Over the past couple of days I've been starting to think about the journey I've been on in 2018 - it sounds cliche and a little corny, but it really has been a journey - and a blooming good one! This time last year I was in a very different place with my art - just starting to feel my way around what was out there and the possibilities of taking it forward... roll on to this December and as I look back there has been so much change and forward movement with it all! However, I also realised how long it has been since I blogged - so thought I better do a quick catch up of the last few months as they have been busy!! I've included plenty of photos too! (The little chap at the top is a Long Tailed Tit - my newest linocut card for this Christmas).
October saw my second workshop at The Farthing Gallery Workshop in Kenilworth. It was a fabulous day and the ladies produced some great linocut prints - this was the start of the Christmas season as some of the ladies made their festive cards! I really hope they continue to print as they made some great images. I think my favourite part of the workshop is where they print their linocut for the first time - that's a part of the process that always gets me too - the feeling of relief of it working after spending so long carving the lino, and also the "Oh goodness - I actually made that!!" feeling when you peel the paper back for the first time and see what's been created!
I also finished off a new print in October - ready to launch at Discover Gather Give at the beginning of November. #ProjectPuffin - otherwise known as Jack Puffin. It was one I'd wanted to do for a while - and once I had finally seen a Puffin at Bempton Cliffs in the summer, I was able to start - it was based on a drawing I did from a great photo taken by my lovely friend Sarah, and it is called Jack after her little boy.
Discover Gather Give - Contemporary Arts Fair - on 2nd/3rd/4th November at Stratford Town Hall was a fabulous experience - I was over the moon to have one of my Dodo images chosen to be on the flyers and banners advertising the Art Fair - on the drive in ready to set up for the PV on the Friday I spotted one of the roadside banners for the first time - I may have squealed a little! The fair was excellent - such a wonderful relaxed vibe and a beautifully curated selection of a wide range of artists. I met some wonderful people - artists, customers (both new and returning) and mum and I had a lovely weekend. Friends travelled over for the PV too which was really lovely. Judith - the curator and director of the event really works hard to think of everything for the event and this is what makes it such a varied and beautiful fair - plus the great setting too. Hidden behind my trusty doors was a large bust of a chap who worked very well as my hat stand!!
November and December were busy with fairs and bits and bobs! Next up was the Craft and Flea event at Coventry Cathedral - my doors looked very small in the vast Cathedral. An amazing setting for a fair! I also launched my hand stamped Christmas Cards and started to offer a Naked Card service via my website too - cards can be purchased without the cellophane wrappers they need to keep them clean at fairs. This has proved popular with the orders I've received :-) I also stepped away from etsy and decided to try and concentrate solely on selling though my own webstore. I have more options doing this with selling products, although it's hard work getting the word out and about about it!
Some of my framed prints were part of Slate Art Gallery's Christmas Pop-up at The White Horse too - unfortunately I was too poorly to go so no piccies :-( Then it was on to Christmas Wildfest at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust's Brandon Marsh centre - the first time I haven't had to explain what the birds are on my cards and prints as there were plenty of bird enthusiasts!! The following weekend I managed a last minute spot at the Santa's Little Makers Market at Fargo in Coventry where I had a change of elf helper and my Dad came along for the evening. Plenty of Christmas songs and getting into the Christmas Spirit!
