- 50 prints in 2017!
- I'm reviving the blog!
- Japanese woodblock printing day with Laura Boswell
- BAFA Japanese woodblock printing talk and demo with Laura Boswell
- Varnishing Day 2012
- Entering the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
- Varnishing Day at the Royal Academy of Arts 2011
- The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition letter
- Personalised cuff bracelet commission
14 March 2017
So inevitably, I have run a little behind with my challenge and also haven't had time to update my blog post! What I didn't think to factor in to my plan was a little contingency for illness and for those unexpected opportunities that pop up and are too good to miss!
Last night I managed to complete print 8/50 which is now hanging up to dry, I will share this next time I write.
I realised while totting up the work I had to display at Brill that I didn't have many new small woodland pieces, so print 7/50 is a small woodland print set in the spring, just before the bluebells emerge, Bright New Beech Leaves.
And this time of year I always seem to produce new bluebell work, I think I get excited about them appearing soon and then start looking through last years bluebell photos! Here is print number 6/50, Bluebell Walk
As I was starting to run a little behind with my challenge, I chose a quick mini print as print 5/50. For a while I've been inventing collective names for flowers and I thought this would make a nice running theme across some mini prints this year. This print is called A Promise of Snowdrops; always the first flowers to emerge and a sign of warmer times to come!
My biggest project of the year so far was print number 4/50 of my challenge, Daisy Delights. For this print I was keen to try some video footage. I managed to film every stage of this 8 colour print.
Here is my video...
14th February 2017
I am really pleased with my progress so far, I am 3 prints already this year and I shall be starting the fourth print today. To help me keep on track with my challenge I thought it would be helpful to break it down into months, so I looked at the calendar and decided how many prints I had to complete that month to keep me on track. It averages about 4 a month. One interesting development so far is that I have found I am spending much less time deciding what to produce next.
Here is print 3/50 Bluebell Dream completed on the 19th January.
I created this mini print because a customer requested it. I love doing these little bluebell scenes. I've done a few now and I'm confident imagining them rather than following a photo.
Here is print 2/50 Last Light, Waddesdon completed on the 16th January.
If you look closely you will notice that the sky is not a flat colour, this is because I decided to get a bit creative with my inking. I'm very pleased with the effect.
14th January 2017
I have started using the hashtag #50prints2017 on Twitter and Instagram so you can easily find all 50 prints. If you are a printmaker and fancy having a go at my challenge too, you are welcome to join me and use my hashtag.
13th January 2017
I didn't get as many prints produced in 2016 as I would have liked. In 2017 things are going to be different! I am determined to spend less time on non-artwork producing tasks and have set myself the target of producing 50 prints this year. This will be an extremely tough challenge for me. It will require very strict management of my time. In addition to this work producing challenge, I have also promised myself a bit more me time, i.e less long working days, less work at weekends, more time for exercise classes etc.
This will be difficult, but I am determined to make it work. I will keep this blog post updated with my progress! I will also be posting every print on my facebook page, so if you don't currently follow me, now might be a good time to start :)
Here is print 1/50 Pylon at Dusk completed on the 9th January.
The straight and curved lines were a challenge! It was great to experiment with a different type of cutting.
10 January 2017
After a huge gap in time since my last blog post, I thought I would revive it! I have removed a few posts that are no longer relevant to my current practise, so if you have come here looking for jewellery or paintings, I'm afraid those two activities are no longer my area of focus.
Since my linocuts featured in the Summer Exhibition in 2011 and 2012, my printmaking has gone from strength to strength. Now, nearly five years on, I am so happy to be able to say that I have forged an artistic career for myself as a printmaker. It hasn't always been easy but it has been very enjoyable. I hope that I can continue to improve and develop and I hope that I will have many more years of success ahead of me.
In 2014 I displayed my work at Windsor Art Fair. Although the fair wasn't a roaring success for me, I was positioned near another printmaker; Luna North. She told me about a website called Artfinder that she was selling her work through. She encouraged me to give it a try, so in November 2014 I applied to sell my work with them, I was accepted onto the site and set up my shop. After only a couple of weeks I had my first sale, I was so pleased. A couple of sales later and just after Christmas, Artfinder featured me in their Art of the Day email and my linocuts started to sell in readily - all over the globe! I could't believe it. Now two years on and several features from Artfinder later, I have sold over 250 linocuts with them.
