Central Fife Open Studios is opening its collective doors today for the first time - but will hopefully become an annual event on the Art Calendar.
Lots of local artists are taking part - see the website for the full list http://centralfifeopenstudios.moonfruit.com
My studio will be open for the next three weekends from 10 - 4, where you can see a variety of printmaking techniques - lino/relief prints, collographs, monoprints and lithographs.

Come along and see how the prints are made by hand on my etching press, see the prints and the plates they are printed from. All prints are for sale.
 The weather is great, so come and enjoy a day by the seaside!!

It's been a good while since I posted anything here, but I have been busy with life as well as printing. However, I can't believe Pittenweem has come round again so quickly. A combination of being taken unaware by this and being unable to download the forms for the Open Exhibition from their website meant that for the first time in years I have nothing in the Exhibition, which is a great pity. We did go up for a look around last weekend, but apart from John Byrne's work and the Danish Printmakers it looked almost exactly the same as last year. I do feel the Festival has grown rather stale (and too expensive to take part in) in its 30th year and people are moving away to fresher pastures. There is currently work on show in Elie, Upper Largo and next weekend the Central Fife Open Studios begins, providing alternative, affordable venues for artists, which must be a good thing.
That aside, I have been doing a lot of drawing, which in turn has led to more printmaking, so it has been a good creative Summer - even if the weather has not been very summery. Oddly enough, my drawings have been fairly large - A3 or A2 - but my prints have been tiny - 10cm x 8 at the biggest. I have been experimenting with "Lino" I bought on eBay which turned out to be some kind of plastic/vinyl. Not as nice to work with as traditional lino, but I am trying to find out what it does best. My first attempt was a little multi block print using three of them and a final layer of "real" lino. Quite good fun to mess about with, using a lot of extender with the oil based inks to see how the colours built up - Primrose yellow, Royal blue, Poppy red and Black .
Next I tried a small reduction print with three layers, again with mainly extender, yellow ochre for the first layer, process cyan for the second and process magenta for the third. Not too happy with the results, partly the way the vinyl cut, partly because the initial layer was just too pale. My third print is a combination of two Lino blocks, the background etched with caustic soda and printed in waterbased yellow ink, the foreground mouse in oil based Black ink. I'm very fond of his cheeky, jaunty attitude.
The 3 prints at the bottom are experimental stages for a 20 x 20 cm Exchange I am taking part in. Using elements cut out of card and inked separately then arranged on the base plate and printed onto damp paper. The little boy with the ball still seems to be featuring... I'll maybe let him catch that ball eventually.
I think I've had enough of small prints for now and am in the mood to try something a good deal bigger for my next project. Plenty of drawings to peruse for inspiration...

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
Back at the Workshop in Dunfermline today (FDPW Fife and Dunfermline Printmakers Workshop)  finishing off my reduction print. It's been a long process and I'm pleased to be finshed. I'm still too close to know if I'm happy with the results, but I'll put them away for a week or so then look at them again with a fresh eye.

Next planned project is the twelve days of Christmas. I've been doing a lot of drawing, but haven't decided on the final images, or even the size I'm going to do them. First thoughts were to do them all small, maybe 150 x 100, but now I'm thinking a variety of sizes might be more interesting. Give me more scope when I get to the higher numbers too. I thought I knew the order of the days, but I found on the Internet that the order seems to have changed. When did that happen?
My "known" order was 9  Drummers drumming - now it seems to be  9  Ladies dancing
                                             10  Pipers piping                  - now                            10  Lords leaping
                                             11  Ladies dancing               - now                             11  Pipers piping
                                             12  Lords leaping                 - now                             12  Drummers drumming
Which version to choose? Anyone know which, if any, is correct?

I'll work on the images first I think.