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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.

single drop .jpg

Drawing Black

16 Apr

 

1555447157238869665698.png

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.

Flowing

9 Apr

Chris 6

 

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.

 

#Caturday!

6 Apr

sparta laptop a
Some cats on a Saturday evening because it’s #Caturday!

Africa In Madeira

4 Apr

 

Madeira 2

Husb and I spent a few days in Madeira, an amazing place, and we went and explored the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens and Museum in Funchal, after a crazy ride up the mountain in a cable car swinging wildly in the wind.

Madeira 4

 

There’s a fabulous permanent exhibition, “African Passion” from sculptors from Zimbabwe in the 1960s.  I had a scribble with some conté crayons in white, sanguine and black onto grey tinted handmade paper. The two beautiful sculped heads that I drew are by Boira Mteki (1946-1991).

Madeira 3

 

It’s rare to be able to see so many, over 1,000, artworks from Africa from many artists, and the effect is extraordinary and the tropical gardens surrounding the museum are also spectacular.

A Bit Of A Lift

3 Apr

Husb and I have spent a few days in Madeira, a gorgeous mountainous island in the Atlantic. The climate is wonderful so we set out with a picnic and drawing materials to climb and explore the upper reaches of Camara do Lobos. The little terracotta tiled houses are scattered higgledy piggledy up the steep slopes, reached either by winding roads snaking their way up precipices or via incredibly steep footpaths and steps that are almost vertical, and in places quite terrifying, but much more interesting as they lead to all sorts of nooks and crannies.

It seems that every spare scrap of land is cultivated and we passed papayas, tangerines, figs, bananas, dates, custard apples, avocados and fruits we weren’t familiar with, possibly loquats and tamarillo. But above all, grape vines, millions of them. We stopped to eat our sandwiches and I had a scribble onto handmade paper tinted grey, using Daler Rowney soft pastels. When I got back to the hotel, I thought the drawing needed something to lift it a bit so I touched up the wooden struts supporting the vibes using a white pastel. I think it’s made the world of difference.

An International Bunch

1 Apr

workstation

A Temporary Print Workstation. This is how I print small blocks at home. I use the top of my plans chest but you can use any surface – desk, table, kitchen work surface… Cover the area with old newspaper (or similar) stuck down with masking tape.

Left to right:

  1. Registration sheet (I blogged about this 2 days ago)
  2. Printing area – where you actually rub the paper onto the inked block – I use Japanese barens
  3. Gluing area – for preparing the chine collé (I use Pritt stick – always use really good glue). Click here to find out more about chine collé.
  4. The inking area – see yesterdays blog for more on this.
  5. At the back I’ve put the stack of pre-cut printmaking paper and the prepared chine collé papers.
  6. I use Cranfield Caligo Safewash relief ink (made in Wales); Hosho Japanese paper for the print; and for the chine collé I use Indian hand-made recycled sari paper. I’ve used vinyl for the block, inked with an excellent roller from Intaglio Printmaker in London. And chine collé is a French term translated as China collage. An international bunch.

 

Easy Peasy Quick Ink

31 Mar

prep 4

I often print small blocks at home as I can do them by hand and don’t need to use the fabulous Columbian press at Swansea Print Workshop. This is how I set up a little inking station without fuss or mess.

Stick some newspaper onto your work surface with a bit of masking tape.

Stick a piece of ordinary white paper down onto it, with masking tape. I used a sheet of A4 size white computer printout paper.

Stick a sheet of thin but sturdy PVC / plastic / acetate over it with some masking tape. I used acetate document covers you get with comb binding machines.

There it is. Easy Peasy.

 

 

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…

 

 

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