Category Archives: Printing

A long love affair with a drawing

Just over two years ago I produced one of my favourite drawings at a life class. I called her Neuroscience because she actually was a neuroscientist, taking a gap, working at an art centre between finishing her bachelor’s degree and starting her master’s.

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I love the relaxed pose and the thoughtful expression. I’ve put her into an exhibition and was relieved that she didn’t sell. I don’t really want to part with her.

I’ve based more works on this image than any other I have done. The first was a mixed media work, with rectangles of handmade paper pasted onto a canvas and then over-painted with acrylic.

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There was no plan to this image, I had no idea what I was going to do, but I loved the outcome. With a great imaginative flair, I called her Neuroscience 2. She hangs in our bathroom, which seems appropriate for a nude.

Next I tried a pastel on pastel board. Quite a different effect and I love the colour, but it’s not my favourite of the series. Yes, Neuroscience 3

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After that I discovered relief printing for the first time, and a version of my girl was one of my first linocuts, and still one of my favourites. I’ve tried her in various colours and with modifications to the block, which is one of the pleasures of printing. Yup, Neuroscience 4.

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I let her lie for a long while after that, but recently she returned, in a very grand way. I’ve become obsessed with graphite pencil drawing over the last few weeks. After a variety of still lifes and copies of photos and paintings, I thought it was time to give my girl another outing. This time I thought I would exploit the potential of pencil for intricate detail to give her a complete figure and some sort of context. It all got a bit out of hand because you can keep modifying pencil if you use good paper. I added and subtracted all sorts of elements, including a large Indian bronze bowl, which eventually bit the dust.

Below is the finished image, with some of the development work below. I needed a new title, so I think she is now the Queen of the Nudists. She’s hanging over my drawing board.

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Just a little printing

I haven’t done much printing recently, despite building a new hydraulic jack press, but I have done some. First, this year’s Christmas card, a lino print of a festive tufted duck. The red was dabbed onto the print with a stencil.

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Then I went to a Dry point engraving workshop, run by Beth Jenkins at Ardington School Of Crafts. The engraving itself, based on a photo I took last summer, didn’t look all that special, but when I rollered on coloured inks over the intaglio engraving, the whole thing suddenly came to life. More a monotype than an engraving.

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Japanese woodcut

I’ve just completed an excellent two day workshop at Ardington School Of Crafts run by Laura Boswell. An introduction to Japanese woodblock printing. An art form I love but I have never tackled before.

I started with an image of pine trees falling into the sea on the end of Furzey Island in Poole Harbour. I photographed it last week and even did a sketch of it in charcoal whilst sitting cross legged on the roof of my boat.

Laura took us through the stages of breaking the design down into blocks which would build up the image. These are carved on both sides of the wood block and coloured using horse hair brushes, watercolour paint and rice paste.

The blocks are printed onto damp paper, using a baren to burnish the back. I produced several multicoloured images and a final, fairly rushed one just in blue, which is very traditional.

It’s a fascinating technique. These results aren’t that great, but they are a starting point. Hokusai, here I come…

Confident women prints, and an Etsy store at last.

I have been working on a series of prints called Confident Women. So often images of women have either demurely downcast eyes, or a raised heavenward gaze. I want my girls to just be looking at the world as it is. The two below are the best so far, a blue lino cut and a red wood cut.

I have also finally got around to setting up an Etsy shop to try and shift some of these prints that are piling up. It is called JEGSart and you can find it here

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JEGSart

You can even buy these two prints there…

Narwhal print process

This was an interesting print in many ways. I only started printing a year ago, so each one is a whole new experience for me. This is a woodblock print, cut into blanks of lime wood I bought in Cumbria. The initial inspiration came from a beautiful photograph of a narwhal in the Geographical Magazine. This lead to a bit of research and a lot of sketching.

Using these sketches, I came up with a basic composition of two whales. Initially I had another tail and a tusk in it, but that looked too cluttered.

Before cutting a block, I spent a week sailing in the Canaries, where we had a wonderful sighting of pilot whales, which gave me thoughts on light on the animals.

I wanted to emphasise the underwater look, and that reminded me of a painting I produced a couple of years ago, based on Natasha Brookes’ short film of swimming in frozen lakes in Snowdonia.

Putting all of these together gave me the basis for the print. The background printed from one block first, using a grade colour to try to give a feeling of deep water below a sunlit surface. The image shows the first layer printed above the inked block.

Each whale was then printed from a separate block, so I could vary the density of colour, to heighten the overlap.

One feature of the Snowdonian swimming painting I liked was the hint of schools of fish. Rather than cutting another block, I cut a paper stencil and rolled ink through it onto a blank lime wood block and then pulled a print from that. This smudged the fish a bit, which was probably a good thing.

Putting all of this together gave me the final print, which I have stamped in an edition of eight.

Dry point engraving

This is new. My first drypoint engraving. Scratched on a thin piece of perspex I took from a cheap picture frame. Nothing complete here, it was just an experiment. Laid the plastic over a sketch of one of my woodcut prints and scratched away with the point of a compass. Rubbed in some ink and wiped the surface with some kitchen paper. Then pressed some wet Japanese paper into it with the back of spoon. I hadn’t expected anything to transfer, so I’m pleased with what did.

I am hopeful that Father Christmas might be delivering me a small etching press in a couple of weeks, so I will wait until then before further experiments.

Leafy print

The first layer of my planned leafy art nouveau woodcut is fully cut and prints quite well, although I am not sure of final colours at all.

I am planning an over lying layer of a leafy girl to compliment, but she is just in the planning stage. I want her to have a thick, plaited pig tail which will echo the least shapes. I was really struggling with this until I noticed a girl working in the cafe had a perfect pig tail, so I tried copying it, and have just about worked out how they work.