Category Archives: Printing

Birds of Poole no.3, the sandwich tern

These birds are ubiquitous out on the water in Poole Harbour and they are beautiful. I produced this reduction print a couple of weeks ago and I am very pleased with it. The reduction process uses just one linoleum block. You print the largest areas of the lightest colour first, then cut away the areas you want to remain that colour and print the next colour, and so on. If you print 10 copies of the first colour, then that is the maximum number of prints. You can’t go back and print an earlier colour, because the block had been cut down. With mistakes, I ended up with an edition of eight, and that is it.

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The first layer, with just the white areas cut away, looks like nothing at all, and I wasn’t sure how it would end up.

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The second layer, a light grey, suddenly brought the birds to life.

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The third layer, a dark grey, nearly completed the image, but I wanted a red wall at the bottom. No cutting needed, I masked off the area above the wall with a temporary strip of masking tape and just inked the wall.

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The final layer of black barely shows on these photos, but defines the black heads of the birds and sharpens the drawing. Just my seal needing adding to complete the work. All was printed on my home made press, which works remarkably well.

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Woodblock

I’m still immersed in printing. I’ve wanted to try woodcut for sometime but couldn’t think how to start. As usual, the best way is to just get on with it. This is a block of lime wood I’ve had for over a year, waiting for inspiration. I’ve sketched the head of a peregrine falcon onto it. Now I’m trying to see how to carve out the white to leave a printable surface. All will be revealed when it is inked up, but that is some way off

Lots of making of things

I’ve made myself a printing press, using some kitchen worktop, an old bed frame and a hydraulic jack, as you do. It works remarkably well.

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The last image shows a woodcut I have been working on at GPC. Interesting to do, but at the moment I still prefer linocut. The colour in the image is from a mini block.

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And to carry on with my sketchbook making, I have lagged together a little bookbinding press, using some more of the bed frame which went into the printing press.

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Haven’t used it in earnest yet. I need to get some decent paper first.

New printing class

I’ve started a relief printing class at the Gloucestershire Printmakers Cooperative in Thrupp, lead by Beth Jenkins. Got my hands on an Albion press for the first time. Very easy to use, because someone had already set it up. I was surprised by how little effort it took. I suspect the set up is anything but effortless. Produced a little, single block, multi colour print using a stencil and a new, too me, registration set up. A nice little print of a diving gannet, but I shan’t use it in my Poole birds series. It’s the wrong size.


Printing digression

I’ve produced my very first woodcut print. Hadn’t really planned to. I saw a lovely photograph of a black-headed seagull in the Café on Brownsea Island. Took a photo of the photo.

I wanted to do a sketch of the photo and just thought that it would fit nicely on the chunk of plywood I had in my studio for some other purpose. Having sketched it in black chalk, I thought, “I could just cut around that and print from it”. So I did. Carved the outline with lino cutters (probably to their detriment) and then hacked out the background with carpenter’s chisels. Is a horrible material. It doesn’t chip out, it just rips. I lost part of its tail and nearly lost its head.

But in the end, I like the print. Just lively and perky, like the original bird. I will try it again, but not with shuttering ply. I have a nice block of lime wood which I think will be much better.

Getting ready for a print series

Today was all about preparation. I bought 10 sheets of Zyrkal printing paper and cut them in half. Then cut five more MDF backing boards with a router, nearly messing up all of them in the process (always check TWICE… ). Stuck lino to each. I’m ready for at least three more designs, if not six. Stuck registration tabs on each sheet, using the new Ternes Burton registration pins I got from Handprinted in Bognor Regis,  who delivered in under 24 hours. I’ve never used them before, but they look like they should work. Keeping everything registered is crucial. Now just need to get drawing.

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