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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.

Registration

30 Mar

prep 2

Yeah I know, really boring but so vital for printmakers. I’ve been printing up a simple one-colour linocut with chine collé as a small edition  so the registration is fairly simple.

 

 

After you’ve cut your printmaking paper to size for your edition, use one of the sheets as a guide to draw it out onto a sheet of ordinary white paper.

Then place your block where you want it positioned on your final print and draw around that.

Finally, stick it onto your work surface with a bit of masking tape AND THEN…

Cover it with a sheet of thin but sturdy plastic / acetate – I used one of those clear PVC covers you get with comb binding machines but any thin sheet of smooth, clear plastic will do.  Stick it down with a couple of pieces of masking tape.

 

Ready to print…

 

 

Chine Collé

29 Mar

chine 4

I have just printed an edition of my little Mari Lwyd linocuts with chine collé to add flashes of colour. I use hand-made paper made from recycled silk saris, a lovely range of colours and lots of fibres.

 

 

From left to right: ripping up the paper for cine collé, putting it onto an inked block – it must be glue side UP; taking the print with a traditional Japanese baren.

 

I used Cranfield Caligo Safewash oil-based relief ink in black, Japanese Hosho paper and Pritt Stick glue. Don’t skimp on the glue – I always use either Pritt or UHU. The combination of Safewash ink and Hosho paper is excellent for taking relief prints by hand. This little edition is heading off across The Pond to Wingtip Press in Idaho USA for the Leftovers IX print exchange.

Little Lino Leftovers

28 Mar

Leftovers

I had a busy afternoon printing up my little “Mari Lwyd” lino block for the annual “Leftovers” print exchange organised by Wingtip Press in Boise, Idaho, USA. Wingtip’s founder, Amy Nack, describes it’s beginnings,

After cleaning out the flat files and finding dozens of little scraps of printmaking papers jamming up the file drawers, the folks at Wingtip Press in Boise, Idaho realized they probably weren’t alone with the dilemma of what to do with all those too-precious-to-toss leftover paper scraps.
An invitation went out to fellow printmakers to participate in a print exchange to use all those lovely little leftover scraps to create a small edition of prints. Artists submit an edition of 15 prints of any size up to and NO LARGER than 5″ x 7″ and receive a dozen prints in return. One print is held for exhibitions and one print is included in a silent auction to raise funds for the Hunger Relief Task Force.”

It’s now in it’s ninth year and attracts entries from printmakers all over the world and also exhibits the prints internationally, across the USA, New Zealand, China and Wales.

Swansea Jack

17 Mar

Carl Gough performs “Swansea Jack”

Husb and I spent a lovely couple of hours at a performance of “Swansea Jack”, researched, written and performed by the talented storyteller Carl Gough. We people from Swansea are nicknamed “Jacks”, supposedly after the heroic black Labrador dog who saved many people from drowning in the 1930s. Of course, I had a quick scribble, in my little red cloth covered sketchbook. I used a ballpoint pen, I love them for quick sketches because they flow so easily.

Keep On Sketching

21 Jan

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Sometimes the creative juices don’t flow like they should, there’s a few artists I’ve been chatting to online who are in the same predicament. I find it helps to keep working through it. You don’t have to create great art, just keep doing the exercises. It’s like a musician practicing their scales or chords. I like drawing with ballpoint pens, they flow nicely. I did these scribbles from photos of Mari Lwyds.

 

 

 

 

Doing A Stretch

16 Jan

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Sketching en plein air at Gellionen Chapel last weekend was like sketching anywhere else, the first one or two drawings are quick warm-up sketches, a bit like doing stretches before exercising or running. They get you into the mood, into the flow and also recognise that drawing is a very physical activity. This is my first sketch of the day, very quick, intuitive, getting a feel for the space that the subject occupies.

 

Big Scary ‘Oss

15 Jan

gellionen 3

Here’s another drawing from my visit to Gellionen Chapel last Sunday for the service featuring the Ystrad Mari Lwyd. There are different incarnations of the Mari Lwyd across the UK and in parts of England she pops up as the Hobby Horse or ‘Obby ‘Oss and is usually associated with celebrations around May Day, rather than the Welsh New Year (Hen Galan).

When I draw en plein air, in public, I have to work quickly as people tend to move about. I’ve found that doing two or three drawings at the same time means that I can respond flexibly and switch between them. I got up close to the Mari a few times and managed to draw her face on. She alternated between being very mischievous and extremely scary.

It’s That Horse Again!

13 Jan

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Husb and I visited the beautiful Gellionen Chapel this morning for their annual Hen Galan service with the Ystradgynlais Mari Lwyd. Hen Galan is an old tradition in parts of West Wales where people celebrate the New Year according to the old Julian calendar, which places the new year around two weeks after the official one. Of course, I had to have a scribble!

 

Drawing Obsessively

1 Jan

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I’m getting a bit obsessed with drawing Mari Lwyds; I’m thinking of doing some larger artworks incorporating them so I’m drawing them from lots of different angles as preparation studies. I’m choosing random photos from the Internet at the moment, but I’ll be going out to do some en plein air drawings on the 13th and 19th of January. The first is an appearance by the Ystrad Mari (from Ystradgynlais) at Gellionen Chapel, the second a ‘meet’ or even a ‘mayhem’ of Mari Lwyds at the Chepstow Wassail (I don’t know if there’s a collective noun for them).

 

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