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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…

 

 

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.

Andraste

27 Mar

Andraste is a warrior goddess of the ancient Britons; she was invoked by Boudicca before battles with the invading Romans around 2,000 years ago. She is the Britons’ equivalent of the Irish / Celtic war goddess Morrigan.

May 6

Andraste The Warrior

For over a decade now I have been working with a male life model who is also a soldier and have developed a large body of work, drawings and various forms of printmaking, around the concept of The Warrior. I have also more recently been drawing a female retired soldier and I am thinking of developing these drawings … and more to come … into another body of work focused on The Warrior, but this time the female aspect. And I’m interested in linking this to the ancient mythology of the war goddess. Early days yet.

Next Steps

27 Mar

Phew! Finally, my commission for Sky Arts TV channel’s UK-wide arts project, ART50, ended tonight with the broadcast of the visual arts films, including the one about my artwork, “Here Be Dragons”. And now I have to decide what my next creative steps will be. I liked working with giant woodblock and text and chine collé so I think I will develop some ideas that have been popping up in my head from out of the ether, I might develop a text piece in Welsh. I’ve been playing with my original on Photoshop, cutting, pasting and redefining segments to make a new image. I might bring this, or something similar, into the real world.

Dragon eye 2

And I want to pick up my figurative work as well. I haven’t done any formal work with nudes for well over a year but now I have some very definite ideas based around a particular model. Time to get back in the saddle and make some new art!

June 5

Andraste – The Warrior

So Excited!

25 Mar

I’m getting excited now. The Sky Arts TV project I started working on what seems like aeons ago …. about 9 months …. is finally being aired tomorrow, Tuesday March 26th, along with the other visual arts projects from 9pm.

 

I was commissioned to create a new flag for Britain – that’s opening up a can of wurms as I’m Welsh and we Welsh have never been represented on the Union flag. The film shows my creative process, how I researched and developed what eventually turned out to be a massive woodcut print. It’s called “Here Be Dragons” which not only reflects the dragon on the Welsh flag, but it’s also an ancient phrase that used to be written onto maps to mark “dangerous and unknown territory” which is where I feel we are in the UK now.

 

Here Be Dragons small

 

“Here Be Dragons” also works as a spoken word piece, read aloud and the colour is a combination of chine collé and specific inking. If you subscribe to Sky TV or NOW TV, please drop by tomorrow at 9 and have a look at it.

 

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