Friday, 15 May 2015

H is for . . .

I've been toying with the idea of a series of alphabet prints for a while, small British mammals . . . but what starts with an i, or a x for that matter?

Okay, so not only mammals but birds, fish and insects as well.

Q may be quail, as I've just read (in an old observer book of British birds, date unknown) that this plump little brown bird is a summer visitor. The book also goes on to mention that in winter these birds are shipped into the country for food, under most cruel conditions . . . plus ├ža change.

Still, u, x and z elude me, any ideas gratefully accepted.

Anyhow, to make a start. H is for hedgehog
First cut and colours printed,
adding further cuts and colour,
and the decision is made to remove some of the text. 

I have not mastered the art of planning a print on paper in its entirety. I draw directly onto the lino, and cut, print and change things as I go along. Had I drawn it out fully beforehand I might well have placed the H elsewhere. 

As it is, I may well remove the letter and replace it with a more carefully placed letterpress initial.
I'm happy with the colour choice, and now wait for the first colours to dry before adding the detail which will bring the image together.
And finally, the clear-up (my least favourite part).

Friday, 8 May 2015

Norwich sculpture . . . oh! and artists' books

Last weekend I persuaded Mr B to visit an artists' book fair in Norwich, after all, I said, we're almost on the doorstep as we're in Mersea . . . two hours and almost 60 miles later it was beginning to feel like a bit of a long way!

Wanting to park close to the forum we headed for the city centre and found a car park on waste ground behind the old Eastern Electricity building, lucky because a football match in the town meant the parking spaces where hard to find. 

And lucky too, because we could see that the walls are completely covered in text, an artwork no less! Commissioned by Sculpture for Norwich

And a very helpful parking attendant let us know that Moore's Utopia was written on the building by artist Rory Macbeth, and that the building is scheduled for demolition some time in the near future.
The reason for our visit was to see Turn the Page at the Forum. Turn the Page is an artists' book fair and exhibition, showing work by artists that are inspired by the conceptual and structural properties of the book form. In its fourth year, this book fair although small is perfectly formed, with a good selection of exhibitors, exhibits and the ongoing Norfolk Longbook project which invites submissions from artists and poets of all abilities.

Live music and stories provided by Two Coats Colder, an acoustic band from North Essex, who played beautiful new and traditional folk music. 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Notes from BABE 2015

The hurly-burly of the weekend is over, and BABE is done and dusted once again. After what seems like a fairly long time to prepare, it felt like the weekend was over in an instant . . .

Checking my display,
and looking out, in the quiet time, before the doors open to the public.
(Is a Press the plural noun for a mass of book lovers?)
Perched behind a table for a couple of days is surprisingly tiring. Possibly because I spent a lot of time bobbing up and down like a demented cork, as I couldn't decide whether it appears more welcoming to sit or stand. 

And, to talk or not to talk! 

Working out which of your visitors wants to talk, and then keeping on topic, is not straightforward. And, I'm astonished by the more personal revelations visitors disclose. However, I guess that means my work has struck a chord, which must be a good thing . . . 

I think this may be specific to BABE - but I'd like to mention the terrific tea trolley and cool cake brought by lovely (tea) ladies Beryl and Violet, it do keep a girl going when she's alone on a stand, and is very much appreciated.
Back in the studio, books still in bags . . . ready to tidy away and organise myself for the next project. Allowing all the ideas that are invariably generated by a show to develop in my sketchbooks (to be filtered, distilled), always a favourite time. 

I'm anticipating getting some ink on my fingers!


Friday, 13 March 2015

Birthday Book for Dad.

It's funny, but it usually takes a wedding or a funeral for connection between wider family members and I ask myself why wait for special events . . . but I've gone and done that thing, with this project! I suppose we're too busy and live too far apart. 

Note to self - Stop and smell the roses!

Dad is 80 this month, and I thought it would be fun to put together some reminiscence about him from his family and friends. Turns out to be a lovely thing to do. 

I've been sent lots of great photos, which I've never seen before, and received such heartwarming and funny stories it makes all the hours grumbling at my computer (editing under/over exposed, scratched and oddly focused old photos) well worth it.

Dad always signs off All the Best so it seems an apt title for a book about him . . . 

Here are a few pages from All the Best.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Cover-to-Cover 2015 - a sketchbook exchange

42 Open Studios artists over 5 months are taking part in a sketchbook exchange project, designed to push us creatively and to stimulate new work, which will be exhibited in May 2015.

The aim is to develop how we explore themes that interest us as individuals and as artists and how we can seek contribution on our ideas from other artists.

Monday I collected my 5th sketchbook, the theme: Human Impact. I'll have to exercise caution with this one, I do have a tendency to write in my sketchbooks and with this subject matter . . . well lets just say there are a lot of statistics out there in google-land.

Book 2: Nature, Landscape Trees

For this sketchbook I took myself off to my favourite hedgerow, sat down and drew what was in front of me . . . luckily for me this is part of my ongoing practice, and will inform a new series of linocuts.
Book 3: Happiness

This sketchbook was in my possession over Christmas, which I think influenced my choice of image. I allowed the subject to indulge my love of bright, hot colours, and of course teacups!

It's funny, but initially I struggled with the concept . . . then just allowed myself to go with the flow (no preconceived ideas) and made images that are just not like my usual work . . . maybe I should challenge myself more often and work without an end-point, just see what happens?
Book 4: Nature

A sketchbook that returned me to more familiar subjects and once again I found myself outside, walking the local hedgerows and field margins for images.
Book5: Water

Water - a great reason to stride out along the sea wall at West Mersea with snow falling and to draw the strood channel
A selection of various artists sketchbooks from the exchange . . . what a great variety of work is emerging.