Monday, 30 April 2012

Last colour for the Oystercatchers

Put the final colour, black, on the Oystercatchers number 1 today. As usual I immediately start wondering if I should have left it pre-black, three colour, as I feel the black is a bit heavy. I did need the black though for the plumage of the birds and it does give a nice contrast with the white in the foreground. As previously mentioned it does make the background colours a lot paler by comparison which helps with the sense of depth in the print.

Final black layer

Cutting the sky in a halftone does make it paler and less green than the sea when it's the same layer and colour. Again was a bit worried with the colour of the sea initially thinking it was a bit too green. Actually very happy with the final hue. Like the style of the cutting in the sky as a first experiment, needs a bit more playing with to see what I can get out of it.

Next is the Oystercatchers number 2. There be no playing with the sky in this print as there isn't one. Just one of the best crashing wave seas I've seen and managed to catch on my wanderings.

In the foreground a small group of bemused Oystercatchers watching the waves crashing on the beach and thinking "I'll give that a miss".  

Friday, 27 April 2012

Next colour, one to go..

Put the next colour on the Oystercatchers 1 today. Went for a dark rich brown mixed down to a deep blue to give a bit of variety and suggest a blue watery shade to the puddles.  Though I didn't particularly want the two smaller foreground rocks to be blue, but brown like the main rock. This lead to a couple of experimentations with over rolling the two rocks with the brown part of the graduation out of sequence with the small roller. Cheatin' a little bit, but only a little bit.

Third layer

They can have a bit of a dry over the weekend and then its the black.....

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Next birdie suite - Oystercatcher

Just about halfway through my next print, which is another Pembrokeshire picture with birds in. This time Oystercatchers instead of Chough. Oystercatchers are such a linocut bird. They have lovely bold black and white plumage and big pointy red beaks just perfect for a bit of a focal point in a linocut seascape.

This is the tracing I use to transfer the image to lino, after which I coloured it in to give me a rough idea what I was doing and to work out the what and where of the graduations.

During my last course,  with Sarah and Bob, we were looking through the work of an American Woodcut artist called JJ Lankes, who did lovely atmospheric black and white work. We were after inspiration on a background for Bob's bird. JJ uses a signature method for half-toning his skies by cutting fine parallel lines ( See below ) which Bob really liked and thought might work on his print, and he was right.

JJ Lankes 

I was already interested in the way it looked in JJ's prints and after seeing the results of Bob's print thought I should give it a go. ( One of the main reasons for having my workshops is to try out techniques and experiment safely with/on other artists work, that and steal any nice ideas they might have, of course. Thanks Bob ) I also wanted to try it out because I could use a darker toned blue for the first layer, giving a darker sea, without the sky, hopefully, being too dark as it would be more of a halftone due to all the cutting. This will negate the need for a second graduation being used mainly to darken down the sea and save it for the foreground. I also liked the way it gives a bit of body to the clouds without using the second colour.

First layer graduation.

First layer graduation. The sea has come out a bit greener than I would like due to the yellow in the foreground brown mixing with the blue in the background colour for the hills. Think it will work out okay as the sea will lighten as the following colours go on. Happy with the waves and do like the linear cutting for the sky just not sure if it works with the rest of the picture. It seems to instantly date that part of the picture as old and make it more woodcutty. Which may then clash with the rest of the print. Although again it will lighten up and should become more subtle and tonal as the darker colours go on around it, especially the birds. 

Detail showing sky & Oystercatchers

The second colour graduation. Much happier with the colour of the sea now the hills are darker and the crashing waves are building up nicely. Sky still a bit forward but I think once the last black colour goes on and the birds are a nice dramatic black and white it should, should, look okay. 

Second layer graduation

Do like the big billowing clouds though but could have cut a bit more white away from the tops to make them lighter and fluffier. ( My next print is of the Happisburgh lighthouse in Norfolk which, being Norfolk, has a very BIG sky with lots of fluffy and angry clouds filling more than half the picture so I will try this method again with those but really go to town. )

Tomorrow I print the third colour. Although I need to first finish the cutting of the waves and decide on the texture/patterning of the rocks as well as which sections of the wet sand in the foreground to cut away. Not even sure which colour/s/graduation to use. I'm hoping inspiration will hit overnight. I'll also put up Sarah and Bob's pictures in the next post.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Private view in Oxford

Have just received a very interesting invite from an alumni of my lino workshop from a couple of years ago. Robin Wilson an anthropologist is now working as a linocut artist in residence at Wytham woods producing a series of prints about the woods. He is having a pre-finish viewing of the work so far at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Have a look at the official info here

I am looking forward to a little trip down to Oxford for the private view soon.

March workshop

The first group workshop of the year and a really enjoyable three days. Two very different willing victims, Lee a painter and printmaker from the Crickhowell area, and Elizabeth a very enthusiastic beginner from near Bristol.

As usual we started with an artists waffling on about his own work for a morning, while the paying customers tried to squeeze a word or questions in when they could. Then we looked at subjects for a black and white image, and chatted about tools, materials and techniques.

After a successful day and a half printing the black and white prints we moved on to the main event.

Elizabeth used the same image again for her colour, while Lee nipped down the spa to buy some fruit for reference for his bowl of fruit image.

Fox and Lapwings by Elizabeth Smith

The bowl of fruit had a variety of final incarnations as we discussed the mount of black line/shadow it needed to be the most optimum. Below is the final version with only a small amount of black on the fruit above the line of the glass bowl. There was such a nice delicacy of colour and tone in the fruit we decided that too much black killed of the subtlety of the colour. So Lee kept cutting a little bit more each time and printing until he was happy. Two really lovely prints and well done to both Lee and Elizabeth.  

Bowl of fruit by Lee Wright