Thursday, 29 August 2013


For my next trick, I will try a three colour linocut.  Norman Ackroyd once said if you get your technique down, you're halfway to beating the competition. Or words to that effect.

This is not for any special project or exhibition, I'm going to try & teach myself with this one so I can see how it's done. I've worked in black and white for long enough, and now I want to master colour. And make something a bit more complex.

But it's a good idea to start with a simple image. Why ducks? I don't know, I like them. I like teals especially.*

First, find your duck.

Image found on Google. Sorry, photographer, I did not make a note.  If you are really good, you can find a real live duck and draw it in situ.

Next, draw your duck. 


Then, colour your duck. I wanted to colour with pencils so that there are nice defined areas of colour to make it easier when it comes to making the 3 plates, but apparently I don't have any colour pencils so acrylic had to suffice.

Coloured in ducks.

In my head, the final print will have the same kinds of colours as this Paul Klee painting, but we shall see.

Coming next: turning the drawing into three separate printing plates.

* Actually am not entirely above sordid commerce. I noticed that little bird prints did really well at the RA Summer Show. Edition of 50 @ £150 a pop = not a bad day's work.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Dreamland welcomes you

Update: I'm way ahead of the Guardian, me. 

I went to check out Margate, the up & coming artist quarter of the UK. This is where people are moving out to, now Hoxton and Shoreditch and Hackney Wick have been oversaturated and property developers have cottoned on, and now Whitstable is too expensive if you're looking to move out of the city for some bracing sea air. Give it a few more years and it will be Whitstable, all chichi and gentrified.

Maybe not for a while though. There are pretty vintage shops and the flash newTurner Contemporary on the seafront, but it is derelict and undeniably poor - between the shops and the new little galleries are buildings just rotting where they stand. (There's also an interesting undercurrent of violence and what can only be described as nutterdom, a kind of seedy Brighton Rock ambience exemplified by the old amusement arcades, that no amount of new cafes serving flat whites and polenta cake can disguise.)   There are 2 bed flats available for £210,000 - I'm a bit obsessed with flat prices at the moment - which wouldn't buy you a shed in most of London - but what would you do for work?

It makes you realise that no matter how run down areas of London get, being in the capital insulates us from this kind of dereliction. You always know there's money sloshing around the city, even if it doesn't slosh around you and your area.

Anyway,all this was highlighted for me the moment I stepped out the station, and saw the Ugliest Building Ever Built. I can't believe that human beings would ever be expected to live in this. It doesn't look so bad in the photo as the sun was out, but can you imagine in the winter with that English grey lead sky and sea mists and wind and cold? Suicide towers. Here you can see Dreamland peeping out behind, like it's posing for a Martin Parr photo.

Suicide Towers

Sunbathing seagulls


Wednesday, 14 August 2013


Wood engraving - but on plastic!

I did not find the engraver's plastic as satisfying as working on wood. And not entirely happy with this image, but I will rework it, no time in the studio. (This is from a photo by Alessandra Meniconzi from the Royal Geographic Photography exhibition, I would link to it except they have an annoying scrolling flash display. )

Still, we had a beautiful two days in the studio, lovely people, lovely tutor, lovely chat, learned a lot.  14 hours of pure pleasure. The people I meet in this world are 95% happier than the ones I see at work every day. Why can't I do this all the time?

Tip for new engravers: do not choose an image which is of the snowy wastes. Basically, lots of black is what you want, not lots of white.
Engravers' plastic

Transferring the image

Starting to engrave

final print - darker than I wanted

Friday, 9 August 2013

Art Hierarchy

I was going to write a post about this, but I think this said it all actually.

(I meant the woman brandishes the sword, not the tiger, by the way. You know what I mean.)


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Scratch that

... because, when the piece of wood arrived, in order to prepare the design in advance of the workshop, it was only this big.

Back to the drawing board.

Still, watch while I turn it into a piece of art with my bare hands.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Voting time

Choose a picture, any picture.  Which one would you like to see turned into a high defintion black and white print?

Or nominate your own image, any ideas would be welcome, I need to have it roughed out by Wednesday

(The last time I did this, more people were reading my blog. But even just one vote will do! Your vote is precious to me!)
Expectant cats at the fish market


Under the bridge

Royal Inn


Bearskin band

 I know this last photo has probably appeared before, but I do like it. I think it will probably work best as a screenprint, one day I'll get around to it.

It is interesting to me that no matter how urban you are, animals will always be a choice when it comes to making images.