Category Archives: Uncategorized

Oil painting

Not my favourite medium, although I have done quite a few in the past. Still working with our restricted pallette of red, yellow, blue and white. It is useful, but when I’m out of class I use all sorts of colours. Orange and purple are good! 

This nude is not great, but she has since monumental qualities. 

Two colour lino prints 

I’m enjoying the lino printing. One thing I find hard is that it is slow. You need to take more time than I naturally do. 

I thought my dancing nude would look better with no background at all, a la Eric Gill (an artist whose work is a problem to me. I think it is wonderful, but I find him abhorrent personally. Always a difficulty.) 

I think she does look much better this way. Good thing as there is no going back when you have carved the block. This is on a light, Italian printing paper. 

Then I thought I would try a second colour. 

I like this too, on thin Japanese paper. The burnt sienna is just rolled onto a cut out bit of soft cut lino and hand positioned. 

The problem is I will soon have a house full of prints. 

Lino printing tools

Carrying on with the lino printing. I have made a simple bench hook, Eric gives a very solid support for the printing block whilst you are carving it. Again, an idea from YouTube. I have used bench hooks for normal wood working for years, to hold wood still whilst you saw it. This works just as well, especially if the link is glued to a baking block. Just three bits of wood, a piece of plywood and some glue. You can buy one for £20…

Looking through some remaindered books in a local discount store, I found a book on “Anatomy for Plates Exercises” which is actually one of the best artists anatomy books I have found. Strange what you find. 

More lino cuts 

Had a second go at a lino cut. I have looked at some videos on the web, which are of mixed use. One had a very good idea of gluing the lino to a plywood blank. This makes it much more stable and easy to use. 

I worked on a series of sketches for something a bit more more original this time, working on my usual plan that if you don’t know what to draw, a naked woman usually works. After several sketches I came up with a dancing girl, whose geometry I quite liked. This had to be traced and transferred in reverse to the block for cutting. I have got the lines too thick in this case. I went for a simple white outline for this attempt, which minimises the cutting. 

I have run off a number of prints on some strange, thin Japanese paper I have had kicking around for a long time. 

Can you spot the block amongst the prints? 

Very hard to get a consistent ink coverage. I like the ones where the body is slightly faded. This seemed to happen if I rubbed down the body with my fingers and the background  with a hard spoon. 


This is something new. I was giving a beginners lino printing kit for Christmas and finally dug it out. Brand new medium for me. I tried to copy a pen and ink book plate which u drew when I was at school I think. Don’t know how it survived. The outcome is poor, but you only learn by trying. 

Painting on coloured paper 

Experiments with watercolour on coloured paper today. The paper colour will change the paint colour except where you use opaque white gouache. That can either give you a white base or an opaque version of the main colour. We painted little daffodils on three colours of paper. Well, it is nearly spring. I think the last I did, on light brown paper, was best. Largely because I was getting used to the subject and zoomed in on the detail.

Watercolour; an old shed in the garden 

This week’s class was about drawing and painting. We spent nearly two hours using fine line pens to build up a dense, textured drawing of a garden with an old shed in it, and then half an hour sloshing watercolour over it. It needed longer than that as the paint really needed to dry in stages. 

Although I quite liked the result, I think it probably looked better when it was just a drawing… 

Mixed media seed heads 

I was at my last mixed media class today. I have decided to give them a rest, at least until the autumn. We were looking at doing first a large and then a small drawing based on an array of seed heads. I chose some dried Chinese lanterns, as I liked the warm colours. The large drawing is in pastels predominantly, with some over-working with charcoal and conte crayon. 

Then I focused on one lantern and drew it just with a very fine fineliner. I did this in a curious little sketchbook I bought in Tamil Nadu over ten years ago. Made in the Auroville ashram in Pondicherry, a place that did not impress me favourably when I visited it a couple of years later. 

The paper has a beautiful, almost basketweave texture. Made by survivors of the 2001 tsunami, allegedly. I must use it more. It is hinged at one corner, which is unusual. 

Dorset landscape 2, the Agglestone Rock

This is another little landscape which has taken up a lot of time. I’m not sure even now  if it is finished. The Agglestone rock is a crumbling sandstone outcrop above Studland heath in Dorset. I hiked out to it on a hot morning in August. I took a photo of what is a beautiful scene. There is something irresistible about isolated ancient rocks. 

I sketched the view with the intention of painting it, so there are some colour notes scattered about. 

The first painting was on the wrong shaped board and I was never that happy with it. 

I stated all over again on a long, narrow canvas. This has been repainted at least four times. I’m still not sure about the skyline to the right of the rock. The heather colour is very difficult to achieve but this looks the most convincing so far. I wanted a feeling of a deep landscape, and I think that works.  I shall leave it for now, and possibly for good. 

Dorset landscape/seascape 1

I have been struggling over two small acrylic landscapes based on sketches I did last summer. I think this one is just about done. I have completely repainted it about four times. I’m very pleased with the distant hills, quite pleased with the forefront grassy dunes and the sunny lady. Not certain about the sea, but this is so much better than it was that I think I will stick with this. The other landscape still needs a bit more tinkering. 

After six months of work, I think I’ll call it “The Red Hat”