The research goes on…

Three trips to Margate in a month and now Pushing Print is over.  It was a good show, lots of interesting work and getting to meet other artists was lovely.  I also got some good entomology suggestions too, so the beetle project is developing. 
Unfortunately the Zoology Museum in Cambridge is closed for renovations,  however,  I was kindly allowed a morning’s access to a few beetles last week.  Can you imagine the work it is going to involve packing up all those insects, birds and shells, etc?    
It is such an amazing experience going into these more scientific/academic ‘zones’, which are obviously so different from the messy, yet controlled hubbub of a print room.  I was given a desk in a quiet corner with a magnifiying table light and I sat quietly drawing all morning.  I am intrigued by all the entomological equipment, the perspex boxes, the pins, the little platforms of styrofoam,  where cork or something similar was used before… (note to self – check this out!). 
Musk Beetle
I have produced so far a few beetle etchings.  I am trying out different methods, hard ground, soft ground and sugar lift aquatint to see what I think works the best.  Here are a few to begin with.

An assortment of beetle etchings in progress and sketch of Darwin’s Beetle box.

Hister Beetle – Sugar lift Aquatint, hard ground and burnishing.

Rhinoceros beetle –  Hard ground etching.

In addition, I have just finished a  Nuthatch painting.   Now to finish my tax return…. that’s no fun at all!

Nuthatch on a branch – 10 x 10 in Oil/Panel

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Catching Up..

Goodness, how time flies.  Barry came and went and I got back into my University work, plus a couple of commissions and now struggling with my final essay.  I just couldn’t catch up with my blog until I settled on the subject matter and that kept changing every week!  I think I have clinched it now and am writing on the abstraction/semi abstraction of landscape/nature.  There!   I have said it out loud and now I am committed!  It’s a big subject, so I am honing it down to a couple of artists.

Do let me know your thoughts if you have any.  I have always been very fascinated by the transition from representation to abtraction and how we change what we see and why.  I am enjoying looking into this in more detail.

Here are some two plate sugar lift aquatints that I have been working on.  They are tiny, barely 2 x 2″ or 5 x 5 cm.   I just love the ‘abtraction’ of these images and played with colour.  Plus I was practicing my registration skills.  There is something very satisfying about getting two plates to line up perfectly… almost perfectly!

Below is a photo that Barry took of me.   We happened to be near my old school and I wanted to show it to him, but sadly we couldn’t see it!  Nevertheless, we got some good photos of mist! 

Me and the Mist

More Sugar lifting!

Two plate sugarlift etching, testing my skills at registration!

In my quest to move away from drypoints, as you know I have been experimenting with sugar lift aquatints.  Here are a few of the tests and experiments.  The bugs got a little more creative inspired by a recent visit to the reserve collection in the Zoology Museum in Cambridge.  What a treat that was!  We also visited the Tate Print Collection on Wednesday and got to see some beauties close up.  I just loved this early Hockney print, which I believe is his first etching… puts me to shame!  Below are some photos from last week.

Abstraction from a landscape painting in sugarlift aquatint
Dragonfly Abstraction – 1.50 x 2 approx.

Flower Mantis sugarlift –  1.50 x 2 approx.

David Hockney – Myself and my heroes. Better image to be found with Tate link

Happy Easter everyone!

I can’t believe that my first ‘year’ is coming to an end.  I have spent the last few weeks experimenting, trying to move away from drypoints for now.  I have had quite a few failures and some of them rather interesting.  I have tackled aquatint and photo etching from my own drawings.  There are so many different ways to create an image and this is what I absolutely love about printmaking.

Drypoint, Aquatint and Mezzotint plates.  It was all getting a little complicated!

Last week I went back up to Scotland with friends and we went on this very long hot walk up Coulter Fell and back.  The views were incredible, and the weather amazing.  Spring has arrived and disappeared for a few days, which is selfishly just as well since I now have to write my essay.  

I wish you all a very Happy Easter!

Garden ii drypoint – I keep working on this one.
Garden drypoint
Bud ii – Photo etch from own drawing on drafting film
Bud – Aquatint
View from Coulter Fell, Scotland
Real Cowslips!