Tag Archives: @AndrewBaldwin11

Mad Mari

14 Sep

mad mari 1

So as well as working on a copper mezzotint plate at Andrew Baldwin’s weekend course at Trefeglwys Studios last weekend, there was also time to prepare an aluminium plate with coffee lift and spit bite. I used another of my drawings of the traditional Welsh Mari Lwyd from one of my sketchbooks. The Mari Lwyd is weird looking at the best of times but in this drawing she looks proper mad. The first stage is to degrease the aluminium plate (soy sauce and whiting powder) and then draw onto it with instant coffee. I used brushes and a large-ish nib pen and a bit of splatter. Then once the coffee was dry, I coated it with Andrew’s B.I.G. etching ground and baked it in the oven for 4 minutes to set it. Then it was washed in cold water to lift off the coffee, leaving the design showing through the black ground (above).

More teccie stuff tomorrow ……

The Mari Lwyd (Grey Mare) is an ancient Welsh tradition rooted in the celebration of the Celtic horse goddess, Epona, and appears around the New Year, always accompanied by a band of revellers who often travel from pub to pub. The tradition was almost wiped out by Christianity and just a few Maris were left in Wales by the mid-20th century, but there has been a strong revival in recent years. The Mari Lwyd is a life-sized puppet based on a real horse skull and is therefore very heavy. The Mari’s skull is usually decorated with flowers, ribbons and bells and the eye sockets are often filled as well, giving a sinister appearance. She wears a white shroud to hide the puppeteer underneath, who operates a contraption that snaps the skull’s mouth open and closed.

 

Mari 1

Mari Abertawe (the Swansea Mari Lwyd) celebrating the New Year in a local hostelry with her companions

 

Real horse skulls are quite hard to come by these days, but there are card flatpack ones available – see here.

 

 

The Double Drop

13 Sep

double drop 1

And the last thing I did with my mezzotint plate last weekend was a Double Drop! Trefeglwys Studio tutor, Andrew Baldwin, wanted us to get some experience of doing different things with our intaglio plates, not just printing in black. The Double Drop is a way of overprinting one colour over another to achieve a beautiful level of richness and depth. First, I inked up in orange and then took a conventional print, but stuck one end of the paper to the bed with masking tape before it went through the roller, so it was trapped when it had been printed. Then by a complex system of registration, the plate was removed, cleaned and inked with a Prussian Blue and was overprinted onto the orange. The result is rich and beautiful.

 

double drop 2

The first drop, the plate is printed in orange, then cleaned and inked ready for the second drop.

 

Andrew has developed his own non-toxic etching ground – B.I.G. or Baldwin’s Etching Ground and he runs regular workshops at his studio in the beautiful countryside of Powys. Printmakers come from all over the world to study this technique and there is an ancient cottage next door for people to stay in.

The image is developed from an original drawing I did of a Mari Lwyd, an ancient Welsh tradition based on the Celtic horse goddess Epona – a life size puppet made from a horse’s skull that welcomes in the New Year.

 

 

The Final Proof

12 Sep

final proof

I worked on my Mari Lwyd mezzotint plate again, after doing the first state print on the second morning of the weekend course I did at Trefeglwys Print Studio. I needed to burnish the highlights a lot more and lighten the Mari’s feet. Then onto another proof print which turned out to be the final proof because I’m very happy with the quality of the image and I don’t think I need to do any more plate work. I used Charbonnel black etching ink onto soaked Hannemuhle paper.

 

The First State

11 Sep

 

first state

 

I spent the first day of my weekend etching workshop at Trefeglwys Print Studio developing a mezzotint plate. With two other printmakers, I worked until quite late and got up early ready for day 2. I was ready to print the first state – which is the very first print off a plate, to see whether it’s ready to go or if it needs more work. Advised by Trefeglwys printmaker Andrew Baldwin, I used Charbonnel black etching ink onto Somerset paper, soaked for about half an hour. The print is nearly there ….. I need to strengthen the light tones around the head of the Mari Lwyd and do more work into the copper plate on the feet, which have all but disappeared. The tones on the clothing need to be lightened too, with a scraper and burnisher. It’s surprising how dark the image still is, despite looking quite light on the copper plate.

 

 

Scraping And Burnishing

10 Sep

plate prep3

I spent a very busy and creative weekend with two other printmakers from Swansea at Andrew Baldwin’s Trefeglwys Print Studio in mid-Wales, studying his non-toxic intaglio printmaking methods. We started with the ‘faux mezzotint’ technique, using his own make of etching ground to create a pitted surface, like a mezzotint plate and then, after transferring our drawings, set about creating the image by scraping and burnishing light and white tones onto the surface of the plate.

plate prep4

 

It’s a long and detailed process and I worked on it all afternoon and into the evening, stopping for a meal and then back into the studio until about 9.30. We were all shattered so after a quick cup of tea, we hit our pillows by 10 pm.

 

Doodlenotes

26 Jan

austerity-1

Husb and I recently went to a talk at Swansea’s excellent Galerie Simpson by Owen Hatherley, journalist, author, social commentator and an inspiration behind the recent Austerity Nostalgia exhibition. It was fascinating and I wanted to make notes to remind me. I had my red-embroidered-covered-lined-notebook with me and a nice Faber Castell drawing pen.

austerity-2

I think visually and hate making notes entirely in writing, I prefer to doodle them, even if it’s just playing with the fonts. I find them far more memorable than pages of cramped handwriting and I’m more motivated to re-read them.

owen-hatherly-galerie-simpson

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Coffee And Spit Bite

25 Jul

I’m going to be at Swansea Print Workshop tomorrow and I’ll be preparing some aluminium plates ready for some coffee bite etching, using some of my drawings of Neolithic stone monuments for inspiration. Here’s a blog I did a while back about this technique, which was invented by Andrew Baldwin of Aberystwyth University, an expert in non-toxic etching……

More geeky printmaking stuff from last weekend’s B.I.G. Etching course with Andrew Baldwin at Swansea Print Workshop. The aluminium plate was degreased with whiting and soy sauce to get it re…

Source: Coffee And Spit Bite

 

I have been travelling across South Wales with Rhondda-born archaeologist Dewi Bowen and Swansea film maker Melvyn Williams, hunting the wild megalith, accompanied by my portable drawing board, portfolio of Fabriano paper and a bag full of assorted artist’s materials.  Dewi is researching his latest book on Neolithic monuments and Melvyn is making a documentary film of our literary and artistic adventures.

