This has been months in the making and I don’t know if it has been worth it. Last summer I caught a glimpse of a landscape as I drove through Wiltshire. A single bent tree on a horizon of ploughed fields, with sun lit masses of cloud either side. I must have seen it for less than two seconds, but I have been trying to recreate it ever since. Final layer of colour on it today, but I am unconvinced. I may tackle it again one day.
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.
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.
A daily drawing doesn’t have to be in a sketchbook. This is a lino block, laid out for a print of the Bessie Ellen West Country ketch setting sail.
It will be carved away in several stages to create the final printed image. I have an idea in my mind of how it will look, but it is very unlikely to end up that way. The cut away areas here will remain white throughout.
These are the first two printed layers, establishing just the basic cloud tones. Impossible to judge how good the finished print might be at this stage.
I’ve made several sketchbooks now, and I wanted to cut some sort of maker’s plate into them. As I’ve been very busy printing, cutting a lino block seemed the best idea. As I often do I liked back over years of life drawings to find inspiration and found this one, which is an old favourite.
Then I cut a block, which I think works quite well.
Printing straight into the book is a bit but and miss, but that rather adds to it.
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.
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.
The second layer, a light grey, suddenly brought the birds to life.
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.
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.