Linocut weekend

I spent the weekend on a two day linocut workshop at the Ardington School of Craft near Wantage. It was run by Laura  Boswell, who is a wonderful artist and, as it proved, an equally wonderful tutor. She is a dedicated printer, specialising in linocut and Japanese woodblock printing.

I did a print of a bird of paradise first. This is a reduction process, so you cut away the block for each colour, ending up with a fixed number of prints and often a totally useless block. In this case, the final block was still quite a good outline of the bird (see the header image) which I might be able to reuse.

The second image was meant to be a Dorset seascape, but was rushed. I liked the colours, but the drawing was terrible.

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Another new sketchbook

I like making them more than using them at the moment. This one incorporates ideas from the first two. The covering paper is some wonderful wrapping paper from the Bodelian library. Linings are two lino cut prints I had lying around. There is now room for a pen. It is bound with proper book tape from the wonderful Vintage Paper Company in Orkney. Where you can also get unsold watercolour paper made in the early 20th century.

Another sketch book, with a difference.

I enjoyed making my Ed Mostly concertina sketchbook so much that I’ve made another one, even though I haven’t drawn a line in the first one yet. This has a number of differences. A little smaller, so it can fit into a pocket more easily. The covers a wider than the pages, so there is room to fit a pen inside the closed sketch book, something I have always wanted. But most radically, two different types of paper, smooth watercolour and grey, textured pastel. I thought of just sticking one onto the end of the other, but instead, stuck them both to the middle cover, so one opens out one way, and one the other. Not sure how it will work in practice, but I’ll soon find out.

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Headless no more

I’ve started working on repairing my poor headless girl. I knew drastic measures were needed, or I would simply redraw all of the errors. So I copied some of Degas’ techniques, on the basis that no one has ever done pastels better than him. I traced the photograph of the girls head off my tablet, and then transferred this to the painting with a yellow transfer paper (yes, Degas used photographs and tracings. Many of his best pictures are actually on teaching paper, with masses of fixative spray on them to keep everything in place. If it’s good enough for him, it’s more than good enough for me.)

This resulted in a much smaller head than I had originally drawn. You can still see a shadow of that above her. Now I am working pastel over it. It needs to be fixed, not so much to protect it as to give a tooth for the pastel to grip on. She isn’t finished, but it’s not far off. I want her to look much more abstract than I drew before. Nearly there at last.

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