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Winter Pud

11 Dec

syrup pud

I’m winding down a bit for the holiday season and spending more time with friends and family and socialising and really enjoying cooking for people. We had some lovely young relatives around this evening and after a humungous meal, we tucked into a hot steamed sponge pudding, made with butter and golden syrup and served with lashings of custard.

The Nights Draw In…

5 Dec

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More digital kitty. It’s nice drawing the curtains on the dark as we rapidly approach the longest night, it’s dark around teatime now. Sparta Puss likes hanging out with us, dozing on her pouffé with a crocheted blanket. It’s an easy option to scribble her while she snoozes. I’m using my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet with a free app called Markers.

Digital Kitty

4 Dec

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It’s cold and dark outside and the curtains are drawn and Sparta Puss has settled down to do some grooming in comfort. So I grabbed the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet and did a quick scribble using a free Markers app.

Cool Clockwork

3 Dec

 

ugears 4

 

Just having a break from making art for a couple of days as the past few months have been so full on. It’s time to decorate the Xmas tree and I recently bought these wooden clockwork kits from Ugears which are made up into some pretty cool (I think) little tree decorations.

 

The tree looks good but Sparta Puss is eyeing up the baubles. She’s calming down a bit, though. When she was younger, she used to climb it and attack it so we had a few years of hanging it from the ceiling.

 

Relaxing

2 Dec

 

cake and jam

I’ve had a weekend off! It’s hard to do that when you’re self-employed so it’s a real treat when it happens. I saw lots of family and friends and I also did one of my favourite things when I’m relaxing, I did a load of cooking. I emptied the freezer of the last of our allotment fruit from the summer and I cooked up some preserves – apricot, damson and a cheeky jostaberry gin jam. And I made a chocolate buttercream sponge, topped with Maltesers, as a present for our niece who recently had a beautiful baby boy. She deserves it. Husb made the buttercream – he’s some sort of buttercream genius.

cawl

Then I cooked up a large pot of Cawl (a traditional Welsh stew) so thick I could stand the wooden spoon in it. I served it with suet dumplings, proper comfort food for the weather we’re having. Back to work with a vengeance tomorrow!

And Breathe!

30 Nov

So, after two and a half months of research, preparation, creative blocks, blood, sweat and a lot of hard work, I finally finished carving my very large block of wood and did the first print. And breathe! The block has been sealed with three coats of shellac and methylated spirits (mixed 50:50) and I am using a Japanese lightweight paper, Hosho, in white for the main print and mulberry papers in red and blue for chine collé. The ink is Caligo / Cranfield’s Safe Wash and I’m taking the print by hand with Japanese barens.

 

I inked up mostly in black with some words picked out in red that I did with a different roller. I also prepared and applied mulberry chine collé. Then Husb lent me a hand to put the Hosho paper onto the block and to rub the back with the Japanese barens.

5 first proof

And here it comes. The first proof. The rest will be revealed in the New Year 😀 This is a commission for the Sky Art 50 programming which is scheduled for March 2019.

 

sky-arts art 50 mash up

 

 

Drawing Blood!

25 Nov

cut 3

I draw lots of things. Today I drew blood! I’m back to reality after our short break to Italy and cracking on with carving my large woodcut (80 x 120 cms), a commission from Sky Arts TV channel. One of the occupational hazards of carving blocks for relief printing is the razor sharp tools that I use. I keep them in good condition with a leather strop and abrasive wax (below).

strop

My attention slipped for a split second, the tool slipped for a split second, and blood spurted out of one of my fingers. Oh well, could be worse. I’ve almost finished carving and it’s my first injury, so I’m not doing too badly.

 

sky-arts art 50 mash up

 

 

It’s All A Bit Zen.

13 Nov

cut 1

 

The carving begins! The final drawing has been transferred in reverse onto the MDF block in compressed charcoal. Then I redrew everything with a brush and walnut ink. And now I’m cutting. After all the rush and stress of the past few weeks, it feels a bit Zen to quietly carve into the wood, carefully scribing the lines and curves with nothing but the sound of my breathing to accompany me. It’s very meditative.

 

cut 2

This is a large woodcut commissioned by Sky Arts television channel for ART50. You can read more about what I’m doing here.

 

 

sky-arts art 50 mash up

 

 

 

 

Getting On With It

12 Nov

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I’m on the last leg now with “Here Be Dragons”, my commission for Sky Arts, getting my final design transferred into a large sheet of MDF. I’m back in my studio at home, with Helen Finney’s portrait of me looking down as I work.

 

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I transferred it using detail paper, that had a tracing of the design in compressed charcoal. Once that was on the MDF, I went over each line with a good quality squirrel hair brush and home-made walnut ink. Tomorrow, the cutting begins!

 

sky-arts art 50 mash up

Tart And Dumplings

1 Oct Apple pie and dumplings on a wire tray.

tartanddumplings

It’s Autumn! Time for Autumn food. I have been given some windfall cooking apples and I had a few very ripe plums so I got the butter out of the fridge, made some pastry and turned the fruit into four apple dumplings and a large plum and apple tart. I would have drawn them, but there was no time as Husb takes no prisoners when it comes to pastries!

 

 

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