needed). Top one's a bit bigger than A3 (that white line is the fold of the sketchbook), and the lower one is a bit smaller.

I've been looking at this book: British Museum Master Drawings in Close-Up, particularly the Raphael drawing that's on the cover.

(Clearer image on the BM website: Raphael drawing)

To get the shadow tone, I think he's smudged the chalk, and then gone over it again with hatching lines. Those lines go the same way: they don't follow the shape or volume of the body (just a bit round the waist), and there's hardly any cross-hatching.

What really gives the drawing life is the variation in the lines that make up the outline. Every line curves and moves; the strongest lines are where there is contrast between light and dark (on the arms), and the stressed parts of the body (the bent knees); and he hasn't bothered to rub out the light preliminary lines.

One day, one day...

More drawings from the life group at

Friday, 27 May 2011

New linocut starts

And we're off again! First layer: I cut away the highlights which will appear white, and then printed a blend from pale blue-grey to brown.

Linocut, stage 1

(Fingers crossed that it will be finished in time for the next exhibition.)

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Dovecote, Nymans: Linocut, stage 5

A dark green-brown-green gradient over the other layers, and suddenly the image comes into focus. Final stage, I think.

The Dovecote, Nymans. Linocut

The Dovecote, Nymans. Linocut, 10 x 10 cm.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Linocut, stage 4

Fourth layer. Cut away the grass and more details in the leaves and the building, and then printed a diagonal gradient from dark green at the top left, through brown in the centre, to a lighter green at the bottom right.

Linocut, stage 4

Nearly there.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Linocut, stage 3

Third layer: gradient from dark green to brighter green. All looking too green now. I will try to work in some grey/brown colours on the stonework on the next layer.

Linocut, stage 3

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Ashdown Forest: Autumn sun

While I try to work out what to next with the linocut that's in progress, here's another of the small paintings from the Ashdown Forest series.

Ashdown Forest 14

7 October, 2.45pm. Autumn sun on dry bracken, fire gold.
Acrylic on canvas, 15 x 15 cm.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Linocut, stage 2

Second stage of the new print: a green-to-grey-to-green gradient over the top of the first layer. The block is only 10cm square, so it took some careful thought to get the gradient to align correctly every time.

Linocut, stage 2

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Ashdown Forest: Winter's afternoon

Another of the small paintings from the Ashdown Forest landscape series.

Ashdown Forest 13

10 December, 3pm. Winter's afternoon quickly turns to evening.
Acrylic on canvas, 15 x 15 cm.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Starting a new linocut

I've had to put the experiments with solarplate etching to one side for a while. It's only four weeks to the next exhibition, so it's time for lots of hard work on what I know best.

Here's the first stage of a new linocut, a cobalt blue to burnt sienna gradient, both with lots of white added, to make sure it's light enough. Or is it too light? Or too brown? Or the wrong blue?

Linocut, stage 1

Friday, 6 May 2011

Ashdown Forest: Summer days

27 July, 3pm. Long hot summer days stretch beyond the horizon. Another of the small paintings from the current Ashdown Forest exhibition.

Ashdown Forest 12

Acrylic on canvas, 15 x 15cm.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Solarplate etching: More experimenting

Another experiment with what can be done with solarplate (photopolymer) etching. This time, I started with a photograph of one of my recent paintings of the Ashdown Forest landscape...

...converted it to black and white, and then etched it on the solarplate.

Solarplate etching

I like this. The solarplate has picked up all the brushwork and even the weave of the canvas. (Click the picture for a bigger version.) These are much clearer in this etching than they are in the original painting, where the colour grabs the attention. The result has got the quality of a traditional, pure aquatint plate.

I printed the plate again in dark blue.

Solarplate etching

I like this. I like this a lot.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Ashdown Forest: First sight of gorse

Ashdown Forest 10

3 April, 11am. In the distance, yes, the first sight of gorse.

Acrylic on canvas, 15 x 15cm.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Solarplate etching of a pencil drawing

Inspired by how well the solarplate etching technique has reproduced my pen and ink drawings, I tried it with one of my pencil drawings.

This is the original drawing:

Life drawing: Cello player

I strengthened the contrast and added some flat tone by using Photoshop.

And then etched this version onto the photopolymer plate.

Bella and the cello

This version is printed in dark blue (ultramarine plus a bit of black), so the contrast isn't quite as strong as it could be if I'd printed it in black; but nonetheless, it's very interesting to see how much detail and line quality has been carried over from the orginal drawing to the print.

More to come...

Monday, 2 May 2011

Ashdown Forest: Searching for colour

Start of a new series of the Ashdown Forest landscapes. I'm trying to push harder to the boundary between naturalism and abstraction. This series is on smaller size of canvas, to see how much information can be packed into the smaller space.

Ashdown Forest 9

9 January, 1.15pm. Searching for colour in the depths of winter, and finding it everywhere.
Acrylic on canvas, 15 x 15 cm.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Solarplate etching again

For my next solarplate etching, I've enlarged my drawings before processing them onto the plate. (In the previous etching, the drawings were slightly reduced.)

The original drawings were about 6 x 4 inches. On the plate, they are about 8 x 5.5 inches (A5). I etched them onto a single A4 plate, and then printed it.

Havana: Solarplate etching

Then I cut the plate, and printed them separately.

Havana: Solarplate etching

Room 511, Ambos Mundos Hotel, Havana. The room where Hemingway wrote “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. Solarplate etching, approx A5.

Havana: Solarplate etching

Havana backstreets. Solarplate etching, approx A5.

Again, it's exciting to see how well the solarplate picks up every mark and nuance of the drawn line and watercolour washes, particularly at this larger size.

You can see the original drawings here and here.