A busy start to the year, with an FDPW exhibition at the Scottish Art Club in Edinburgh, the film I was involved with is having its premiere at the CCA in Glasgow at the end of next month, a couple of little bits of part-time work and getting my new studio up and running. 
 
I don't seem to have posted for quite a while now, but life has been busy!  First I was getting prints done for Leicester's "Small Print, Big Impression", where I was spoiled for choice in the end with so many prints to choose from.
I have also been  busy filming with Diversity.  We had a good first day filming in Glenrothes shopping centre, but the second shooting day in the town itself was brought to an abrupt halt when both our main battery and the spare died before we even got started filming.  Such things happen.  We're filming again next week for two days in the Necropolis in Glasgow and I'm looking forward to that - weather permitting.  We've had some pretty wild weather here recently, with high winds and gale force winds - so fingers crossed.  Hat, scarf and gloves with a waterproof and a flask I think.
Our local excitement is the demolition of the Power Station.  They seem to be taking it to bits rather than knocking it down, so it will take around a year to complete.  I've been taking  photos of their progress...
I must admit I will miss it when it's gone.  I like its ugly functionality and the chimney is a landmark you can see from miles around.
 
FDPW's exhibition "Marked Impression" opened at Dunfermline Carnegie Library on Wednesday 22nd September and runs until the 28th.  It consists of  small and medium prints of all techniques - lino, etching, screenprinting, collagraph.  A nicely balanced show.  Do come along if you are in Dunfermline
 
Having spent a lot of time recently working on various 10 cm x 10 cm prints, I felt the need to work on something larger for a change of pace.  The crows are still there - they are constantly in my head and my sketchbooks for some reason.  This time the crow is living  on the man's umbrella - perhaps he's waiting for a particularly poor bus service!  Seems like a fun idea to me.  I'm doing it as a Collagraph, using multiple plates.  I have a plate for the background, one for the silhouette, one for the face and hands, plus two smaller plates for the development of the crows "story".  The plates are varnished mountboard, the details cut from thin card.  
 The left hand photo shows all the plates together, the right shows the second stage with the background and the silhouette printed using oil based inks. 
 
I have been spending more time in my studio with the good weather, trying different things on my small (29 x 35 cm) Tofko relief press.  I worked more on my dog linoprints, adding elements and trying different compositions.  I printed some in multiple colours, but decided in the end that I preferred the black and white prints.

I have also been working on small Collagraphs - with Leicester's "Small print, Big Impression" in mind.  I have produced four plates so far using a mountboard base varnished a few times to seal it.  The images are made from scraps of thick printmaking paper which I drew into with a hard grade pencil or a scalpel before sealing them with more varnish.  I printed them as relief with Speedball waterbased inks with extender added.  Having printed them individually I then tried overprinting two, three and four images using a registration board.  You can see a couple of the prints I like below
 
After Aberdour comes the big one - the Pittenweem Arts Festival, with 96 official venues this year!  It is a small fishing village, so this is made possible by people turning their houses into Galleries for the week of the Festival.  The content varies enormously, from invited professional artists to amateurs and it attracts huge crowds of people every year.  Have a look at their website - www.pittenweemartsfestival.co.uk - for a flavour of what goes on.
It seems virtually impossible to get a venue as the same artists are there every year and never give up their spot.  A couple of friends and I tried for months to find somewhere to exhibit - without any luck.  We'll keep trying again for next year though.

 
Amazing how quickly these things come around again, but it's Festival time again!  This weekend it is the Aberdour Festival in Fife and Sheila Carnduff  has once again opened up her house, as venue 10, to exhibit prints and paintings by Fife & Dunfermline Printmakers Workshop members.  The exhibition is on until Monday 2nd August.
The Opening on Friday was well attended, as was Saturday despite our summer weather being somewhat cloudy and windy with showers.  There was lots of positive feedback from visitors and some very welcome sales as well ! Do come along and see the exhibition if you are in the area.
 
With thanks to Mariann I've been playing with printing three separate blocks on one piece of paper.  It feels very refreshing after so many reduction block printing where you end up with a block which has very little lino left and is totally useless.  You have to decide exactly how many prints you want right at the start.

With this method, the blocks could be printed again as you still have the three original blocks.  I have included photos of the three blocks, a print using two blocks and two versions of the three block print.  It certainly was time consuming cutting the blocks (three days), but such a lot of fun.  Now I can cut some more blocks to "mix and match", combining them in different ways and printing in different colours.  The possibilities are e
 
I have been continuing with the hares, though I haven't  posted them here yet.  The fifth layer went well, as I printed sepia oil based ink with a little extender.  It really made the hares stand out  and I liked the subtle ring round their eyes.  Even the registration was working well, despite being a very simple "line it up against an L-shaped piece of card".  Being small definitely helped - don't think I would risk it with a larger one.
As for the sixth layer... not quite so straightforward.  I had done a couple of proofs with a minty green which I thought worked, but when I set about the edition, I hated the colour.  I mixed five or six different shades, proofing each of them, but not being satisfied with any of them.  So I stopped and went home to consider my next move.  I don't know if it had anything to do with the fluorescent lights in the Workshop.  I'll look at them again in daylight  tomorrow when I return to the Workshop.
At the moment I think I might be tempted just leave it at layer five... maybe.
 
I will be doing another Beginners Printmaking Course at Fife Dunfermline Printmakers Workshop over two Saturdays in August - 21st and 28th.  Due to sponsorship from Celebrating Fife this course is a real bargain at £40 for non members and £30 for members.  I will be concentrating on Collagraphs this time, using two very different methods.  We will be creating "traditional" collagraph plates, building the image using a variety of  materials glued onto the base, producing a collage which will be inked and printed.  We will also explore the new Lascaux products, which can be rolled or painted onto the base, some of which hold ink and others repel it, hold the impression of objects pressed into it.  These produce quite a different quality of  image.  The possibilities are endless and exciting, bounded only by your imagination!
Don't miss this opportunity.  Contact me through the website or email me at co.beau@hotmail.com