December also saw us attending the Private View of the Coventry Open for 2018. This is a biannual event where artists in and around Coventry can enter their work to be part of an exhibition at The Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry City Centre. Three hundred and thirty pieces of art work were submitted, and 99 chosen for the exhibition. I am very proud to be one of the eighteen artists to have two pieces of work selected for the exhibition - so White Tailed Eagle and Wren are currently hanging in the Herbert in Coventry as part of the exhibition. I have my name in a catalogue and everything! It really is a great exhibition with a real variety of works - well worth a visit! Plus there is a 'Peoples' Choice' vote too - so if you fancy popping a slip in the voting box..... ;-)
It really has been a busy end to the year! I have to finish with my thank yous - firstly to Dave and my wonderful parents. Dave for having to share the house with me and the mess and clutter that comes with my printing, trying to store my art stuff, pictures and fair-going-bumph around the house as well as for his ongoing patience with waiting for me to 'just finish this bit'!! *heart*
My mum and dad for just being awesome and giving so much of their time to come and keep me company at different fairs, helping build my doors to be able to use them to display my work and just for the belief and encouragement that they never fail to give me. Thank you xxx
And then also to everyone who has given me the opportunity to do so many of these fabulous events this year. Thank you. I have met so many fabulous people over the year at different events - artists and customers - and thank you for your kind words about my work - it keeps a little light going even when sales aren't going quite so well!!! Never underestimate the importance of 'Just A Card'. It really does help and support independent traders - one card can make all the difference! And thank you to all those who have bought my work over the year - be it a card or a print. I still have to pinch myself sometimes!
Thanks also have to go to Rich at WreckedAngle Framing- he always creates fabulous quality handmade frames for my prints, and has helped out at last minute times too - please go and have a look at his website!! There's more on there than just picture frames!
2019 is beginning to be planned: starting with new prints and drawings to be made at the beginning of the year and then hopefully getting some fairs booked in too and I will be exploring venues to be able to teach more linocut classes as well - keep your eye out! I will be returning to Warwickshire Open Studios in the Summer in a new venue which I am Very Excited about :-) More to come on that later....
For now, thank you for reading to the end - and I wish you all a fabulous 2019.
P.S - to keep in touch with what's going on you can sign up to a newsletter HERE (I promise I don't send many!) as well as being able to follow me on twitter, instagram and facebook - all links can be found on the 'Welcome' page too or by clicking on the words! Thank you xx
Oh my goodness, where has the time gone?! I'm quite shocked that my last blog was in August. I'm hoping to get back into the habit of blogging my printmaking rather than have it all swept up along with other things.
After a quiet end to August after Art in the Park, September has definitely been busier!
Saturday 29th September was my first workshop at The Farthing Workshop in Kenilworth, and it was a fabulous day! I really enjoyed teaching the ladies about linocut, and I don't think I waffled too much! I am very proud of them and the prints that they created. What I am even more pleased with is that they now know methods that they can use to be able to print at home, and that you don't need any fancy stuff to be able to create great prints; I really hope they all keep it up. We had a great laugh at times too, as well as a good supply of tea and cake! I kept having to remind them to eat - especially around lunch time - as everyone was so focused. The day went very quickly.... Here they are in our lovely sunny setting, and their fab prints too...
I have another workshop in October - you can find the details on my Events page. (that should make a link!) If you fancy coming along, it would be worth giving the gallery a call to see if there are any spaces...
I'm also back printing again. I have #projectpuffin on the go currently, which I am going to get finished for my art fair at the beginning of November. If I have time I'm going to be turning him into a layered print as well as a mono-print - pictures to come soon. I've also started my Christmas cards that I'll be selling at my Autumn/Winter fairs.... no sneak peeks of that yet either, sorry! I also have a mega print plan under my hat - I have to draw him first, which I am hoping to do as part of my #inktober challenge (more on that below!).
You may have noticed a few website changes too - there's a button on my homepage now where you can sign up to a newsletter. I promise there won't be many and the first one, as a thank you for signing up, will include a discount code; which brings me very nicely to the next bit of news.... I've taken the plunge and will be opening a new web store on this site. It is much better than the last version I had on here and can offer better prices and separate shipping choices. (I'm sneaking away from Etsy as it's getting more expensive to run things on there) So if you sign up to the newsletter you can get some pennies off in the shop! I'll be selling my cards, digital prints and mini-prints through it; you'll still have to contact me directly to purchase my larger linocuts (the discount should be available on these too!). I finished uploading all of the product pictures today, so it will be launching in a week or so.
The Events page now also includes where you can find me at my Autumn/Winter fairs, kicking off with Discover, Gather, Give in Stratford-upon-Avon at the beginning of November (3rd and 4th) . Then to Craft and Flea at Coventry Cathedral on the 17th November before my final fair at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust's Brandon Marsh on the 4th December as part of their Wildfest!
Keep an eye out as you are travelling around Warwickshire to see if you can spot the Discover Gather Give banners.... you might recognise one of the images :-)
And finally, October sees the return of #inktober - a challenge of drawing every day, so if you fancy keeping up to date with what I'm doing you can follow me on instagram, facebook or twitter where I'll be posting my drawings.
That's enough for now. Time to walk the dogs in the sunshine!
This time last week we were bathed in sunshine and listening to the music coming from the music stage a stones throw from our gazebo at Art In The Park. This afternoon is much soggier, and I am being entertained by the European Championships as the Cricket is currently rained off!
And what a wonderful weekend it was! It was fabulous to see so many people - it was a very busy weekend, and thank you to everyone who came to say hello or to purchase a card or print. It was also very lovely for people to let me know that they follow my page on Facebook or Instagram too! I was sharing a gazebo with Don Mason, a really lovely chap who does beautiful paintings. I didn't get too much time to look around the park, but the atmosphere oozed with happiness and fun - I loved the brightly coloured knitted birds hanging from the trees, and I got to catch a glimpse of some of the different performances that were going on too. Of course we were in prime spot for the music tent, so got to hear some great music. It was also lovely to meet and talk to other Warwickshire Open Studio artists, meet other printmakers, as well as introducing folk to the wonder of printmaking. I always take along some of my carved plates to be able to talk about the process behind making my prints, and it was good to talk to people of all ages about it. I need to say a huge thank you to my lovely mum who was there with me on both days, and also to hubby who came along (the dogs visited on Saturday afternoon too!) and my Dad who helped me construct my doors to use as backboards - and they worked really well - as well as for his general awesomeness :-) A massive thank you also goes to all of the organisers and volunteers for all of their hard work that went in to making the event the success that is was.
The other exciting news that was launched at Art in the Park was about the workshops I am going to be running at The Farthing Workshop - attached to The Farthing Gallery - in Kenilworth. There are currently two dates; Saturday 29th September and Thursday 25th October. The workshops will have a maximum of 6 people and will be a great introduction to linocut, and teach you methods that you can use to create your own prints at home. The workshop setting is great too - they should be really relaxing and creative days! There's more info on my events page about how to book - I am really looking forward to them.
I've also started to fill my diary with my Winter outings - which doesn't seem quite so bad now the sun seems to be taking a little break! I'm really pleased to be joining the Contemporary Art Fair - Discover:Gather:Give in Stratford-Upon-Avon in November, and then another date is on the cards for early December. I'll be back to blog more as they get closer.
I'll pop a few photos from last weekend below :-)
P.S. My etsy shop is back up and running after our holiday and Art in the Park - it's HERE..... and the mini-prints that debuted at AITP should be appearing there soon - please feel free to e-mail me about them if you are interested in the meantime..... images in the previous blog post!!!
Drumroll...... and here they are! I've finally framed some of my mini-prints. This is a new series of prints I have been working on - they are all around A5 in size and are original hand printed linocut prints.
The aim is to produce smaller prints which are available unframed, and therefore can be used to create a gallery wall effect at a sensible price! My lovely sister-in-law Sam has been my sounding board in terms of designs, and I think they'd be a really good addition to anywhere in the home - including children's bedrooms of nurseries. There'll be more designs coming soon! Some of the prints have also been hand-coloured - there's some more images below of the ladybirds in red, and I also have some with the conker with a hint of brown! You'll need to pop along to Art in the Park to see them though as that's where they'll first be available. There should be link above to the event or you can find the links on my homepage too - including to my festival artist's page.
It's been a busy few weeks since Warwickshire Open Studios - there's been some more printing going on - see above plus a lot of prep work re-stocking for Art In The Park, and fitting in some supply teaching around that too! With all this heat it's played a bit of havoc with when I've been able to print and carve. The heat is not a friend to Japanese Vinyl as it can make it very soft and it makes slipping even more dangerous both for the vinyl block and my hands! Hot hands are also not a friend when hand printing either; I find it can make the print slip on the ink as I'm holding it down, and if your hands are feeling really sweaty it's just not good! However, the heat does make the printing ink work beautifully!
The house has been covered in cards and prints drying in lots of different nooks and crannies and any spare ledges out of the way of the dogs! I've re-stocked and printed all of my hand-printed and hand-stamped cards, and there's a new penguin design too - again, you'll need to come to AITP to see them first!
Here's some pictures of what I've been up to - some close ups of the prints, printing chaos in progress, and also one of my mouse - I've also done a little series of harvest mouse drawings which I'll share at some point.
And finally, another Art in the Park plug: 4th and 5th of August at Jephson Gardens in Leamington Spa - it's open from 10am to 6pm and is a great day out. Over 150 artists, food, drink, music, dance and drama. We went last year and had a great time - I'm really looking forward to being a part of it this year. Plus, Dad and I have rigged up something very funky with some old doors to help with displaying my pictures! If in doubt of where to find me...... just look for the Dodos!
The last three weekends have been spent doing Warwickshire Open Studios - for those people who have been following my blog, it also marked a year of me having my work physically out and about in the public eye rather than just on this website! Doing WOS for the first time last year was my 'New Year's Resolution' to get my printmaking and drawing out there!
The set up took a bit longer this year as I had far more framed prints (hooray!) - and it was a nice reminder and review of how my portfolio of work has grown, and developed, over the year.
I had the pleasure of being at Hilary Poole's house again - a glassmaker and ceramicist (her leaf is on the picture above) who also has a glass studio at her house, along with Sue Barclay a silversmith and Athina Bastien a ceramacist (it's her bowl on the picture above). Thank you to the ladies for their chat and company over the weekends, and again a HUGE thank you to Hilary for letting us all in to her house to be able to take part.
Again it proved to be a very warm couple of weekends! It was lovely to talk to folks about printmaking - some people came especially to see me to talk about printmaking which was lovely - and they left with lists of stuff to look at or try. It made me think that I could do with writing a blog on here specifically to do with things that I've found helpful and things I've tried too.... and I also talked to more people who haven't done printmaking before, or last did linocut when they were at school! I'd taken along some carving examples as well as my pre-prints for a reduction linocut which helped people to understand the processes involved.
It was a good two weeks, and this year I managed to get round some other Open Studios too by visiting on the mornings on the days we were open as I wasn't teaching on those days. It was fabulous to go and see different artists in their studios. If you haven't visited or are aware of how it works, essentially artists, or groups of artists, open up their studios or homes and show off their art and techniques for people to come and chat to them and also to buy artwork on display.
As well as Open Studios, I've also been working on some new mini-prints and drawings looking towards my next event which is Art in the Park in Leamington Spa. It's at Jephson Gardens on the 4th and 5th August from 10am - 6pm. It's free to get in and there are around 150 artists as well as dance, music, food and different art displays/installations and workshops. We went last year and it was great - such a fabulous vibe! I'll be in one of the bigger marquees in the Artist's Village if you are about to say hello.
Time for a few photos from Warwickshire Open Studios and then next week (hopefully!) I'll pop up another blog with a couple more updates - and I'll get thinking about the blog about things that I've found out about printmaking over the last couple of years. If there's anything you would find helpful, leave a comment below and I'll see if I can get it sorted or can help out.
And a quick shout out to say my etsy shop (HERE) is up and running again for selling cards and digital prints. The shop on here was not working too well as it was charging too much for shipping costs - on etsy it's much easier to control! The picture below is one I took for #justacard week - a way of promoting support for small businesses; believe me that one card really does help! It also shows just how many more designs I now have available!
Hope you're all enjoying the warm weather - it' s a bit too much for our dogs!
It's been a really busy couple of months! It only seems like yesterday since I wrote my last blog - but I seem to have managed to have worked my way through a few of the fairs I had listed, and Warwickshire Open Studios is now only a week away!
