Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Up to date, hurrah (Happy now Sean??) NEW WEBSITE.

As mentioned in the previous post I have decided to get my Blog completely up to date by the simple method of immediately jumping forward through time to the present day and putting up the most recent event in my career calender. (Cheating I know)

I will drop in the important stuff I have chronologically overtaken as and when it arrives in the present day because there is some lovely stuff to share; a three day courses, a one to one session, a couple of new Pembrokeshire prints ( nice ) my first attempt at recovering a Baren ( Insanely and fiendishly difficult ), my first faltering steps at a multiblock/reduction print and a couple of days with the modern master of Japanese woodblock printmaking Laura Boswell who completely confounded and flummoxed me. With all that to recount you can see why I floundered in my attempt to keep up?

The main point of this first all new and gleaming up to date blog is however  to mention the launch, or relaunch, of my new and improved website:

A lot of work has been done by my partner Sian and Sean our friend to bring the site up to date, with bigger pictures, a simpler, streamlined choice of prints, links to this blog and my facebook page Reliefprint, a proper shop featuring my book, cards, new range of Giclee prints of sold out editions, links to the galleries featuring my work and information about current and forthcoming exhibitions. Have a look and let me know what you think.

As we can't leave without a picture here is a picture;

The first of my new series for my St Davids Studio Gallery exhibition next year, if there are any left by then. It is also the first of a set of three featuring the Choughs that ride the updraft along the coastal path. I will post the print stages in my next post, coming soon. (honest Sean)

No Seriously..

Lets try that again.

Answer; Here really is a really lovely picture of a tree, again, produced by Amanda Hillier. Who along with Rosey Bennet and Nga Smith (From the USA) came on my three day intensive course 10th - 12th October.

Amanda's Tree.
What I've decided to do with the backbloglog is all/none of the above. I was going to do a quick all in one go, catch up, precis. Apart from the odd thing I still want to do in more detail. Which I will drop in when, and where, the hell I like. But already in writing this and not posting it immediately I have far to much to catch up with in one go. So as I really wanted to get this particular course up on the blog, show the lovely work and talk about how lovely the guests where. ( Especially as one of the guests, Rosey, has just mailed me to ask how to find this blog. Ulp. Hi Rosey.) We will start again after this. Promise

Here is some more lovely work;

'Cherry head' By Rosey Bennet
It was a really enjoyable course, as always. As the two pictures here demonstrate there was some very striking work produced. The graduation in both pictures working really nicely. As sky in Amanda's and as background in Roseys. It really sets of the red, which we weren't sure would work that well over the top of the other blue/brown tones. This was a picture of a women with a hat full of cherries that that both Rosey and I agreed just had to be tried as a print. Having such a strong red caused some problems with colour layering. The green blue underneath in the graduation worked against the red a little bit but it works really well in the lips and for the fur collar.

A really striking print that has made me want to come back to playing with figurative and portraits. Watch out.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Post this... or this? what about THIS?

I'm sure it is a common enough problem with the blog, when things are a bit hectic out in the real world and the posts start lagging behind a bit. Result? A bit of a backbloglog, so the next time you have a couple of minutes spare you sit down to blog-up. Then realise you've got too much to catch up on in the time available. Sooo do you just do what you can now or put it off until you have enough time to do it all. Why the latter of course. Which also means by the time you sit down again even more has happened so you are even more behind. Thus needing even more time. Which is slightly more then the increased amount of time you have allocated. This time.

Question; Do you dash past a quick precis of all you have missed listing and then, up to date, deal with the most recent in more detail? Do the most recent first then keep on into the future but throw in the odd out of order past times as and when you can? Or pull your finger out, spend a bit of time catching up properly and promise never, EVER to get behind again.. Honest?

Answer: Here is a pretty picture of a tree ;

' Tree' by Amanda Hillier

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Masterclass 2.

Last month was another trip up to the Royal Cambrian Academy at Conwy for the second masterclass in Linocut and another early start. Not something I usually have to worry about, not working as Ian the Postman anymore. That's another story, a long tale of early starts, heavy bags, huge breakfasts, despair at 02.00 am, and a papercut to make a samurai wince.

The nearest I get now is either, sometimes both in a miniature tag team, of my children jumping on my head to say good morning. Even then I don't actually get up. Of course when I say early I actually mean about 07.30 which is when most working people get up anyway so I don't expect any sympathy.

There has been a good response to these courses with both fully booked and even the waiting list having a waiting list, so linocut is certainly popular. The usual interesting mix of people, ages and abilities wander in looking a bit nervous clutching an assortment of pencil cases, sketchbooks and bags although as usual there is very few men. 
The aim of the course is to get across in about six hours an understanding of the process of Reduction Linocut. Easy right? yeah dead simple.

I tend to jump straight in as time is limited, discus the materials we are to use, how to use them and then dash round the group looking at the suitability/unsuitability of the reference. Can it be turned into a linocut. Then silence descends as everyone concentrates on drawing/tracing their image onto the lino and I catch my breath for the first time since the kids jumped on my head. Another quick talk on tool use and abuse, mainly how not to cut yourself, and then it's on to cutting the white away.

With so many people and so few time I am a bit bossy and dictate that everyone is using the same colours, which makes ten people inking up a lot easier. This is when the room comes alive. After the drawing and cutting and perhaps not quite understanding how the process works. When the first print is pulled back is always a bit of an Aha moment. The trainee printer always stands dead still holds the print up and just looks at it for a moment while it all sinks in, then usually they nod. Just a tiny bit, then carry on.

We print a second colour if we have time, which means sometimes it is straight to the black to provide a nice sense of contrast with the white. Well it would if the highly trained, professional artist had actually remembered to bring the black. Eeek everyone was far to polite to comment. A dark blue it is then.
By the second colour everyone has pretty much got an understanding of the process and is buzzing with excitement. As a jaded, bitter old (ish) printer this enthusiasm and enjoyment does genuinely rekindle the enormous pleasure taken in creating an image from this simple method. I do get genuinely excited and really impatient to see what the image will look like. Lurking by a students elbow, bending over to see the image first as they peel the paper back from the block. The magic moment when you first see the new, right way round, image. 

A great aspect of linocut is just how simple the actual technique is, teachable to anyone in a couple of hours. However the depth of sophistication and variety of expression capable within that same simple method (Carve block, ink on block, paper on block, pressure. Clean block, carve some more ...) is extraordinary.

A nice bunch of people produced a nice set of interesting linocuts and every one went home happy with the quietly bubbling contentment you only get creating a small piece of yourself in the form of a small piece of artwork. Lovely.