The Waxwings have left their Coventry nest, so it is time for the annual Christmas card blog! (Apologies if this is a spoiler for you...) The thought process for my Christmas card started a little earlier this year, I had decided on doing a Waxwing at some point earlier in the year and the thought simmered away for a bit. They are one of my favourite birds - I was fortunate enough to see a big flock on a trip to Suffolk earlier on in the year (March) as part of last year's Christmas present from Dave, they are such fabulous birds :-)
I knew I wanted to get some colour into the cards as well, as they have such distinct markings on their wings - the red 'blobs' are the reason the Waxwings have their name, and such beautiful yellow markings on their wings and tail ends too, although with my Waxwing, the yellow is folded underneath so you can't see it. They're well worth a google to see more photos of them 'in the feather' so to speak. We also follow waxwings UK on twitter, and they are currently returning to the UK, so I hope I get to see them again next year too if I am lucky.
This print meant trying something new again - hand colouring onto the card after printing, and it took a little while to find a suitable pen that coloured satisfactorily onto the brown card, which in itself matches (almost, in an artistic way) the main colour of the Waxing. I finally settled on trying Posca pens, which I wasn't disappointed with and am pleased with the way the colour comes through on the card. They are almost like a 'paint pen' and have also been used for other things already - the white is particularly useful! The only gripe I have against them is the tip on the pen is a bit scratchy - but that is because I had to get a fine tip, the larger tips are meant to be more like felt tips I think. The printing wasn't actually too bad - with other prints I have made onto the cards previously there is a much bigger area of black, which is much harder to get printing well with my trusty spoon! I've included some pictures below in the slideshow as usual to show the process. I had to print in two batches to get them all done. The first set were printed at the some time as #projectFrog, and the second batch a couple of days later.
As well as the Waxwing cards I also made some Penguin cards this year, trying out a soft cut rubber (Speedball Easy Carve) rather than lino or vinyl which makes for a very quick cut and stamps well using an ink pad, which I made to sell at 'Making Merrier' at the Hebert Art Gallery evening in early December. It was lovely having people talk to me about where the cards were going that they had bought; one for a penguin mad daughter, another was bought as a wedding card for someone's sister (this version would make a good Valentine's card too - I'll get some on the website for next year!!!) and someone else bought a Phoebe card that was being sent abroad to her mum as it also looked like their dog. I do like hearing the stories of where my art stuff ends up :-) I also had a very funny game of 'Guess the bird' with a couple of folk during the evening :-)
There's been another commission too (which I'll add to the page once I know they've got it), and I've also completed a couple of mini-original drawings which I will get on the website at some point - a robin and a wren. You might be able to spot them in the pictures I've added of my stall at Making Merrier below!
I had another bit of excitement after I'd randomly tweeted Maryanne Hobbs from Radio6Music as part of the #artiseverywhere in relation to her morning radio show from the Turner Prize in Hull (side note - HOORAY FOR COVENTRY CITY OF CULTURE 2021!) when I was not only retweeted by her, but also had Edwyn Collins (he of the singing fame and also an excellent bird artist) comment underneath - he recognised what I had drawn (phew!) - but it wins as my highest ever looked at tweet - just shy of 5,000 so far!
I have had some lovely feedback about my webstore and speed of delivery for Coventry based orders, I'm faster than Amazon Prime allegedly, and the lady in the post office is getting to know me. So.... if you get any Christmas money and fancy a print or something, go and have a gander.... ;-)
Finally, I'd just like to wish you a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful (or not peaceful, depending on what you're into!) New Year, and to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has supported me over the year; the kind comments both in type and in person have really boosted my confidence to carry on with this and I am really excited and hopeful about where my art might go next. Please, if you can and you don't mind, help by sharing posts and links you might see from me on 'tinterweb, it'd be much appreciated to help get my art out there for more eyes to see. Here's to a marvelous 2018....
(If you click on the pictures in the gallery below, they should grow to full size!)
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The ramblings of a linocut printmaker.... and other artistic adventures!