Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Ahoy. Ahah

I've always loved the tang of the sea air and fancied myself as a bit of a salty sea dog, without really going to sea that much. Though I have always enjoyed the little sailing I have managed. So when my dad invited me along on one of his sailing trips with the old boys I hesitantly jumped at the chance. A week cooped up in a tiny boat with my dad and two complete strangers in the midst of the Irish Sea with some of the most unpredictable weather in the world, what could go wrong?

Well surprisingly nothing really. Apart from a touch of going green for the first day, due to the weather being so rough, it was a good trip. We sailed from Whitehaven to Portpatrick and once I had my sea legs it was really enjoyable to sit on the pitching back deck, sketchbook clutched in hand drawing.  Trying to catch the coast sliding past at a rate of about 7 - 8 knots and the constant swell and shift of the waves passing underneath lifting then dropping the boat and roaring away towards the shore.  

Normally a 'Coastal' landscape involves a walk along the coast looking down or out to sea, seeing the front of a wave breaking and crashing landward. It was a novel and exciting challenge to be out at sea looking in to shore and watching the back of the wave moving away from me against the back drop of the land.

I think some of the sketches I produced over a couple of days rank up there with the best I have ever produced. In terms of their natural drama, composition and potential to be great prints. I'm really keen to continue the draw from the sea method, just perhaps not by sail. Sea Kayak maybe?

So when Aberystwyth Printmakers called for work for two new shows, both to consist of A4 sized prints there was only one set of sketches I reached for. One of the shows is at Aberystwyth Arts Centre opening the 8th of May, the other was at Wharapuke in New Zealand.

This print is of the Little Ross lighthouse, on the entrance to Kirkcudbright Bay, being left astern as we raced away.

Usually I enlarge my sketches from A4 up to A2 size but I finally thought I would have a go at doing the print the same size as the sketch. I only used a couple of colours and black and when I inked up purposefully kept the inking loose and quite random. Making sure not to cover the entire printing area. This keeps the print loose and spontaneous and is in keeping with the sketch and subject matter. It also adds a certain feeling of thinness and translucence which helps give the waves depth. With this print I also tried an all brown version.

This is Little Ross lighthouse earlier as we left Kirkcudbright Bay and turned to travel along the coast

Very happy with how these turned out at A4, so the next thing is to try them at the usual A2 size and perhaps even larger.

But first.....

Back to the lakes of Snowdonia and a different paper!