Making A Start

18 Apr

 

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I’ve got a few ideas to develop and I’m at the starting point, doing some research. I want to do something with figures in very classical, strong poses so I’m flicking through my art history books to analyse how artists in the past have done it. Here are some scribbles of a classical Egyptian statue. It’s a deceptively simple stance that was very hard to draw but it’s giving me an inkling of how to proceed.

The Difference

17 Apr

 

double drop 3

Preparing an etching plate or a wood block or a silk screen is just the first stage of creativity in making an original print. The second creative input comes with the actual printing – the inks, papers and special effects you use. I printed the one above using the ‘double drop’ technique, printing the plate first in Vermilion and secondly in Prussian Blue. Although it’s quite monochromatic, it has a richer, more intense colour than the print below, which was just printed once, in black ink.

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Drawing Black

16 Apr

 

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Drawing black is hard. So is drawing animals, well for me anyway. I’m pretty good at drawing cats now as I’ve had decades of practice and they tend to keep still. I haven’t quite got dogs though. Husb and I are puppy-sitting for a week, a little black Pomerpoo (Pomeranian Poodle cross). She has huge bat-like ears, big eyes and jet black silky fur, apart for a tiny smudge of white on her chin. I had a go this evening on my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet using a free Markers app. I put in a dark grey ground to start with, then worked in light and dark on top with a variety of different digital brushes. Most of what’s black actually looks grey, silver or white when you analyse it. I drew from a photo, she’s far too excitable to pose for me.

Metal Marbling

15 Apr

 

marbling

I’ve done marbling onto paper before but this is marbling onto an etching plate. I spent the weekend at a masterclass in etching at Andrew Baldwin’s Trefeglwys Print Studio in Powys. We covered quite a few processes and I’ve wanted to see this one for a while. Andrew marbles a metal plate with his B.I.G. (Baldwin’s Ink Ground) and bakes it to harden it up and then etches it. The results are gorgeous. Here he’s just poured some of the B.I.G., thinned out with lavender oil, onto a solution of vinegar and water and is dragging a stick through it to enhance the marbled effect, just before dipping a prepared aluminium plate onto it.

14 Apr

double drop 3

I’ve spent the weekend at Trefeglwys Print Workshop exploring etching with Andrew Baldwin. One of the things I learnt was how to print a ‘double drop’ plate, where the plate is printed twice on the same piece of paper in different, complementary, colours. It’s not easy, you have to be very precise, but it’s worth it. Check out some of Andrew’s instructional videos on different forms of etching here

 

On the left, inking up the etching plate with Vermilion ink. On the right, overprinting the orange print with Prussian Blue.

Proofing

13 Apr

I’m spending the weekend at the fabulous Trefeglwys Print Studio doing some etchings with master printmaker, Andrew Baldwin. I have been working on an aquatint today, on a zinc plate.

Here’s the first proof. It’s too dark so I tried thinning the ink with extender but it didn’t lighten it enough so I spent the last hour or so scraping areas of the plate to reduce the intensity of the aquatint. Tomorrow I’ll do another proof print to see if it works.

All About Eve…

12 Apr

Last night, Husb and I went to our local cinema to see a link up with National Theatre Live in London broadcasting a performance of the play All About Eve, directed by Ivo van Hove and starring the superlative Gillian Anderson, whose performance was outstanding. The whole cast were tremendous and the set design was brilliant. Of course I had a scribble. Just before the lights went down, the TV presenter Kirsty Wark did an introduction and there was just enough light to do a quick sketch of her looming above us.

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Not a flattering look for her though. The play is wonderful and it’s great to be able to see it locally without the expense of travelling to London.

 

Gouache And Black Paper

11 Apr

gouache 1

Yesterday I visited a fabulous exhibition by Swansea-based artist, Tim Kelly at Volcano, and browsed through one of his sketchbooks which was made up of black paper. It looks like he used gouache and gel pens (although I may be wrong) and I really liked the effect. I happen to have had a black paper sketchbook, some gouache paints and a rather smart Winsor & Newton water pot knocking around for some years now that I haven’t used. So I had a bit of a play. And I like the way the paint went on the paper, the way it holds the brushstroke, the way the paint looks. I think I could get into some experimentation with this. It’s important to take some time out to experiment with new materials, I think.

“Could It Be Possible”

10 Apr

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Husb and I dropped by Volcano on Swansea’s (infamous) High Street today to check out their new exhibition, “Could It Be Possible” by Tim Kelly, one of my favourite contemporary artists whose art practice is completely immersed in painting and drawing. I love his work, it’s vibrant, intuitive and accomplished. He also creates installations featuring drawings including the one above which has a large black-paper sketchbook full of the most sumptuous drawings in pen and gouache (I think).

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The exhibition runs until April 29th and it’s definitely worth taking a look if you’re in the city centre.

Flowing

9 Apr

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Thinking and planning what to work on next. I want to develop a series of large woodcuts working with a retired female soldier and life model, so I’m looking back through my sketchbooks at the work I have already with her done over the past three years to get the creative juices flowing. I like working with older models, particularly women because we’re so often ‘disappeared’ in our youth-obsessed society.

 

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