Pasta Print Perfect!

2 Jul

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The tabletop pasta maker had it’s first trial as a mobile printing press today. RESULT!!!!! It worked beautifully. It’s taken ages to renovate because we had stored it in a really damp cupboard and it was badly rusted, but WD40, patience and elbow grease did the job.

Here’s how I did it…………….

First, I cut a piece of Intaglio Printmaker’s paper drypoint etching plate and then I redrew a little drawing of a hare onto it, from one of my sketchbooks, using a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen, size S. Thirdly, I scratched over the linework with my drypoint tool, just breaking the surface of the plastic coating. Then I cut and soaked some small pieces of Bockingford before removing the pen drawing with a very lightly dampened piece of cotton wool. Finally I cut some pieces of felted wool to be used as tiny blankets for the pasta press.

 

Preparing to print ………..

I put a blob of Intaglio Printmaker’s Drypoint Mix oil–based etching ink onto my inking block (a recycled bit of marble from an old fireplace) and picked some up with a mini rubber squeegee. I squeegeed the ink across the little drypoint plate then removed the excess, firstly with the edge of an old business card and then with a piece of tissue paper, taking care not to take too much off. Finally I wiped the edges with a rag, cleaned my hands and blotted a piece of the soaked Bockingford paper.

 

Making a blanket sandwich …….

On top of one of the first blanket I laid a clean piece of tissue paper, then the blotted Bockingford and then placed the drypoint plate, inky side down, then another layer of tissue and finally the second blanket.

 

Taking the print ……..

I picked up the blanket sandwich very carefully and firmly, making sure none of the layers slipped and rested the bottom edge onto the rollers in the pasta press. I turned the handle with one hand while keeping a tight grip on the blanket sandwich with the other. Once it was through, I peeled away the layers and voila! A teeny little etching.

These paper drypoint plates make an edition of 10 or so etchings before wearing out. I think I might try some hand colouring on these little hares, with my Winsor & Newton Artist’s Watercolours.

Drawing With Silver

1 Jul

03-silverpoint

There’s a new exhibition coming up at The British Museum this Autumn – drawings in metalpoint. These are drawings made with silver or gold onto specially prepared paper, a technique used before the invention of graphite pencils. I did some work in Silverpoint a while back (above), drawing directly from a life model.

The tool is a smooth barrel of wood like an etching needle but the point is a piece of silver wire, 99% pure. It can be used flat or as a very sharp point, but you have to be accurate because it can’t be rubbed out. Renaissance artists didn’t use the technique for quick scribbling, it was for careful studies. The paper has to be coated with a special Silverpoint Medium; I don’t know what’s in the modern version, but back in the day it was made from finely ground bone mixed with animal glue. When it’s dry, you draw the fine silver point across the paper and the bone drags molecules of the metal off and in a few seconds it tarnishes. This means that you can’t see the line you’ve drawn until the tarnish appears.

da vinci

Leonardo da Vinci’s Bust Of A Warrior in metalpoint

 

The British Museum is just up the road from my all time favourite artist suppliers, Cornelissen & Son, so I could combine a visit to the exhibition with a shopping trip to Cornelissen to buy silverpoint materials. Now that sounds like a plan :D

Soupy Sea

30 Jun

beach hat

Beautiful weather and a gorgeous evening so Husb and I strolled down to the beach for a paddle. The sea was warm and soupy, it was really nice to sink my feet into the gloopy sand and squish it between my toes. There were loads of people sunning themselves, lots of dogs and a couple of horses. I did some very quick outline sketches and worked into them a bit when I got home.

Preloved Pasta Press

29 Jun

I’m recycling my old, unloved tabletop pasta machine into a mini printing press – I hope. Husb spent ages cleaning the rust off and getting the rollers to work smoothly again without creaking loudly. I bought a piece of felted wool to cut down into little blankets and I’m going to try using the machine to print small lino blocks and tiny drypoint etching plates. Something to do next week :)

Six Minute Head

28 Jun

001Today is Sunday and one of the problems with being self-employed is the temptation not to take any time off. Well, today I gave myself some down time and chilled out with family, went for a long walk on the beach, nattered with friends, watched Glastonbury on the telly (Lionel Richie was AWESOME)…… So I didn’t have anything to blog!!! I Googled some images of elderly ladies’ heads and did a strictly timed six minute sketch from one of the photos a few minutes ago. So I managed a daily piece of art and a blog. Result :D

 

It’s drawn with a graphite stick into my A5 hardbacked sketchbook.

 

Loosening Up

27 Jun

tiny drawings

I carried on working on tiny recycled fragments of beautiful papers today, Somerset, Bockingford, BFK Rives, Hahnemulle, and found myself relaxing into it. Yesterday was frustrating and difficult, as it should be, I was trying something new and there’s no reason why it should be easy.

Today I was much less prissy and precious about what I was doing on the paper. At the end of the day it’s just a fragment of paper and if I don’t like what I have done, I can gesso over it. In fact I did that to a couple that I had worked on yesterday anyway.

All the pieces of paper are size A6 or smaller and I have been working on them with gesso, willow charcoal, carbon, graphite, Indian ink wash, home made walnut ink, conte crayon using brushes, fingers, wet wipes and cotton buds to blend and fade the marks.

Tiny Fragments

26 Jun

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Trying something different today. Normally I work directly from life but I started drawing intuitively, using tiny fragments of lovely papers. Most of them had been prints that hadn’t worked out so I am recycling them. I don’t know where it will lead but that’s what doing art is about, constantly pushing and trying to do new things. I’ve made a start on these little papers and I will carry on working on them tomorrow.  If they don’t work out, I can gesso over them and start again.

A Head. Just A Head.

25 Jun

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Just back from life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop. I concentrated on portraiture this week. I used my Samsung Galaxy Tablet Note 8 with a free Markers app to draw our model. I like working with older models as the faces have more texture and contours which, to be honest, is easier.

A Little Like Lowry

24 Jun

June beach

 

These long evenings are great for late walks and sketching. Husb and I strolled down to the beach an hour or so ago and I stopped for a quick scribble. I’ve done very little drawing en plein air recently as I’ve been so busy on other art projects but I have missed my daily sketch, I think it ‘s good practice, like a musician doing their scales or chords.

When I’m doing quick drawings in public, I’ve noticed that the people often end up looking a bit like figures by Lowry, the distant bodies, drawn at speed, easily resemble stick figures. When I’m working fast, there’s not enough time to focus on details, rather I concentrate on the mark making, to try and produce something that’s a bit different. I drew this with a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen into my A5 black bound sketchbook.

 

 

Flowers, Feathers, and Fish Scales

24 Jun

Here’s an interesting blog about how an artist works, their creative process.

Flowers, Feathers, and Fish Scales.

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