Daffodils, Dragonflies and Fritillaries

Dragonflies & Fritillaria

Dragonflies & Fritillaria ii 12 x 12

Dragonflies & Daffodils  10 x 10

Now my essay has been handed in, I am enjoying getting back to printing again.  Focusing on the drypoints and using Stella Ross Craig’s botanical drawings as a reference I am developing my little magical worlds of insects, bulbs, roots, petals, stamens etc.  The first drypoint is finished but the bottom two are at the first stage.  I drew the faint daffodils directly from nature and I realised that I hadn’t pressed hard enough.  Still, having added new imagery, I rather like the difference in line tone.  We will have to wait and see how it progresses.  I only have a few days left until this semester finishes.  Portfolio hand in on Monday!  Barry arrives in the UK on Wednesday! 

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!

Introducing colour

This week I tried introducing colour to my drypoints using ‘simultaneous colour printing’ or the viscosity printing method, largely developed by Stanley William Hayter.  This is a method of introducing layers of colour onto one plate.   What I did learn was that it isn’t as easy as our wonderful technicians make it look!  It is a process of using layers of colour on one plate, by changing the viscosity of the etching inks by adding copper plate oil.  The roller needs to be wide enough in diameter to make one sweep across the plate.  I did not manage this and that’s why the colour is uneven.  However, there are no hard and fast rules and I think it’s a very exciting process for those wanting to use colour and maybe after a lot of practice I might get somewhere!

Here are some new drypoints in progress.

Primrose, Bird’s-Eye Primrose, bees, pollen, petals, roots – 25 x 25 cm
In a whirl
Close up of In a whirl
Rolling out the ink – good arm exercise as it took me a while to get it even!
After laying down of the ink onto the plate it is placed on the press (note: I did not mess up the blankets!)
First In a whirl with colour

Latest Drypoint – in progress

Here are the first three stages of my latest drypoint.  I have continued working from Stella Ross-Craig’s beautiful drawings of British plants, adding bees, and petals, roots and pollen.  Of course it will continue to evolve I am sure, but I hope you enjoy seeing the progress so far.

Oxlip – first print
Oxlip – second print
Oxlip – third print

New drypoint and Barbara Rae

One of the really great things about being in Cambridge during the week is being able to take advantage of all the events that happen here.  There is a never ending list of films, concerts and galleries to see, so many that it’s hard to choose!  Friday evening I attended a talk by Barbara Rae at Trinity Hall.  I have loved her paintings for years and have an old catalogue from the early 80’s, so it was a real privilege to listen to her talk about her work in such down to earth and amusing way.  It’s so important to see her work up close as she uses a lot of collage and textures.
I am beginning to think I might try painting with acrylic again!
Barbara Rae – Red Terraces Collioure  – 152 cm x 152 cm
I spent all day on Thursday working on a new drypoint and below is the first print.  I have been looking at some botanical drawings by Stella Ross Craig, an illustrator of flora whose masterly drawings of British plants took 26 years to complete.  I really enjoyed drawing this cowslip, although the leaves are too dark in places, so now I have to fix that!

Cowslip and Bees 6″ x 8″ Drypoint in progress

Vermeer and Bridget Riley, drypoint progress and Bumble bee drawings.

Bridget Riley,  Rose Rose 5   oil on linen,
94.6 x 78.3 cm
I can’t believe that I forgot to mention my visit last Saturday to Kettles Yard and the Fitzwilliam Museum.  If you find yourself in Cambridge, be sure to visit Kettles Yard.  It is such a beautiful place with so many interesting drawings and paintings.  You can read about it’s origins here
What an amazing contrast these two exhibitions were.  Bridget Riley’s paintings and then a few Vermeers.  Both perfect in different ways.  I just couldn’t get over The Lacemaker.  Seeing it closeup was a privilege.  You can see why his paintings stands out.  The coloured threads hanging from the cushion were almost abstract in their handling.  Amazing. 

Below are some of my less than amazing drawings, and the drypoints I have been working on!
I am learning so much and strangely enough enjoying drawing directly onto the plate.  It’s like magic when you finally get to print.