Saturday, 28 July 2012

So I made it into a card....

Despite my misgivings about the quality of this print, I've been told off by friends for being too critical! So I've decided to make it into a card and post it on both Etsy and Folksy (there are 15 so I've split them between both sites) just to see what other people make of them. If you fancy a punt, they're 6" x 4" and available here:
(For the uninitiated - Folksy's in £ and Etsy's in $)

Tuesday, 24 July 2012


Breeze blows, catches wings
and tosses them higher,
flings them heavenwards
then lets them fall, tumbling
acrobats swinging under cloud.
Exhale again and they're caught
mid-beat, breath caught
as earth falls away,
and fight to regain balance,
harmony, passing through rays,
split then shaded, blinded again,
rowing for the shore - tidal wind
bringing it nearer, further,
but ever nearer. Soon, soon
a landing stage, strive and steer,
bend the air to speed the goal.
The gale inhales and draws away,
then rushes in with the wave
carrying all before it
and dragging the wings behind,
the rush to keep up, the goal there,
and grab the rail with feet outstretched.
Feathers ruffle as the gale breathes in,
but solidly rooted, stand firm

Mary Parker, May 2012

Friday, 20 July 2012

Final stage - leaves.

And what should be the final stage. I'm really not sure how I feel about this now. Viewed small, as a thumbnail, it looks acceptable, maybe even interesting, but close up the leaf green hasn't taken properly, and the composition isn't quite sitting right.... For the time being, I'm writing these off as experience. After all, I haven't done a four-colour reduction lino print for about 20 years, and it's all part of the re-learning process. Looking at wonderful prints by people who do this for a living, mine definitely feel under-dressed! Tiny baby steps....

Sunday, 15 July 2012

And the third stage...

A little darker than I meant it to be, but at least the shape of the petals is now visible. Last stage will be a lighter shade of green for the leaves.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Dogrose Linocut Second Stage

Well I've started on the pink, the yellow certainly shows through! I've overprinted a couple of the worst offenders but this one I think will be ok. Looking dull still at present but hopefully it'll liven up a bit when the leaves start to go on and the shape of the petals becomes apparent. Forgot to mention that I'm using the back of a wooden spoon to 'roll' the ink off the block onto the paper - inspired by a lady on Etsy who makes some lovely prints that way:

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Dogrose linocut first stage

Right - first colour (I've printed 16 of these). It looks very much like a carnation to me...Be reassured by the lino on the left as you can see the plan. All of this yellow is in aid of getting the stamens printed, but I'm hoping too that it will have the side-effect of warming all of the other colours as they go over the top. Originally I was going to print the pink first but I decided to go with the stamens first so as not to have registration problems with them, and also to achieve a clearer colour. Next stage will be to remove the stamens and print the pink for the petals, but I'm going to leave it a while to dry (probably several days), as, despite it being water-based ink, the last time I tried a multicolour reduction print, the second colour lifted the first off, even after a couple of days hung over the radiator. So the next colour will be the make-or-break of whether this is going to work. I'm expecting a few casualties along the way, but I hope I come out with at least four decent prints at the end of this!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Dog Rose linocut ideas

My photo of a dog rose above (taken on a dog walk - how appropriate!) and the plan & notes below for trying out a small linocut of either four or five colours. It will be pretty small, but how small will depend on how fine I can manage to cut the lino for the stamens and pollen in the centre of the flower. Watch this space...

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Drawing clouds

Charcoal drawings of clouds that I made on June 18th, 2012, looking towards the Peak District from Birches Head, Stoke-on-Trent.

Leaf cards now done!

Now available at my Etsy shop: Etsy and my Folksy shop: Folksy

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Green leaves

The leaf linocut has taken on a slightly different appearance - same plate, but printed in two different shades of green on different papers, and I'm a lot happier with these versions of it!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


Ghostboat Panel

The result of one of my lino prints meeting with Photoshop and being mangled a little - I had a habit of doing this when I was at Uni, making something, scanning it & pushing it through some graphics programmes and then maybe printing it back out & printing manually over it some more (that'll be next then...)

Sunday, 15 April 2012

I wandered lonely as a cloudy linocut...

Just a quick thought - I'm trying to decide what to go for next as a linocut design, and would like to do clouds - so I've been out looking for other artists who may have done the same to get ideas for mark-making. One. Just one person has 'made' clouds with lino in a way that I feel expresses what I'm after. Most people go for a stylised curly look. My first attempt (the tanker pic, Estuary Boat below) was not very pleasing but it was a first go. I'm aiming to make a 'just clouds' print, so first I need my source....

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Storypraxis prompt - hidebound

He was proud of his collection. It sat, perfectly arranged and spotlessly kept, on shelves behind glass doors in his study. There were tankards with beautifully tooled surfaces; there were boxes, containing nothing but air, but which opened and closed with such a satisfying slide that it was worth having them for that alone; there were even some aged leather-bound books which he'd found at a fair, battered and mould-ridden - he took them home and lovingly cleaned and polished them back to their original sheen, placing them tenderly in his cabinet. There was something homely, warming, about these hidebound objects, familiar and comforting, and he was creating a museum of them for himself.

There was a knock at the study door: he called "Enter!" and a young man appeared, carrying a tray. He placed it on the collector's desk, bowed and moved to walk away. "Hey there, you, what's your name - look at this collection of mine. That's what defines a man you know - art, culture. Not your civil rights and insisting on more and more of your own way. Improve yourself and you're half way there. Look smart there - you've forgotten my sugar!" The servant apologised and rushed from the room to retrieve the sweet stuff, not so long refined from the plantation outside. As he went he marvelled again at the irony that this hidebound man should take so much pride in a collection of objects whose name mirrored his own state.

Daily short story prompts from  Storypraxis: hidebound

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Storypraxis prompt - One eighty

Today she was driving. To nowhere in particular, just driving. Driving and thinking, considering. That was who she was, a thinking driver, on a mission to consider her way into the next part of life. Out here on the main road, the low hedges and big skies made her feel as though she could be on top of a hill, alone and in peace. Deep in thought, consumed by her present and dreaming of a future that she was yet to discover if it was true. A feeling rose inside, a sudden swelling of frustration, she couldn't explain it - intense irritation, almost palpable, it seemed to scratch and itch inside her as she thought of barriers and obstructions, people who would tell her it was all a bad idea. The sun was beating down now and she was too hot, an almost prickly heat and it was all mounting up to become unbearable. In a physical reaction to the limits that she felt descending, she make a sharp one eighty in the road. Smoke rose from the tyres as she turned , and a horn screamed at her as a vehicle swerved past on her right. Shaken out of her reverie she sat, petrified, dreams wiped from her mind as she opened her eyes and saw what she'd just narrowly avoided. Death stared her in the face as she climbed out of her car... 

Daily short story prompts from Storypraxis Storypraxis prompt One Eighty, 7/4/12

Friday, 6 April 2012

Leaf Skeleton

Here's the linocut so far, it's about 4" x 6". I'm thinking of what else to do / how else to use it, and working on ideas of backgrounds and colours. May well do some monotypes and overprint the leaf on them.  

Monday, 2 April 2012

Leaf skeletons

I've just started (like just at 11.30 at night) on a new lino cut. I found a fairly robust leaf skeleton a few weeks ago, I think it was a laurel leaf in a past life, and have done a drawing of the main outlines and veins. Based on that I've drawn out a basic shape to work within on a small piece of lino, about 6" x 4". I'm hoping it'll look a bit more as if I know what I'm doing with this one... I'll proof it after I've carved one side of it to see if it's working ok. 

Friday, 16 March 2012

New print second stage - Estuary Boat

This is a single colour version, there are some dual ones but I'm having trouble getting the top coat to stick to the undercoat, the disadvantage of using water-based ink I guess. Still, this is where I'm up to.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Next boat linocut print

I've started another one, more complex this time although not much bigger, it's something like 9x10cm. It will have two colours at least, and this is the first state:

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

... and now they're cards...

I decided to be a bit pro-active, and rather than just let my trial print run gather dust, I've made them into cards and posted them on Etsy, hopefully to be sold. I can try at least!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Printmaking - finally!

At last I have got myself motivated to do some exploratory printmaking at home. Our youngest insisted on being allowed to try out some form of block printing after having seen it done on a kids' art show (of all places! Good for them), so I broke out the polystyrene sheets & gave her some to play with. She had a whale of a time and produced some fun work. Having proved to myself that it was possible to do this on the dining room table, I fished out an old sketchbook and my little square of lino, and lo and behold the results. I'd been collecting block printing ink for a few months so the intent has been there, so thanks to our youngest and the school holidays for the inspiration and opportunity respectively. Now that I've seen that it's possible, slightly larger plans are in the pipeline - only A5 sort of larger, but it's getting me working again :-))

These are based on a drawing I did in 1990 of a boat on the mudflats at low tide in the old Cardiff Docks, before it was all redeveloped as a marina.