I'll add a collection of photos below of what I've been up to - The Fairy Tale and Fantasy exhibition at Slate Gallery was great - the dodos were very well liked, and Wren and Great Tit found new homes!
I've had two outings to Love Handmade Fairs in Warwick - both have been very sunny days, and I have done my biggest fair yet to date - the Earlsdon Festival. The sun shone and we baked a little under the canopy of the stall, but it was a marvellous day - lots of cards and digital prints flew away to new homes.
I've made some new card designs - both linocut and hand carved stamped cards - and got some new digital cards printed too. I've also finally got my White-tailed Eagle framed - but I'm going to reveal him when he's up on the wall at Open Studios next week!
Last night we attended the launch of Open Studios for this year, which was also lots of fun. This year they have the Temperance bar in Leamington Spa as the Open Studios hub - you can pick up lots of different information there about the venues as well as there being an exhibition of different artists' work - you can find another one of my Wrens in the window.
So in a week's time we will be open! It will have been a year since I started my art business adventure! You can find the links, and our flyer, on the front page. This year there will be four of us at our venue; Hillary Poole whose lovely house and glass and ceramics studio we are inhabiting for the two weeks, Sue Barclay a contemporary jeweller, Athina Bastien, who is also a ceramicist, and then me obviously! I have EVERY linocut framed for it, and I am hoping to get some more drawing done while I am there - I am aiming to fill all of Hillary's walls! It looks like it's going to be a fun few weeks!
I'll leave a little gallery below of my new designs and some images from the fairs and arty adventures I've been on.
Today I've also re-stocked my etsy shop an listed all of my new cards on there too. If you have a gander around the website you should hopefully notice a few changes here and there as well! You can find a link to my etsy shop HERE or on the 'buy' tab too.
You shouldn't have to wait quite so long for the next blog!
And so it begins..... the art fair season is upon us! I've been slowly starting to fill up my diary with art fairs, open studios and different events. I am really looking forward to them all - there will be lots of new experiences, and I'm looking forward to meeting lots of different people and artists along the way!
I've been continually updating my 'about' page with where I can be found over the next couple of months, but thought it might be worth a blog too, so you can pop some of the dates in your diary if you fancy coming to see some of my work 'for real' and to say hello of course!
I'll try and keep the front page updated with next events too - and I'm always updating my facebook art page, twitter and instagram with things as I go along. I'll pop some links below too - please come and find me and give me a follow to keep up with information and new projects and products!
OK.... here we go; I've added links to event website and facebook pages as I've gone along - please go and find them too to follow what's going on.
6th April - 26th April:
FAIRY TALE AND FANTASY EXHIBITION at Slate Art Gallery, Leamington Spa.
Opening night is Friday 6th April from 6.30 - 9 pm.
Please see the link HERE if you fancy coming along - all are welcome, please just reply via the facebook page.
Exhibition runs Tuesday to Saturday 11am - 5pm.
I will have some of my original drawings and limited edition linocut prints in the exhibition, they are currently with Rich at WreckedAngle framing - really looking forward to seeing them framed up!
LOVE HANDMADE FAIR: 10am - 4pm, St Nic's Church, Warwick.
A great collection of artists, artisans and craftspeople, and I hear they have really good cake too! You can find out more on the website HERE or on the facebook page HERE.
7th May (Monday)
EARLSDON FESTIVAL: 10.30am - 4pm
The 40th anniversary event! The fair takes over the High Street in Earlsdon, Coventry. Lots of different stalls and a fabulous carnival atmosphere. More info HERE on their facebook page.
16th June - 1st July
WARWICKSHIRE OPEN STUDIOS
I will be exhibiting and selling work alongside Hilary Poole (glass and ceramic artist) and Sue Barclay (contemporary silver jewelry) in Balsall Common at Hilary's house and studio. A fabulous event with artists' studios open all over Coventry, Warwickshire and beyond!
We will be open Thursdays and Fridays 2-5pm and Saturdays and Sundays 10am - 5pm. You can find more information about where I am HERE (and links to Hilary's and Sue's pages) and my artist page HERE. Information about the Warwickshire Open Studios including all of the different artists who are exhibiting, and a handy planner to help you find them all HERE.
