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!
Here we go...
The ramblings of a linocut printmaker.... and other artistic adventures!