I’ve gone through a period of drawing birds in coloured pencil, after seeing some wonderful work by Jessica Lennox at Slimbridge. It’s a curious medium. Slow but meticulous. You can work on colours by endless layering, but it can be hard to get really intense colour. These are all based on my own photographs. I haven’t found it a good medium for drawing from life. These are all roughly A4 size.
After two weeks in Tanzania, I have produced just one painting. Of zebras, which fascinate me. Done from a photo as it was not possible on the move. Acrylic on a small canvas.
Back home at Susan Kester’s drawing class. A fabric study in charcoal. It started out terrible, but got better.
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.
Each time I go out drawing birds I produce anything up to four sheets of drawings or paintings. The question was what on earth to do with them. I already have a plan chest full of work which I have to edit down, i.e. clear out and burn, at regular intervals. So I decided to work at a fixed size page, 12in by 9in, and bind the finished work into sewn books. I’ve completed the first one, with about 24 pages and an old woodblock print on the cover.
I used the coptic stitch binding that I learned a few months ago. It’s a bit loose, but it makes a nice coffee table book, and at least it is easy to look at the pictures, which are well protected.