Warwickshire Open Studios facebook page is HERE
4th and 5th August
ART IN THE PARK: Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa. 10am - 6pm
A weekend festival or art, craft, music, dance and food and drink! The festival fills the park and is an excellent day out mooching about enjoying the vibe and all of the different art work on display. I have everything crossed for a sunny weekend. This year's theme is trees (and birds)! Hooray! You can find my artist profile for the festival HERE.
More information can be found on their website HERE or facebook page HERE.
And there will be more dates to come for later in the year!
Hopefully I will get to see some of you there - all of the events are free to attend, and it's a great way of supporting local artists.
(The two drawings below are originals that will be for sale at the Slate Art Gallery in April)
It's always a little surreal when I start a blog (incidentally this is the second time I've started this - I've just lost my previous start to the blog *sob*) and look back over the photos of the different stages that have gone into making a print. #projectdodo has been a head scratcher and has involved some long carving and printing sessions. It's definitely been one of my more intensive linocuts!
It all started at the end of February when hubby and I visited London along with my parents as our collective Christmas present day out! We'd headed down for the Modigliani exhibition at the Tate Modern initially and then London was our oyster! We had a good play on the swings in the Turbine Hall, got to watch the snow falling over central London from the top of the new extension, and then after a visit to Intaglio Printmaker (which is not far from Tate Modern - when we entered there were only a few flakes of snow falling - but 15 minutes later we walked out into a carpet of snow over the pavement!) we decided to visit the Natural History Museum.
The building itself was stunning and I was as intrigued by it as I was the exhibits - we saw the whale of course, and the dinosaurs, and then we *had* to go and see the birds. I have a weird thing about taxidermy birds - I find them intriguing but also quite odd; especially if done badly! I think it's because it's a close as you can actually get to them to look at them - apart from when bird ringing of course - but that's a story for another time..... and that's where I saw the Dodo. I've popped a photo of it at the bottom.
Back in Coventry, I curled myself up on the sofa in the back room, sketchbook in hand, snow falling outside, the open fire lit (one of my favourite places) and started drawing Dodo. It took a couple of sessions, and it wasn't until I'd finished (and realised how tricky it was going to be to get the drawing out of the sketchbook due to some over-zealous gluing by whoever bound my sketchbook!) that I decided it would become a print.
And that is where the head scratching started. Initially I was going to do it as a one layer 'normal' print. However it became clear after my first test print that it wasn't going to work as a one layer print. I had two choices - start again and create a reduction linocut or create a two layer print. I decided on the latter. This meant a lot more carving but it saved the part I'd already done. Dave gave me some words of encouragement when I was very close to packing it in - something along the lines of "Well what would you say to the kids in your class if it was them at school..." The shame. ;-) It *was* worth persevering with; I did do a *lot* of just sitting and looking and thinking. It's as much and just as big a part of the process as the actual carving. Once I'd got in my head how I could move forwards it was fine. It just took a bit to get there!
It was a labour of love transferring the image over - twice - onto the print blocks. I repeatedly printed the head as I went along, checking I'd got the highlights right on the bottom block - anything I carved away on this layer would stay white - and also to line up the top block to make sure it helped to create the areas where shadows were needed on the bottom layer, as well as making sure I kept the highlighted areas clear so they would stay white - especially where outlines of areas were involved. I was really pleased with how the initial carvings were going, but I really did need to keep checking and re-printing until I knew I'd got the technique and patterns right. It was quite good to keep swapping between the blocks though as it gave a bit of respite and meant the brain kept working and the carving stayed fresh.
Once I'd got the heads sorted on both blocks I just kept going and didn't test print again until they'd both been carved. I used my water based inks and did a quick (and very rough) test print in grey and black and was relieved to see it actually seemed to have worked! I decided I needed to use some colour in the print while I was doing the initial head test prints as the black and grey were too close - initial ideas were to use a colour and then print grey over the top - but test prints of doing this showed that using the same colours over the top (but a different shade) worked much better and the images 'popped' a lot more.