Thank you Artfinder, and thank you Luna North. Her work is lovely, see Luna's website
Luna's Artfinder shop
My Artfinder shop
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
It is that time of year (again!) when I need to start thinking about what to enter into the Summer Exhibition. I have been entering every year since getting in; in 2015 I got a piece through rounds one and two and in 2016 I got a piece through round one, so I am still hopeful that I will get in again at some point! I'm not sure what my entries will be this year, I have a couple of ideas... I'll keep you updated!
50 Prints in 2017
I was pleased with the work I created in 2016 but a little disappointed with the quantity. I seemed to be so busy all the time, but not getting any artwork created - very frustrating! I am determined to cut down the time I spend on non artwork creating jobs! Already as I write this, I am into the second week of the year, I have completed one print and started another. Brilliant! My next blog post will be all about my 50 Prints in 2017
6 December 2012
I had a fabulous day yesterday learning how to do Japanese woodblock printing. Laura demonstrated the technique at a BAFA talk in October and it really inspired me. (See the blog post BAFA Japanese woodblock printing talk and demo) Fellow artist and BAFA member, Cathy Read and I decided we must give it a go and thought it would be great to do the day together.
Laura’s studio at her home in Winslow, sits at the bottom of her garden and it was a fascinating treasure trove of interesting equipment, work in progress and finished framed work. I got a bit of studio envy when I saw it!
We didn't waste any time getting started. The first thing we were shown was how to use the wood cutters on a piece of practise wood. They took a little bit of getting used to. Some cutters were easier to use than others – I found the cutters that were most like my lino ones the easiest – the trickiest was the cutter that outlined the areas to cut, called a hangi-to – this had to be held in a ‘Psycho shower scene’ way (Laura’s description!) and the direction and angle of the cut was very important which was confusing initially. The wood was actually far easier to cut than I was imagining – not too much harder than my lino to cut (though it does occur to me that my lino tools might just be horrendously blunt!). Once Laura felt we had got the hang of the practise cutting we were asked to draw out our design on paper. I choose to design a festive robin with some holly and Cathy chose to do a design with the Gherkin building (which looked very confusing to me, but Cathy handled it well!).
At this early stage in the process I had no idea how to decide what areas of the print would need to be on which blocks – or what bits needed cutting, so Laura helped plan out my blocks. My design had a total of three blocks to cut, which was going to take me some time so I set to as quickly and carefully as I could. Interestingly, two of my blocks would be for two colours each which I didn't realise would be possible.
A few hours and a pile of wood cuttings on the floor later I had three very neatly cut woodblocks – how pleasing! And it was now time to try printing from them.
Here are pictures of my three woodblock plates with a detail picture of the holly area and two of my finished robin prints.
The printing itself is very different from my lino work. The paper and the woodblocks are kept wet throughout the process. Watercolour paint and nori - a mixture of rice flour and water are mixed together on the block with a short horse-haired brush. The paper is very cleverly registered using two little kento slots which are marks that you cut into the wood blocks to line the paper up to. A baren is used to smooth over the back of the paper to transfer the watercolour nori mix to the paper. It is quite difficult to understand what the nori is actually adding to the process, but it is obvious when not enough has been used because the print will come out uneven and textured. Laura showed us work where this uneven textured look had been used on purpose to great effect.
It was very exciting to lift up the paper after printing with all three blocks and seeing my robin design complete! I was very pleased with how my robin turned out. The beauty of the technique is that the paper can be printed and re-printed many times to build up the colour or make shaded areas, so I could continue to work on my robin prints at home and improve them further. I could even cut out a fourth block to add more detail.
I found Japanese woodblock printing a serene and peaceful process. It is a very versatile, technically simple, effective method with masses of artistic scope.
I couldn't recommend Laura’s Japanese woodblock printing day highly enough. Her teaching was clear and informative and the process itself was a joy to do. Her hubby Ben also makes very tasty soup for lunch - yummy!
Go to Laura Boswell's website