Linocut, stage 4

31 May 2011

I cut away all of what was left of the view through the door, and some details on the door itself, and more of the leaves. Then I printed a darker green to brown to green blend over the previous layers. Fortunately, the mistake on the previous layers has been successfully covered.

One more layer, and it might be finished.

Linocut stage 3 (twice)

30 May 2011

I cut away more of the distance, and the leaves around the door, and then printed the block in green.

As soon as I printed the first copy, I realised that I had cut away the leaves at the top too early: the blue of the previous layer shows through. I should have left the top solid for this layer, and then cut away the leaves on the next layer.

So after I'd printed all the copies for this stage, I cut a paper stencil that would expose just the top of the block, and just used a small roller to put more green ink directly onto the paper and hide the blue.

I think I'll get away with it...

Linocut, stage 2

29 May 2011

Second layer on this reduction linocut. I've cut away some of the details in the distance, and the paving stones in the foreground.

A blue to green blend over the previous layer: Still trying to keep the colours light, so that later stages don't get too dark. Some of the design starts to appear.

Life drawings

28 May 2011

A couple of drawings from this week's life group.

Both in pencil: 4B for the softer lines and shading, with some HB where sharper lines are needed). Top one's a bit bigger than A3 (that white line is the fold of the sketchbook), and the lower one is a bit smaller.

I've been looking at this book: British Museum Master Drawings in Close-Up, particularly the Raphael drawing that's on the cover.

(Clearer image on the BM website: Raphael drawing)

To get the shadow tone, I think he's smudged the chalk, and then gone over it again with hatching lines. Those lines go the same way: they don't follow the shape or volume of the body (just a bit round the waist), and there's hardly any cross-hatching.

What really gives the drawing life is the variation in the lines that make up the outline. Every line curves and moves; the strongest lines are where there is contrast between light and dark (on the arms), and the stressed parts of the body (the bent knees); and he hasn't bothered to rub out the light preliminary lines.

New linocut starts

27 May 2011

And we're off again! First layer: I cut away the highlights which will appear white, and then printed a blend from pale blue-grey to brown.

(Fingers crossed that it will be finished in time for the next exhibition.)

The Dovecote, Nymans: Linocut, stage 5

24 May 2011

A dark green-brown-green gradient over the other layers, and suddenly the image comes into focus. Final stage, I think.

The Dovecote, Nymans. Linocut, 10 x 10 cm.

Linocut, stage 4

20 May 2011

Fourth layer. Cut away the grass and more details in the leaves and the building, and then printed a diagonal gradient from dark green at the top left, through brown in the centre, to a lighter green at the bottom right.

Nearly there.

Linocut, stage 3

13 May 2011

Third layer: gradient from dark green to brighter green. All looking too green now. I will try to work in some grey/brown colours on the stonework on the next layer.

Ashdown Forest: Autumn sun

11 May 2011

While I try to work out what to next with the linocut that's in progress, here's another of the small paintings from the Ashdown Forest series.

7 October, 2.45pm. Autumn sun on dry bracken, fire gold.
Acrylic on canvas, 15 x 15 cm.

Linocut, stage 2

09 May 2011

Second stage of the new print: a green-to-grey-to-green gradient over the top of the first layer. The block is only 10cm square, so it took some careful thought to get the gradient to align correctly every time.

Ashdown Forest: Winter's afternoon

08 May 2011

Another of the small paintings from the Ashdown Forest landscape series.

10 December, 3pm. Winter's afternoon quickly turns to evening.
Acrylic on canvas, 15 x 15 cm.

Starting a new linocut

07 May 2011

I've had to put the experiments with solarplate etching to one side for a while. It's only four weeks to the next exhibition, so it's time for lots of hard work on what I know best.

Here's the first stage of a new linocut, a cobalt blue to burnt sienna gradient, both with lots of white added, to make sure it's light enough. Or is it too light? Or too brown? Or the wrong blue?

Ashdown Forest: Summer days

06 May 2011

27 July, 3pm. Long hot summer days stretch beyond the horizon.

Acrylic on canvas, 15 x 15cm.

Solarplate etching: More experimenting

05 May 2011

Another experiment with what can be done with solarplate (photopolymer) etching. This time, I started with a photograph of one of my recent paintings of the Ashdown Forest landscape...

...converted it to black and white, and then etched it on the solarplate.

I like this. The solarplate has picked up all the brushwork and even the weave of the canvas. (Click the picture for a bigger version.) These are much clearer in this etching than they are in the original painting, where the colour grabs the attention. The result has got the quality of a traditional, pure aquatint plate.

I printed the plate again in dark blue.

I like this. I like this a lot.

Ashdown Forest: First sight of gorse

04 May 2011

3 April, 11am. In the distance, yes, the first sight of gorse.

Acrylic on canvas, 15 x 15cm.

Solarplate etching of a pencil drawing

03 May 2011

Inspired by how well the solarplate etching technique has reproduced my pen and ink drawings, I tried it with one of my pencil drawings.

This is the original drawing:

I strengthened the contrast and added some flat tone by using Photoshop.

And then etched this version onto the photopolymer plate.

This version is printed in dark blue (ultramarine plus a bit of black), so the contrast isn't quite as strong as it could be if I'd printed it in black; but nonetheless, it's very interesting to see how much detail and line quality has been carried over from the orginal drawing to the print.

More to come...

Ashdown Forest: Searching for colour

02 May 2011

Start of a new series of the Ashdown Forest landscapes. I'm trying to push harder to the boundary between naturalism and abstraction. This series is on smaller size of canvas, to see how much information can be packed into the smaller space.

9 January, 1.15pm. Searching for colour in the depths of winter, and finding it everywhere.
Acrylic on canvas, 15 x 15 cm.

Solarplate etching again

01 May 2011

For my next solarplate etching, I've enlarged my drawings before processing them onto the plate. (In the previous etching, the drawings were slightly reduced.)

The original drawings were about 6 x 4 inches. On the plate, they are about 8 x 5.5 inches (A5). I etched them onto a single A4 plate, and then printed it.

Then I cut the plate, and printed them separately.

Room 511, Ambos Mundos Hotel, Havana. The room where Hemingway wrote “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. Solarplate etching, approx A5.

Havana backstreets. Solarplate etching, approx A5.

Again, it's exciting to see how well the solarplate picks up every mark and nuance of the drawn line and watercolour washes, particularly at this larger size.

You can see the original drawings here and here.