I mixed the base colours of pink, blue and grey using my Cranfield Caligo safewash inks - the lovely linseed oil based ones - and they mixed together well when I used a nice wide spatula. My new roller came in very useful too! I'd decided on a white background, so there was a lot of very careful inking done, although I have got the inevitable little bit that got away here or there thanks to the joy that is hand printing. It gives them individual character!
Two days after the first layer it was time to print the second - and I had a long day printing the fifteen images again. The top layer was harder work than the bottom! I've done the print as a varied edition - currently I have five grey, five pink and five blue based prints - including some with a grey rather than a same colour overlay. I'm thinking it will be a limited print run of 30 dodos in total - and I'm still thinking of experimenting with some other colours. If anyone has any requests, let me know and I'll have a go at printing them up - I'm toying with the idea of an orange and yellow or orange and grey dodo.... or maybe some purple! Thoughts?
Right, I think that is enough for today! Two of my dodos will be heading to Wrecked Angle framing on Monday for some framing joy from Rich (I am very excited to see what he suggests!) and then they will be heading to the Fairy Tale and Fantasy exhibition at The Slate Art Gallery in Leamington Spa. The exhibition opens on the 6th April. I'll also have a Wren print there and some original drawings too.
My next blog will be all about the different fairs and exhibitions I have coming up -but if you can't wait until then, they're listed on my 'About' tab.
OK - time for some photos!
Not quite your usual Valentine's Day subject I suppose - birds of prey... However as it's chucking it down with rain outside I might as well blog! I'd been wanting to turn my sketchbook drawing of my Sea Eagle into a linocut print ever since I finished it. I completed the drawing when the sea was calm enough to allow me to draw on our trip to Norway back in October where we were fortunate to see many of these exquisite birds.
It's my most complex, in terms of detail, linocut to date, and I have thoroughly enjoyed making it. There was a lot more texture to create on the linocut, having to look at the marks I was making as their own form of shading as I wanted to create it as a monoprint. It has involved spending a lot of time 'looking' and staring at the block and the initial test prints!
I started off by blowing up my sketch to fit the size of the Japanese Vinyl I wanted to use - this is also my largest linocut to date! Then I transferred the image in stages using several pieces of tracing paper. I couldn't do it all in one go as otherwise I'd have been rubbing the image off while carving. This was a new experience too - I'd carve some and then transfer over a bit more of the image.
I didn't do my first print until I'd done most of the carving - there were some areas - towards the top of the beak - where I was really unsure of how to carve them to create the correct detail and depth to the print. Once I'd done this first print however it really helped with knowing what to do.
Thanks to instagram (that should be a link!) and putting my work in progress pictures on there, I can see that I started the print on the 22nd January - so it's not taken me as long as I thought it had done in my head! I've been quite good at making sure I work during the times when Dave is out at Dog's Trust, although I have to make sure I've got the dogs nice and tired first so they don't get under my feet if I'm downstairs, or making a kerfuffle if I'm trying to work upstairs!!
The print block itself is about A3 in size, so I also needed some much bigger paper for printing on - I turned to my trusty linocut bible: Linocut by the marvelous Nick Morley - as well as a couple of other online blogs to see what papers people recommended. I decided on trying Zerkall paper, which I ordered from Jackson's Art Supplies.... it is beautiful! I ordered two different types of 120gsm paper - each sheet was 76 x 53 cm - the smooth and the rough, however I'm not quite sure which way round they are! The smooth (I think!) has a 'wave' running through it which creates an interesting texture with the print, whereas the rough is more of an even finish on the paper, and it prints up beautifully! I will definitely be getting some more of it for larger prints. I decided to stick to the 'rough' paper for my print run.
