Day 6 – How Not to Leave Well Alone……

I’ve decided to give the new London Bridge linocut a bit of a rest for now and I’m back to wrestling with the Liverpool Street Station one.
I remember that I was quite happy with it before Christmas but not anymore. So, I’m just doing a bit more cutting and some tiny colour adjustments. A little light tinkering should do the trick…..
I wonder if I’m suffering from some sort of delusional disorder?

From Sketch to Finished Linocut….

                                        It all starts so innocently with a page from my sketchbook…

                                                       Working on the prep drawing……

                                               Two weeks later, the finished prep drawing…….

                              Tracing the drawing and transferring it to each of the four lino blocks.

                                                    Many, many huge piles of lino cuttings later…….

                                                   The first block is cut and ready to print….

                                                                 And the second…..

                                      And this is the proof with the third block printed….

                                      Finally this is the finished print – Poetry of Departures.

                                  And here it is framed up and ready to go. Never again, I tell you.

New Media Journey Part Two

I have to say that I well and truly exhausted my meagre writing skills last month, in my definitive research into the more posts = more readers theory. See here for an explanation (of sorts.)
I know that eleven posts in April doesn’t sound a lot but if you compare that to the five I managed to write in March, the measly two in February and the slightly less pathetic four in January, it’s more than double my usual output. Combine that with all the extra tweeting and facebooking I did during the month and no wonder my nerves are shot to pieces…
So, yes my stats have gone up massively, but from an exceedingly low start point, and to be honest, I’m slightly wondering why did I bother?


So I’ve decided to mull it over for a while and in the meantime, I’m hard at work, making a new linocut – a companion piece to my last one, Up with the Larks, seen below (34 x 33cms). I can see a new passion coming on for dark stairwells, long shadows and floods of light…..


From Sketch to Editioned Print

 I like to do a lot of very quick and varied pen drawings in my sketchbook – it’s a bit like limbering up. I also like to write lists of everything I’m seeing – sandcastles, seagulls, etc., to jog my memory later….

Here I’m looking at beach huts more carefully – these ones are in Wells-next-the-Sea in North Norfolk. I like to do lots of little vignettes in the hope that something stirs (an exciting idea rather than a yawn obviously).

Another sketchbook page but this one is of the beach huts in Cromer – I don’t want to spend much time on drawings at this stage as I don’t want to over-analyse what I’m doing and lose the spontaneity. Well, that’s my excuse…..

Once I’ve got the ideas fixed in my head I try a few thumbnail sketches – just playing around with composition and structure. I like this part – trying to bend the reality of what’s in front of me into what I see in my head…

Here is the working drawing, a combination of the thumbnails above, bottom left and top right. These beachhuts are in Cromer but there is no great curve around the bay as such and the railings are much closer to the huts. And if that viewpoint was real, I’d be standing in mid-air over the sand….

And finally here is the finished print, with added seagulls and abandoned toys – I’ve called it Indian Summer (33x34cms, linocut).

Another Epic Printmaking Tale

                       I would like to have called this post ‘Destruction, Suffering and Redemption’
                      (or to put it another way, ‘I Don’t Know What Gets Into Me, Really I Don’t….’)
                                                          So anyway, here goes…..

                           Above is the original version of my linocut ‘Destination Anywhere’.

                    The first block, which was originally printed in dark blue, but now is turquoise….

      The second block stays red but I feel the figures need shadows to stop them floating in mid-air …


                         In that case, there’s nothing for it but to cut a whole new second block…

Moving on, I decide that the fourth and final block should move up the printing order to third place.                  So here it is inked up, in what is now pale yellow but was originally orange….

             At this point I decide I’d quite like a pale yellow sky too and so I remove the original       
           sky area and glue in a new section. Then I have to cut out the detail to match the rest….

     And finally here is the last block with a big 4 written on it, to remind myself that it is not now the               third block printed in pale yellow but the fourth block printed in pale blue……

  And here is the new version – I’m not sure if it was all worth it or not but I should be able to tell once I’ve been released from the sanitorium…

A Change in Direction

To start the New Year, I needed a fresh perspective on my life, not all of which takes place in London now. I spend a lot of time by the sea on the North Norfolk coast and exploring this very different environment will present me with exciting challenges, or so I tell myself…..
I’ve felt for a while that I needed to take a few risks with my subject matter and find a new direction. Sadly change is not really my thing – I’m a creature of habit and I need to be dragged kicking and screaming just to try out a different pub. So leaving my comfort zone/rut of the London transport as a subject, albeit temporarily, has been surprisingly stressful.
And to be honest, I’d like to keep my galleries happy – the trouble is that commercial galleries are very keen on sales (fair enough) and would prefer you to keep making the work that they took you on for and for which they have a ready market.
They don’t especially appreciate being told that “yes, I did used to paint very popular views of cats in baskets but now I’m only able to paint post-Apocalyptic landscapes.”
Ideally we wouldn’t need to sully ourselves with the filthy lucre and we’d just go where the Muse takes us but unfortunately we all have bills. And I would definitely like to continue paying my studio rent, buying new materials and generally carrying on with my happy working life.
So here’s to new experiments – not too radical and proceeding cautiously, of course – steady now….. 

                                                   Pages from my sketchbook.

Another Odyssey

 Here is another linocut I thought I was happy with. That is, until I got to thinking about it. Below is the original version of One Way Ticket, of which I’d editioned ten and then stored in my plan chest.

Then I made the mistake of opening said plan chest and accidentally looking at them.  I found I didn’t like that female figure at all and also, well, where are all the people? Tooting Broadway is a very busy tube station after all……

So with the help of my trusty repair kit, I added three more figures – a couple walking by, hand in hand, and a man striding into the other station entrance. I thought I’d just change the woman in the foreground too – make her hair longer and tone down her top – and add some floor tiles inside. Okay, that’s better….

Hmm – I’m sorry but it’s all so dark. I know, I’ll lighten the sky – make it daytime instead of evening. Oh, and while I’m at it, I’ll change her top again…


I still don’t like her top though – let’s try a different pattern – and, well, why not make the sky yellow and the interior of the tube station blue?
No, sorry, I don’t like any of that and what’s more, I’m not sure if it’s not all too crowded now. Perhaps I should take out one of the figures?

Okay, that will have to do – surplus male removed, blue sky and yellow interior re-instated, and I’ve gone with the original top. And if you think this was a lot of work, I can assure you this is an edited version….

Giving It Another Go….(The End)

Here is the final block, inked up in pale blue and a thin yellow glaze. In the end, I decided to cut it up into sections so that each area could be inked up separately – then I could just push it back together again for printing.
I probably should have cut another block entirely for the yellow but I felt it was important to get the print completed this year.


Anyway, here is the final version with the barely visible alterations.
Still, I’m happy with it now- and thanks to all of you who took the trouble to comment on my progress. It’s not easy to view your work with any detachment, especially when you’d been under the impression that you’d finished it once before…..


Giving It Another Go….(Part Three)

After a hard day faffing around in the studio, I finally decided to print up the third block in cream exactly as I had done in the original version.
This means I have cleverly avoided making a decision on introducing a new colour until I print the last block (i.e. leaving it until the last moment, as usual.)
I have a few options:
a) Just leave the print as it was – I can print up the final block in the original light blue and have a few extra copies of the original print (very tempting, this one).
b) Carry on with the master plan and insert some yellow into the final pale blue block, with the added bonus of many more hours of fine-tuning, the results of which most people won’t be able to see with the naked eye.
c) Forget printing the last block with the pale blue and replace it entirely with the yellow glaze.
d) Go and work at Tesco’s.