Had a litlle break from the hares today and cut out some dog silhouettes from lino. I worked for about 5 hours solid until the middle finger on my left hand (I'm left handed) went completely numb! Not good.
Time for a break, so the dogs and I went for a walk in the woods. The wind had been really strong and one of the big old trees had snapped about 15 feet up, the top half crashing onto the path. I am very glad we were not there at the time! The dogs loved sniffing about among the branches whilst I hopped over it to continue the walk, battling against the wind. It was great fun and certainly blew away the cobwebs.
Today I succumbed to printing more of the hares, but then started to play with the dog outlines. I printed them all on one sheet just to see how they worked. Then I started to work out which went together, making little compositions. I do plan to make a large print with all or most of them and probably include some street elements - definitely a lamp post or two! Anyway here are my first proofs.... The photos have come out a bit blue as I took them in natural light in the evening.
I printed the fourth layer of my reduction print at the Workshop a few days ago. Having initially thought of printing a darker brown, I thought printing in a blue might give a more lively result. So I mixed ultramarine with a little extender and did a test print which I thought worked well. I printed one with just the blue to show the effect it had on the previous layers. There are only small glimpses of blue in the print, but the way it modifies the other colours is exactly what I was looking for.
Only another two layers to go I think. A dark to emphasise the eyes, tips of the ears and shadows, leaving most of the print unaffected. The final layer will be the background, which I plan to do in a contrasting, probably lighter colour. As yet I have no firm idea of what colour that will be, but after living with the next layer for a while I'm sure I will come up with a suitable solution.
Back at Dunfermline today printing the third layer of my hares reduction lino print. I decided to print it in Magenta with a bit of Raw Sienna and Extender added for translucence, to let the previous colours influence the result. I was very happy with the look of it, giving quite on old fashioned look. Of course the next layers will change it again and I plan to print the background a contrasting colour at the end. I'm sure its final character will still be a surprise, even to me. They never quite turn out the way they appear in your head at the outset. Part of their appeal for me.
I've started a new reduction print for an event in Leicester, called "Small print, big impression". The maximum size is 10 x 10 cm, so that is what I am using. It suits me well as I've always enjoyed working in a square format. I already had a good number of hare drawings in my sketchbooks and these two just seemed to fit perfectly.
I cut out everything I wanted to remain white then printed my first colour - yellow - in my home studio, using Speedball waterbased ink. Next I went to FDPW in Dunfermline and printed it again with oil based ink.
More cutting back home and the next colour - a yellow/burnt sienna mix.
This is the smallest reduction print I've done and unusually I haven't done a detailed plan of my colours so I'm sure there will be surprises ahead!
Suitably inspired my the film school I thought I'd try out the video capabilities of my new camera. I'm starting a new reduction print for an Exhibition in Leicester, a 10 x 10 cm miniprint, using my drawings of hares I've previously used in Collagraphs. As I'd only carved out the whites of their eyes I thought it was the perfect time to show the process from the very beginning. So I set up my tripod and just started filming. I was impressed by both the picture quality and the sound and impulsively posted it online, unedited.
Here is the link if you'd like to have a look
A change of pace today as I spotted an advert on Gumtree Edinburgh for " free film making training" pretty close to where I live, which intrigued me as I would really like to make some "how to" videos. The bad news was that I saw it at 11.15 pm on Friday night and it started at 10 am on Saturday! The advert had only been posted at 11 am on Friday morning, so I decided they must be short on numbers. I emailed the company - Diversity Films - without much hope of a reply in time. I drove along there on Saturday morning anyway and found they did have space for me. Lucky!
It was a great day with lots of useful information and hands on experience. After showing us a few examples of their work - both documentary and drama - and explanations of how to work the cameras, radio and boom microphones, tripods etc we were thrown in at the deep end. Split into groups of three we took turns of being interviewed on camera, operating the camera and operating the micrphones. Next the same thing again, but with the interviewee walking around outside! This was a real test of coordination with the microphone operator also guiding the camera operator as they walked backwards filming, looking out for steps, obstacles and other people, just waiting to be tripped over .
The day ended with a brief introduction to editing the footage we shot. A very time intensive activity to get anything approaching a smooth edit! All in all it gave us an indication of just how much work is involved in making even the simplest film.
There are follow up courses and it certainly left me wanting to learn more. I can't wait.
Here are some photos from Saturday at Abbot House. The first are three of the people who had a go at printing, using polystyrene sheets to draw into and our little travelling press to print them with waterbased inks. So nobody got too messy, not even the kids! Everyone seemed to enjoy the experience, even spurring a few people into wanting to come to our beginners classes and others to get back into printmaking. All in all a good day!
The other photos are of the Exhibition of Members prints, which were well received with lots of positive comments and lively conversation with interested and interesting visitors.
A bit late I know, but Fife Dunfermline Printmakers Workshop is having an opening at Abbot House in Dunfermline on Friday 18th June from 6 - 8.30 of Members Prints. During the day on Saturday we will be giving people the opportunity to come along and make a print on our "travelling press". Should be lots of fun and of course children are welcome to have a go along with the adults. Do pop in if you're in Dunfermline.
I feel very fortunate today as my birthday is coming up, but my present arrived early - a new digital camera! My aged trusty little Pentax wasn't quite up to the job of recording my prints without bending the edges. So my new Panasonic Lumix TZ9 was my choice after much research on the internet - actually I'd decided on a TZ7, but was offered a very good price on the newer, richer in features TZ9. I can't wait to get out taking lots of photographs.
I've been at the Workshop twice this week, very quiet on Tuesday so I was able to spread out and use lots of colours/tones on some monoprints, including stencils and masks, larger than my usual work. It was great fun, the only drawback being the length of time it takes to clean up all the rollers, plates and glass slabs at the end! Worth every minute.
Thursday was a lot busier, less space and I contented myself printing more of my "Unspotted Crow" collagraph on the Imperial Press. One copy is being sent off to an Exhibition in Hong Kong shortly, along with one of the "Joy of Cheese" mouse collagraphs,
Tomorrow, Saturday, we're off to the Potfest which is in Stirling this year. It's always good to see what's new in the field, especially those who print onto clay. I almost got waylaid into Ceramics at College and think it is a great pity that Ceramics is being dropped by so many Colleges. Doubtless our current finacial situation will lead to more cuts diminishing our Cultural life even further.
Enough of such pessimistic thoughts! Time to go out to my studio for a bit of therapeutic lino cutting...