I have decided to limit the print run to 5 prints - it takes a good while to get these printed, about an hour in total to print each individual print, so I have printed three out of the five so far, as well as having my Artist's Proof printed - so still two to go! The black background took a lot of work to get it how I wanted it to be on each print. One was (metaphorically) binned as I got an unacceptable blob on the corner! I did finish printing it though, so I might tinker with it as an experiment in the future. I also tried an 'alternative' background as a separate proof print, but it may not ever see the public light of day - it uses colour (!)..... although it is something to experiment with in the future I think. I am really pleased with it the finished print and like the texture created from the printing method in the background of the prints too - they're not a completely uniform matt black and you can see some of the spoon marks, which really makes each print individual - and I am looking forward to getting one framed soon! Dave took a video of me printing too - I'll have to see if there is a way of uploading it. I am looking particularly good in my vintage printing pinny (it was my Great Aunt's) and slippers!!
In other news, I'm now all signed up for Warwickshire Open Studios in June and also for Art In The Park in Leamington Spa on the 4th and 5th August. There's details about both events on my 'About' page on here. I've also tweaked the pictures on my front page of the website too.
Plus - this weekend is the final weekend of 'The Art of Design' at Slate Art Gallery in Leamington Spa. (More details on my front page). I've had some lovely feedback from people about it, so if you've not got over yet it's running until the 22nd February 11am-5pm, Tuesday to Saturday.
Picture time! I'm going for the gallery approach again....
Friday night was the opening night of 'The Art of Design' exhibition at The Slate Gallery in Leamington Spa. It was not only my first opening night visit to a gallery, but also the very first time my work has been part of a 'proper' exhibition too! Thought I'd add in the photo with me on it; I don't look very happy to be there ;-) What do you think?? ;-)
I'd picked my framed linocut prints up from Rich at WreckedAngle on the Tuesday, and was so pleased with the framing - they looked great. (Rich also made the mirror you can see in the photo above). I was going to take some photos of them (I know I put that at the end of my last blog), but as they'd been wrapped to protect the frames I didn't want to take it off! Thursday was delivery day and I dropped them over at the gallery and made the most of the time by having a good look around the exhibition that was still on at the gallery at the time.
Eventually it was time to head over on the Friday. We managed to get a spot right by the gallery to park the car, and the gallery had a lovely glow coming from it! I managed to spot Tess and Sarah who were in there already, although it took a bit to get to them as it was busy - there was a really good buzz in there. They met me with hugs and great excitement telling me to go and look at Frog - I'd not even located my prints yet - and there is was, a red dot! Sold! I might have grinned and *squeeeeed* a bit - very exciting! I had been the second sale of the night so far, the first being a picture Tess had bought! (not one of mine!) Some of my prints were hung together - Black Kite, Peregrine, Bittern and Frog; Siskin was in the second room, and Phoebe was in the window! This has made me think of the song 'How much is that doggy in the window?' ever since!
Kate had curated the exhibition beautifully - there is a lovely flow around the room of the different pieces and the colours in the order of the works all complement each other. There are so many different things to see in there; drawings, collages, paintings, jewellery, mirrors, printed cushions..... it is well worth a visit.
More lovely friends turned up and my lovely parents, and we had a great time nattering and looking at the different pictures and artwork on display. The pride of place is taken by the clock - a wooden clock with an exposed mechanism and the piece that gave Kate the idea for the exhibition. I will have to find out who made it (I've forgotten!) and let you know.... it is stunning.
The time seemed to fly by and eventually it was time to head to the pub for a celebratory drink with James and Andrea!
We visited the exhibition again today to take some photographs of the prints in their frames, and it was great to see it in the daylight too. I am feeling very proud to be a part of it.
The exhibition runs until the 22nd February, and the gallery is open from 11 am - 5 pm, Tuesday to Saturday.
Time to add some photos - I've only taken ones of my work - you'll have to go for a visit to the gallery if you want to see the other people's work! Or check out the gallery facebook page (that should be a link) where Kate has added a video tour of the exhibition too, as well as some photos.... The first mention of the gallery in the first paragraph is also a link to the website.
I hope you get the time to get over and see it if you are local.
As I said - photo time! I'm going for a 'gallery' approach rather than a slideshow to see if that works better as a mobile phone format..... here goes.....
Here we go...
The ramblings of a linocut printmaker.... and other artistic adventures!