One for sorrow, two for joy..... I've had to google what eight are for, and allegedly it's for a wish. I'm not sharing the wish, sorry ;-) but I will share my lovely ramblings about #projectmagpie :-) I finally finished it this morning, and have a lovely limited print run of eight magpies from it. It might have been a long time in coming - this has been a 'thinker' of a project - but I've really enjoyed the last week or so of completing it.
My new inks arrived not too long ago, which I needed to be able to complete #projectmagpie as I needed blue (and yellow to make green)! I've also gone on to 'grown up' inks - Caligo Safe Wash Inks were recommended through the printing book I've been reading (Linocut by Nick Morley - the link should take you there - an excellent book) as well as having great reviews of the inks online. The inks are oil based but environmentally friendlier as they can be cleaned up with soap and water or vegetable oil, so no nasty chemicals involved which I was keen to avoid. It also means, as they are oil based (linseed oil), that they take longer to dry than my previous water based inks. However the colours are fabulous, and they are so easy to use. The vegetable oil is a much better way of cleaning everything up too.
OK, print rambling time! I can't actually remember when I started #projectmagpie, but I know it was a while ago. I really enjoyed printing the first layer of colour - I'd planned a three colour print, and the first layer I created by mixing the colours using my mini-roller and then 'painting' onto the lino (I was back on Japanese Vinyl for this one) so each print is actually more individual as all of the blue-greens are different on each one. I chose to only 'paint' on to certain sections too, so the first run left me with twelve odd looking eye-less birds! I started with a run of 12, but as is normal, a few haven't made the final cut along the way due to not getting the next layers quite lined up. This layer did take two days to dry properly, so I carved the next section on the bird while I waited, even though it wasn't necessarily going to be needed for the next colour. As usual there are plenty of photos of the different stages in the slide show at the bottom!
Next colour up was grey for the background, beak, legs and 'stump' the magpie is on. I had a right 'mare before I got started to print; I'd waited until Dave had headed out to his late shift, and he seemed to take my brain with me. The mixing of the grey didn't go quite to plan, so I had to have a massive cleaning up session (downside of oil based, it does take much longer to clean up) and then start again. Thankfully it worked better and my brain engaged, I found registering the print a bit of hard work, but it was OK, they mostly came out inline! Then it was on to the final carve into the block ready for the black layer.
Again the grey layer took a couple of days to dry. We went and visited my in-laws yesterday and took the dogs to the beach - a lovely chilled day, so I finally got round to the last layer this morning.
Not having to mix colours and just printing in black was a dream :-) My registering was much better and I didn't manage to lose any more prints! I am really pleased with how the black has worked over the other colours, especially the 'stump' and feet, and it does give some of the 'shimmering' impression you get as the iridescence shines on the back of a magpie - however it would be impossible to accurately capture this! The prints are quite dark in nature, but as they are drying in the sunshine I am really pleased with how the light catches the blue-green accents. It's been worth taking it's time over!
The next big adventure coming up is my Warwickshire Open Studios - that should link to my page and the link is on the homepage of my website too - I will be exhibiting a collection of my prints, as well as having some to sell. Tomorrow I go to the card printing man as I have chosen which drawings and prints I want to have made into cards, as well as handprinting/pulling some cards myself too. It is all very exciting, but is also taking up a lot of thinking time too!
I have also been very fortunate to have a couple of re-grams on Instagram recently by @ukprintmakers and @im_printed (two well followed printmaking accounts/people) which have had really positive responses and has boosted my confidence going forward into the Warwickshire Open Studios that this was the right choice to make; I'm on instagram as @alixalmond if you wanted to follow!
I'll go and put my slideshow together and then get this blog out there! Please feel free to share and spread the word - I'll do another blog soon with more info about WOS (the short version!) again closer to the time, along with what I am selling, so if you did happen to fancy a bit of my artwork you can let me know.
Cheers me dears, alix x
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Here we go...
The ramblings of a linocut printmaker.... and other artistic adventures!