Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Walk like a duck..

After the lovely inspiring work of Tamsin, back to the final thoughts on where I'm going over the next couple of months or six: 

13. Waterfalls - All the Japanese woodblock artists I enjoy have all done an impressive collection of waterfall prints, sometimes with another focus, trees weathering the storm in front of the torrent, birds nesting by the splashing waters. Usually with an underlying meaning of fortitude, strength and steadfastness. 

Waterfalls combine all of my favourite elements in a subject. They have the movement and natural drama that rushing crashing water gives a picture. Like my coastal work, while their location in the hills and mountains supplies the exciting intersecting angles and dramatic lighting of the best of the mountain compositions. There is also something a bit mystical and uplifting about waterfalls even by the proxy of a two dimensional image. So come the heavy rains of spring I will be out waterfall hunting.  

Having done a couple of waterfalls already, this is one of my favourites, and indeed I must say one of my favourite prints. Really happy with the composition, the colour and the sense of chiaroscuro opening out from the dark shadowed background to the river rushing towards the viewer in the light. 

14. Nocturne - Try doing a small series of Nocturnes to look at limited colour, different light levels. lack of clarity and focus - Experiment with suggesting half seen scenes rather than all explicit black outlined clarity under a midday sun I currently end up with. Will combine this with the 'mist' prints which have a similar underlying idea.

15. Kacho - Ga - Prints of birds and nature. I always stick a little bird or two in my prints, to me they suggest movement in an otherwise static picture, the life hidden within any landscape and the passing of time captured in the moment the drawing is completed. The next step would obviously be to concentrate on the bird/animal as the main focus of the print. I have done a couple of birdy prints, the main one being my 'Swan and Cygnets preen' from the Montgomery canal series.

Swan and Cygnets preen

I have though lots of little doodles done as asides while sitting by rivers or lakes drawing the 'big picture'. A couple of ducks usually wander up to see what I am up to and, more importantly do I have any bread. They usually get a little thumbnail or two instead of any wheat based delicacy and I wanted to see what more I could make of these little sketches without worrying about a finished print. More of a study to just muck about a bit really. These two are a scribble from the shore of Llyn Gwynant, and as such there is not even enough information to be ornithologically accurate. Although they did have black heads and black and white on their sides. Any more knowledgeable twitchers feel free to ID my duckies. I was more concerned with loose play on pattern and texture than any attempt to show any particular breed.

Wildfowl study I

Particular bird targets are the heron, the red kite and the raven. All indigenous and almost all viewable from my garden in mid wales. The heron, especially, I see crashing out of the drainage ditches and flapping in their particularly prehistoric way into its favourite tree, whenever I walk my dog down to the Dyfi river. To get a closer look at the others I am going to need to get my boots dirty though and in the case of the raven, gain a bit of altitude. Oh dear a day on the hills, I may have to tramp up to the ridge of Cadair Idris, or even Aran Fawddwy to watch ravens tumbling and dancing with each other in the clear cold air. Poor old me!


  1. Hi Ian
    The ducks are male Goosanders I think from your description, the females are grey with reddish brown heads.

    Tamsins' Hare is a great print I really like the movement and atmosphere in it.

  2. Thanks Stuart,

    That was my narrowed down option, but I wasn't confident enough in the detail of my sketch to be sure. Thanks for the confirmation.

  3. Hi Ian
    I really like your blog.
    Your work "Wildfowl study I" seems very good. How have you made ​​the background colors?
    I have linked your site on my blog.


  4. Hi Fran,

    Thanks. The background colour is created by using the roller very loosely over the block without completely covering it, to allow the white paper to show through on the majority of the print.