If you want to know more about my solo show in The Worker’s Gallery in the Rhondda Valley in September, please click here.

And if you want to see some of my other artwork, please click on the image below.

Quoit

Copper And Stone

7 May
The first proof off the new etching plate

The first proof off the new etching plate

I etched two plates at the recent course at Swansea Print Workshop with Andrew Baldwin of Trefeglwys Print Studio, one aluminium, one copper. I’ve just done a first proof from the copper plate. I used a hardground and the traditional technique of drawing into it with an etching needle than adding aquatint. Andrew demonstrated how to do aquatint using his non-toxic B.I.G. process which involved putting the grounded plate through the etching press with a piece of emery paper face down on top of the ground. This cuts tiny holes into the ground which will etch as an aquatint. I did several dips into Ferric Chloride, ‘stopping’ out areas as I went along to develop the different tones.

 

Then I cleaned the B.I.G. ground off the plate, dried it and inked it up to take the first proof. It’s paler than I wanted it, possibly I needed to etch it for longer, possibly it’s a result of using a very soft ‘drypoint’ ink with a soft Somerset paper. I need to try another proof with a heavier, stiffer ink to see if it makes a difference, otherwise I’m going to have to do some work on the plate.

Andrew Baldwin’s new book comes out in October in conjunction with the opening of the ‘BIG Exhibition’. The book will give step by step guides to all the processes that can be used with BIG. The call for entries for the exhibition is open from 1st June and is open to all who have made prints using BIG. All entries should first be sent to Andrew via atb@aber.ac.uk. The exhibition will open at The School of Art in October and then travel to other galleries in UK before going over to USA.

The subject is the King’s Quoit stone monument at Manorbier in Pembrokeshire. I’m travelling around South West Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book on Neolithic / Bronze Age monuments. His previous book on the stones of Ancient Siluria (South East Wales) can be found here. Accompanying us is film maker Melvyn Williams who is recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. I’m currently working on a series of expressive drawings of ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

 

The First Proof!

5 May

First proof

I spent this afternoon at an Open Access session at Swansea Print Workshop, ready to take a first proof from my coffee-lift-spit-bite aluminium etching plate, developed at last weekend’s BIG Etching course with Andrew Baldwin. I chose a soft textured Somerset paper from St. Cuthbert’s Mill and Intaglio Printmaker’s Drypoint Shop Mix etching ink. It’s softer than the usual etching ink, specially designed for delicate drypoint plates, but I fancied using it on this because I like its soft smudginess.

 

I’m very pleased with this first proof of one of the standing stones I have been drawing over the past 2 months. The coffee lift technique is wonderfully free and suits my drawing style – I did most of the drawing onto the aluminium plate with a dip pen and a reed pen. I like the splashes and dribbles, so much more spontaneous than traditional copper plate etching with a hard ground.

Andrew Baldwin’s new book comes out in October in conjunction with the opening of the ‘BIG Exhibition’. The book will give step by step guides to all the processes that can be used with BIG. The call for entries for the exhibition is open from 1st June and is open to all who have made prints using BIG. All entries should first be sent to Andrew via atb@aber.ac.uk. The exhibition will open at The School of Art in October and then travel to other galleries in UK before going over to USA.

I’m travelling around South West Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book on Neolithic / Bronze Age monuments. His previous book on the stones of Ancient Siluria (South East Wales) can be found here. Accompanying us is film maker Melvyn Williams who is recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. I’m currently working on a series of expressive drawings of ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

 

Coffee And Spit Bite

4 May
The plate ready to print

The plate ready to print

More geeky printmaking stuff from last weekend’s B.I.G. Etching course with Andrew Baldwin at Swansea Print Workshop. The aluminium plate was degreased with whiting and soy sauce to get it ready for drawing on with instant coffee solution. I forgot to take a photo of mine being drawn, but Andrew Baldwin has kindly lent me a photo from his forthcoming book (below). Once I finished the coffee drawing I gave it a quick flash in the oven to dry it and then rolled over a layer of Andrew’s B.I.G. etching ground. I baked it for 6 minutes and then bathed it in warm water, which lifted off the areas that had been drawn with the liquid coffee, revealing the areas to take an aquatint and spit bite, which will be the darker areas of the print. Then a quick dunk in copper sulphate solution to etch a light grey aquatint, giving the metal a bit of a ‘tooth’.

 

 

The copper sulphate does some chemistry and reacts with the aluminium, effervescing a red residue. Once that happens, the etching process stops and the residue washed off to reveal the lightly aquatinted surface beneath. Once it dried, I added layers of localised etching using a brush and concentrated copper sulphate solution to darken the selected areas. Then I scrubbed off the B.I.G. ground with non-toxic paint stripper and a stiff scrubbing brush. Now it’s ready to take a first proof, which I will do at an Open Access session at Swansea Print Workshop tomorrow.

 

The image is of a standing stone I drew recently on one of my adventures through South Wales hunting the wild megalith. Please click here if you would like to see more of my artworks.

%d bloggers like this: