Ashdown Forest linocuts, stage 2

30 August 2010

Next stage.

A blend from slightly-darker-than-before-blue to dull green.

Already a bit worried about this one; those ferns in the foreground are a bit feeble, though they're not meant to be finished yet.

And this one has a blend from dull green down to warm yellow, which is intended to become the gorse flowers.

But I'm already a bit worried about this one as well. The background hill is a bit wobbly, and what was I thinking about when I cut that light patch out of the foreground? What is it meant to be?

Ashdown Forest linocuts

28 August 2010

First stage of two linocuts that I am working on in parallel.

I'm trying hard to keep this important first layer as light as possible. Both images have hills in the background that need to recede.

South Downs linocut, final stage

27 August 2010

A dark green layer completes the picture. Just finished this in time to show it at the Lewes Artwave exhibition.

Across the Downs. Five stage reduction linocut, 24 x 17 cm.

This is the view from the hill above Wilmington, East Sussex. The "Long Man" is just below, to the right. I'm looking west; the peak on the horizon is Firle Beacon. Just below it, you can see the steeple of Berwick church.

Dave Lefner film

26 August 2010

Here's an interesting film by Ric Serena about the Los Angeles printmaker, Dave Lefner. Lefner records the neon signs of the city in linocuts. They are big images: 36 x 13 inches or 36 x 20 inches are popular sizes, though Lefner appears to use only a 6" roller. I like the care with which they are drawn, and the saturated colours.

Nice studio, too.

To watch in full screen, right-click the video, and then click Enter Full Screen.

See more pictures on Dave Lefner's website.

(Found here:

South Downs linocut, stage 4

25 August 2010

Another green blend over the previous layers.

The greens on this layer are mixed from cadmium yellow with ultramarine blue instead of the cobalt that I used on the earlier layers. Ultramarine is warmer than cobalt; warm colours move to the front of the picture plane, increasing the sense of depth.

One more layer to go.

South Downs linocut, stage 3

24 August 2010

Third layer: A darker blend of blue green down to brighter green.

Yesterday, I was thinking about whether I should depict the landscape as it is (that is, wet and grey in England), or how it should be: warm and sunny.

Today, I realised the solution: Move to a country where the landscape is warm and sunny.

South Downs linocut, stage 2

22 August 2010

Second layer: I cut away more of the clouds, the grass, and some of the distant buildings, and then printed a blend from blue down to green.

As expected, the sky in the first layer was too dark. It doesn't look much like England.

There's a dilemma here. Do I make skies pale and grey, which is accurate and honest -- or do I make them warm and blue, which is cheerful and attractive?

What's the point of making pictures? To show the world how it is, or how it should be?

Lewes Artwave Festival 2010

21 August 2010

I'll be exhibiting at one of the Artist Open Houses, part of the Lewes Artwave Festival.

Where: 19 Mill Road, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2RU.
When: August 28, 29, 30; September 4, 5, 11, 12: 12noon-5pm.

More information on the Artwave website.


South Downs linocut, stage 1

Here's the first layer of a new linocut. A blend from blue to yellow starts to create the sky and the fields.

Bother: I think already that the sky is going to be too dark. It's far too warm and sunny for a typical English summer sky.

Venice linocut, final stages

19 August 2010

To complete the Venice print, I added a darker layer...

...and then an even darker layer. (There is actually a difference between these two pictures; it's clearer on the print than it is on screen.)

Venice. Linocut, 10 x 10cm.

This is view of the bridge over the Rio de Barcaroli, joining the Campiello dietro la Chiesa and the Piscina de Frezzaria.

Hare linocut, final stage

18 August 2010

A final layer in near-black finishes the print, at last.

Hare. Linocut, 10 x 10cm.

Hare linocut, stages 3 and 4

15 August 2010

I printed a blue and green layer...

...and then a brown layer.

One more layer to go: make the hare darker so he stands in front of the leaves, or make the background darker so that the hare emerges from the leaves...?

London linocut, final stage

14 August 2010

Finished, at last. I printed some black-blue to make the details in the windows, the top of the tower, and the boxes at the front stand out.

St Mary Axe/Leadenhall. Five stage reduction linocut, 30 x 24cm.

This is the view from the steps of the Lloyds building in the City of London, looking east to the corner of St Mary Axe and Leadenhall. Like in so many places of the City, you get a sweep of architectural history in a single view. In the centre of the picture is the 16th C Perpendicular church of St Andrew Undershaft. To the right, there's a late Victorian office building, now a branch of Lloyds TSB; and to the left, a messy lump of 1980's postmodernism. Behind them all rises 30 St Mary Axe, better known as the "Gherkin".

This print has been a bit of a nightmare at times. It's only the second print I've done this big, and it's by far the most complicated: I estimate cutting the block took about 20 hours. I think I'm pleased with the result. And at least I've learnt something: don't use red Sharpie on lino.

P.S. Just noticed: This is my 100th post on this blog.

London linocut, stage 4

13 August 2010

Fourth layer: blue and grey in yet darker shades.

One more layer, and it will be finished.

London linocut, stage 3

12 August 2010

The third layer on the London linocut makes more of the image appear.

I also fixed an error that appeared in the previous stage: the "Gherkin" was slightly tipping over to the right. Strangely I noticed it only when I put the photo on this blog. (I thought at first the photo was crooked, but it wasn't.)

Unfortunately, now I've put up this photo, I've noticed another error...
I'll let you try to find it, while I work out how to fix it.

When it goes wrong

11 August 2010

I tried to add another layer to the Venice print. It's a transparent blue, to create some more shadows on the buildings and the water. But the extender, that's the stuff you add to the ink to make it transparent, isn't sticky like ordinary ink.

Instead, it's slippery, and the linoblock moves when it goes through the press. A lot of the prints ended up like this:

A few printed correctly. The trick to get it to work seemed to be to put much less ink onto the block than usual.

It's going to be a very small edition.

London linocut, stage 2

09 August 2010

At last, I've got to the second layer on the London linocut.

But before I did that, I decided I still wasn't happy with the first layer, even though I'd got rid of that nasty red ink that was coming through. So I printed the block for the third time, using the original blue and grey colours. Then I was able to start cutting the block for the second layer, and printed it in darker shades.

More hare, more Venice

06 August 2010

Another layer on the hare:

Not sure about this; the hare is OK, but the grass and leaves in the background are a bit strong.

I've printed a blend from dark blue to salmon pink, at an angle. OK so far, but there's a long way to go.

London linocut, stage 1 again

05 August 2010

I've found something that cleans the red Sharpie ink off the linoblock. It had to be something that would clean the ink, but not damage the lino. The oil that I usually use to clean the block didn't work. Alcohol didn't work. Eventually, we found something that worked: nail polish remover. The stain is still on the block, but it doesn't print anymore.

I reprinted the block in slightly warmer colours (but without the red!).

That's better.

Hare and Venice

04 August 2010

While I try to find a way of cleaning that linoblock, I've started two more smaller (10 x 10cm) linocuts. Here are the first stages: