Tag Archives: relief prints

Cutting The Stones

25 Mar
Vinyl drawn and ready to cut

Vinyl drawn and ready to cut

I do a lot of drawings and many of them become the basis of prints. I’ve selected 9 of my recent drawings of ancient Neolithic stone monuments to develop into linocuts. Well, I’m using soft cut vinyl instead of lino but the final print will look the same. The vinyl is very easy to cut so my cutting tools go through them with little resistance. I started off by dividing my 30 x 30 cms vinyl block into 9 squares and then redrawing my stones in reverse using a white conte crayon.


Vinyl - first cut

Vinyl – first cut

Then I cut into them with my Flexcut tools, using the Flexistrop to keep the tools sharp. I’ve kept the cutting minimal at this stage; I’ll check out the image by taking a rubbing with tissue paper and a block of graphite to check what’s there and cut into them some more if I need to. It’s better to cut too little rather than too much – you can always cut out a bit more, but you can’t put any back.

Dark Lady

6 Aug


I’ve spent a couple of days cataloguing my work, a task I’ve been putting off for ages. I’ve rediscovered pieces I’d completely forgotten about, like this block print I made some years ago. I went through a phase of cutting nudes in lino and then went off it. I don’t  know why. Now I’ve found this again I really like it. Printed onto Zercoll 145 gsm paper with Intaglio Printmaker relief ink.

Enter Rocky The Dragon and The Suicide Method.

5 Oct

Reduction Lino Print: Rocky The Bearded Dragon.


This is a very geeky blog today. I was chatting to some printmakers on LinkedIn earlier about the ‘suicide’ method of block printing [we love talking technique], where you produce a multi-coloured print using the same block, by progressively cutting away each colour. You end up totally destroying the block, so there’s little room for error and there’s no chance of ever doing a reprinted edition. I started this reduction lino block of family pet Rocky, a bearded dragon, by putting a digital photo through the Artistic: Cutout filter on Adobe Photoshop and printing out an image to the size of the block I was using. I also reversed the image and after transferring it, cut out the fragments of white and printed a pale orangey-yellow. Next I removed the orangey-yellow areas and overprinted in a Rhodamine Red mixed with white to give a rich pink. I use Intaglio Printmakers Oil Relief inks. I printed wet on wet to get a slightly ‘fizzy’ surface texture and to encourage some slight colour mixing. Then I removed the pink areaas and printed a rich brown, then grey and finally black. Lots of work! I ended up with an edition of 18 perfect prints, each about 15cms x 10cms.  He’s a real cuteypie.

The Elder in Art. Having a Rant!

3 Oct

We live in a society that does not, in my opinion, value our elders. They are marginalised from mass media; stereotyped when they do appear; and shuffled off into ‘care’ homes when they become too inconvenient. Our civilisation has an unhealthy obsession with youth to the extent that barely middle aged people have their faces fixed into a vile rictus grin with botox or surgery, fooling themselves that they look young. They don’t. Young people don’t have stretched skin. We don’t venerate, celebrate or respect age, wisdom, experience, that ability to take the long view.

As artists we should be subverting society’s conventions by giving visibility to the invisible; respect to the disrespected. I have always worked with the human figure, mostly, though not exclusively, through the nude and it’s demoralising going to group shows that feature figurative art and finding that almost all the models are young, conventionally beautiful, female and painted/drawn/printed in coy ‘tasteful’ poses which is an euphemism for soft core porn. What about elder women and elder men? Don’t they deserve to be portrayed and exhibited too? As a baby-boomer I’m acutely aware that if we don’t make a stand, then pretty soon we’ll start disappearing from public view as well.

Relief print: Elder Woman of Hunza.

This portrait is a block print I did based on a photograph I took of an elder in the Hunza region of Pakistan in the North East territories, near the Chinese border during my trip in 2007. She is wearing the traditional Hunza hat which is heavily embroidered. Women in this region are well-educated and economically active, with a reasonable standard of living and good health. Yes, her face has wrinkles but she also shines with joy and I’ve had terrific feedback whenever I’ve shown her and she’s being collected too!

I cut and incised the image into an offcut of signwriter’s foamboard and printed in oil-based relief ink onto Zercoll 145gsm paper in a limited edition of 10.


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