Saturday, 24 September 2016

Snow White - Ready to print?

I’ve had three goes at this block!

The first block was almost finished when I managed to stick tape right across the bodice , which needs to be a flat pale colour in the print, and completely lifted the smooth top surface.

I finished the scene inside the skirt in the second attempt and then realised that I hadn’t reversed the image. There is no text but the image needs to be read left to right, ‘mirror, mirror’ followed by the poisoned apple.

Third time lucky? I’m not sure. The varnish looks uneven and I’ve a horrible feeling that it might show on the print. But I’m not sure how to try fixing it without making it worse so I’ll have a go with the ink and hope I don’t’ have to deal with it.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Homage to Patrick Hughes

I’ve been busy this week. I decided it was time to finish the Four Seasons Perspective book using the etched image.
I had thought of inking each section in a different colour to reflect the different seasons but after trying it as a mock up (altering the colours on the computer) decided that the different blocks of colour broke up the unity of the image too much. So I printed a set of 10 using a burnt umber ink. I may make another set using a Prussian blue later.
When I made the mock up I made it with rectangular covers but this spoilt the optical illusion at the ends of the book so I decided to go with a trapezium to reflect the folded shapes. This does make the image read better.
The uniformity of colour does mean that it isn’t as obvious that the same room is going through changes as the season changes though so I have re-titled it “Homage to Patrick Hughes”.

I am considering developing the image in watercolour to emphasise the four seasons narrative and make a companion book. This week  I bought a light pad so that I could work directly onto watercolour paper and not need to trace the image in graphite first. It is wonderful, thin enough to work with on my work table and bright. So much more comfortable than working with images taped to the window, and I can work at night!
I haven’t started the watercolour yet but it is making the drawing and redrawing of my next collagraph print so much easier.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Butterflies and Cats

I finally finished the butterflies.
Having scraped and burnished the body and wings I first tried soft ground etching to give the detail but after 5 minutes in the copper sulphate it had only bitten in odd spots. I think there was too much residual grease from the ground on the plate. It did however break up the too even polished surface of the wings.
So I decided to degrease thoroughly and try with a hard ground. Much better bite.
 Then a repeat print in the same ink (a mix of Prussian blue and burnt sienna - it gives a lovely steely grey) with a rollover of white mixed with a trace of burnt sienna. They are only slightly different but the rollover has warmed the butterfly.
I’m not completely happy, I should have burnished back the antenna to make them white rather than etching them, they are rather lost against the background, but I think it’s time to try out what I’ve learned on a new image.

On a different note it’s panto time again (oh no it isn’t, etc, etc)

Trying to be organised this year I decided to try and get the publicity artwork done early. This is the painting for the 4 foot banner that will go outside the hall to (hopefully) drum up an audience.
 Not the most thrilling image but it does have to incorporate a lot of text and be readable from passing cars.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Reworking a butterfly

I only had time for a short trip to HBP this week. I've decided to rework the butterfly that I etched using gum arabic transfer as a resist.
I like the text but the butterfly is far too dark to read against the background and it lacks detail.
I started by scraping and burnishing. I wanted to clear the butterfly back to nearly white but leave some underlying texture.
 I think the next step will be to put a soft ground on the plate. I’ll draw into this to give the darks

Wednesday, 17 August 2016


It’s been a bit quiet on the work front for the past three weeks because we’ve been away staying with friends in France.
Lots of sun and wine, good food and good company. What more could anyone want.