May is here and it’s still cold!

Well, the essay is handed in and what a relief that is!   It felt quite odd not to be spending all weekend writing.  Now I just have to sort my portfolio and hand that in on 20th May and that’s my second year over.  What a life changer it has been.  The third years are leaving and I am very sad.  They are such a great bunch.  I shall miss them so much.

Below are some photos of some of the things I have been busy about, besides the hotel painting commissions and essay writing!

On June 6th, I am boarding a plane for New Mexico for a couple of months to get some big paintings done.  I am looking forward to that for obvious reasons, but also to warm my bones… spring has barely arrived here and today it’s blowing a cold wind… 

Waterways i soft ground etching 7 x 7 cm

Lake i soft ground etching 5 x 15 cm

Fen with monoprint on Tosa Washi chine collé  7 x 7 cm
Field and Stream soft ground etching 5 x 15 cm


Stephen Chambers at Lynne Strover’s Gallery and a new work in progress!

I have just returned from a talk given by Stephen Chambers RA at  Lynne Strover’s beautiful gallery in Fen Ditton, near Cambridge.  What a treat!  Just a fifteen minute drive from Melanie’s and I get to hear Stephen Chambers talk about his new large printed work inspired by the 1958 American Western, ‘The Big Country’, which will be opening at the Royal Academy on 24th October.

I was pleased to be able to see his smaller series of prints again, ‘When Trouble Meets Trouble’ which I absolutely love, and first saw at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.  This suite of prints are a wonderful mix of etching and chine colle and has certainly inspired me to add this technique to my printmaking repertoire!

Marie Antoinette – Stephen Chambers

A few miles outside of Cambridge,  Fen Ditton is an unlikely place to find such an exquisite gallery as the  Lynne Strover Gallery, but well worth a visit to see some really good art!

When Trouble meets Trouble – Stephen Chambers

Stephen Chambers signing his book

And here is my latest little bug, a hornet, given to me by a fellow student, (thank you Susi!) .. it is a work in progress.  It started out as a test plate on the back of another test plate (copper is so expensive!!) for a bigger etching, using sugar lift, but I like the way it’s going and now want to do more little creatures.  This little one is only about 1.50 in square.  Sugar lift is a technique whereby you mix sugar and water and some black ink and paint it on a degreased plate.  The image you paint, is the image that is eventually printed.  You ‘stop out’ the rest of the plate with either a varnish or a hard wax ground and then put the plate in hot water, which lifts off the sugar solution.  After that you add an aquatint, which is what etches.  Some people put the acquatint on first and paint the sugar solution over this.  Ahhh… the joys of printmaking, so many ways to do the same thing! 

Susi’s Hornet – sugar lift with burnishing and scraping out.

Catching up!

Hello everyone!  I have now finished ‘open access’ at University and the printroom is closed until the end of September!  I feel quite bereft… I dream of having my own press… hopefully one day….  but now it’s time to paint.
It has certainly been a busy few weeks, lots of printing and filling of orders, experimenting with spit bite and soft ground, travelling up and down to London twice, and watching the City Bumps.  
And the sun finally came out!
Melanie’s Garden – I drew the Agapanthus first and didn’t really like it, so I sanded it down and drew the seedheads on top of the image.   This has pushed it into the background and it’s something I am going to develop further I think. 
Drawings from Melanie’s garden
Experimenting with colour and two plates.  The aim was to learn how to register two plates.. the key is to use a large sheet of paper to trap under the roller and register blocks.  All very tricky!
Drypoint in Progress
Spit Bite – not terribly successful, but some nice tones

The reason for the London visits was because I got shortlisted for the ‘Bite’ Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London.  The whole process entailed submitting images online, then waiting to hear if they wanted to see them in reality.  Three were pre-selected, which I then had to get framed and carry down to London for them to view.  The wait to hear if any of them had been chosen was quite stressful but I am thrilled to tell you that I got two out of my three selected.  The exhibition dates are 3rd -15th September with a Private View on the 4th, 6 – 9 pm which of course I shall be going to!  I believe that about 220 prints have been chosen out of 1500, so I am more than ‘chuffed’ to have two of mine included!  It’s a real honour.

I also sold my painting at the Cambridge Artworks Call for Entries!  No wonder I am feeling a little more cheery these days!

Cambridge City Bumps – my friend Melanie is fourth away from the cox with her daughter, Joss is the ‘stroke’ (next to the cox)  Photo by David Ponting.

On the River Cam during Cambridge City Bumps


Last week we had a Relief Printing demonstration given to us by our teacher/technician, John Williams, who is an accomplished printmaker.   It is so exciting to witness all the possibilities.  I learn something new each week.   Below are a few photos, one of John’s woodcut and some books he had laid out for us to peruse.  I have also included some sketches of Wicken Fen.

Barry’s show was on Friday and on Saturday he sold 5 paintings, so that’s a good start!