The Albion

29 Jan

It is no small joy to be back working with the Albion Printing press.  A Victorian piece of cast iron engineering requiring only man power to break into action.  As seems so often the case with engines built in this era, the decorative features of what is essentially an industrial piece of equipment only serves to heighten the romance.


The resulting prints are so much more vibrant than any I am able to produce burnishing, which probably is more testament to my lack of patience than anything.

Here is a hand-burnished print next to one produced on the Albion.


I notice the first has a more vibrant blue, so might print off some more using this ink instead.  I use oil-based relief printing inks in the workshop but have water-based ones at home, mainly due to cost.

Here is a short video of Martin and me using the press last year.

So, what was run off this week?

I caught up on finishing off for some illustration work as part of a poetry roadshow starting April (2016).  Fault Line, a selected works by Paul Mortimer, published by Lapwing will be showing some of my work.

Not all the above images are prints, some use water colour, pastels and India inks.

I may reverse colours on that first print.

Had a play with a reduction lino cut print

(Only had time to do a couple of these so will get to a better registration next week – hopefully)!


New media

16 Jan

It seems January is a month of change.  The end for some, the start for another, and I am no exception.  Holed up in my warm fortress of choice, it has been hard to look for the fresh shoots of the new.  However, after filling the bin (more than once) there is light.

Using an old favourite, pastels and inks and after weeks of nothing, today has seen two images grow out of the paper.


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The first is of my daughter, Ellen.

I don’t usually like making portraits of people, they always complain and say they don’t like what they see.  It is one reason I think many artists choose to use themselves as models.

Here I am in a less than flattering pose, but then I don’t mind!

Turn to rust, liking the way I can play with pastels to make them appear weathered.

DSCF8837 (2)

The pastels which appear to work best are few, so the resulting images will all have a similar hue.  Still, nothing wrong with a bit of conformity. :)

Sketching out the winter

6 Jan

January not only sees the start of Twitter challenge #sketchjanuary

It is also the time when I get busy in preparation for time well spent at a print workshop.  It really does pay to be prepared as hours sketching and inking up at home saves valuable workshop time.

otter paint

Hoping to get busy on screenprinting once more, the outlook has been very black (and white).  Once committed to silk screen, the colours can be added and played with, so it is all looking a little sombre.

Maybe I should start making more colourful sketches? :)

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For many people, creating art is about the process as well as result, and I am no exception.  It is for this reason 2016 should see a slight departure from previous work as I test out new material and ways of playing with it.

Silkscreen printing makes a crisp, clear and exact copy of what has been placed, so maybe now is the time to start adding words?

The blackbird is King

12 Dec



Bella Bee

Well, he is in my garden anyway.


Biro drawings for a future screen printing project.  (Possibly).

6-Mile walk

7 Nov

A 6-mile walk?  And then some.

Walking / driving, basically covering some miles are the order of the season, and so I find myself admiring the changing landscape as it changes from yellow to orange and yellow ochre, the skies lowering and limiting.

We went for a 6-mile walk between Coln St. Aldwyn, near Cheltenham, and Bibury, Glos.  The weather was fine and sunny for most of the time, allowing for the new orange moon to rise at the end of each day, bullet-pointing each one in a beautiful fashion.


Bella Bee

Bibury. Glos.

It was on this walk that inspiration struck for new lino cut prints.

The latest two; pheasant and trout may soon have new bed-fellows.

Here’s what has been done so far.

Bella Bee

Pheasant moon – a two-phase lino cut print.


Click here to see the You Tube video for more

Psst.  If you’re still looking at my old Twitter address


you might want to update.

I am now @artygirl_1

Same person, same views, different address.

Lost summer

17 Oct

Where did it go?  Summer more or less evaded me in a maelstrom of bad events and unforeseen mis-understandings.  Much went awry, and yet here we are, back in the world of blog, and one thing remains – the art.  So what’s been created since the feathers?  Did I fly?  In short, yes.

This summer has turned out to be the season of pastels.

So wake up!  Get out from under the covers and see what the new world has to offer.

Bella Bee, Oxford, Bath

Mono print enhanced with pastel.

Bella Bee, Bath, Oxford

water colour – after a run round the lanes at Delly End.

So I ran to a new place and waited for things to settle.

Click here for the video

Bella Bee, Bath, Oxford,

Water colour of a lovely horse in the back field.

Gwyneth, the owner of Dora, the horse, liked this water colour sketch so much she asked me to paint another.   So I did!


Being an avid tweeter, it seemed timely to create a new account; the old one being form my old address.

This one is more moveable, which is just as well as I am due to move back again at the end of the year.

Still, a change is as good as a rest and it does no harm to blow the cobwebs away.

It was with the new account that fellow artist, Jo Mortimer, asked whether I would like to be a guest artist on her husband’s soon to be published poetry anthology.

It seemed a fun thing to do and of course, not to be turned down.

The first, to illustrate a poem called Ice Age.  It was my intention not to overpower the words, so keeping the imagery to a nuanced low, I used low tones and gentle blending.

See bottom of the page for image and video link.

Moon lit walk

I went for a moonlit walk in the stubble fields with my father as September said goodbye and ushered in October.


And so this season appears to be that of soft pastels.  Apt, as the mists draw down for morning and the sun wanes.

A lino cut print over-coloured with pastels, I wanted to try my hand at this simply to play with the many designs it offered and problematic pose.  Nothing quite does happiness like a contented dog. :)

Happy on the cushioned sofa

Happy on the cushioned sofa

Painting enough to fly

25 Jul feather, buzzard, water colour study, Bella Bee,

There seem to be so many feathers lying about at the moment.  Maybe it’s moulting season?  (Would make sense).

I have picked them up as they are found and brought them back to make a series of water colour studies.

Enough to fly


This heron’s feather has a lovely blue tinge to it which took some mixing to replicate.

This one has sold.


Buzzard feather

feather, buzzard, water colour study, Bella Bee,

I am sure this one was ripped out by an angry crow.

The local buzzards get mobbed every time they fly over the section of woodland where this was found.

jay feather, Bella Bee, Bath,

Jay’s feather

feather, woodpecker, Bella Bee, Bath

Great Spotted Woodpecker

duck feather, drake, Bella Bee, Bath

Shake you tail feather, Duck!

A drake’s feather.

I will be adding more as they are found.  Let us hope the avian population of the wood is not looking too bald my the end of the season! :)

The wedding present

17 Jun gold cat twist X2

It’s not until next year but I was ready to get started on what I hope will be a special present for a very special woman.  I’ve known her since she was about four as she is the daughter of a very dear friend.  Due to marry next March, I know she is a lover of cats, so it really is a no-brainer as to what subject to choose.

The original idea is based on a stray who sometimes comes to say hello.

She has a wonderful sandy colouring with soft stripes.

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It was originally intended to use a design based around yellow ochre and soft browns, but I already know from experience that playing about with colour is one of life’s major pleasures.

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I mentioned the idea to my friend and she asked if the cat is to be black.  Well, it wasn’t, but I’ll have a tinker!

The design was drawn up onto tracing paper using a water-proof black ink.  This method of screen printing is done using photo-sensitive solution applied to a mesh.  It is proofed by exposing to UV light which passes through the tracing paper but not any area blacked out, as shown in these four plates.

cat screen print.1

The primed screens are placed on top of the tracing paper designs and then exposed to UV light for approximately 20 – 25 seconds.

The screens are then hastily run to the water sprayer as any light will compromise the effectiveness of the take.

Water washes away any part of the solution on the screen which was covered, resulting in an open mesh through which ink can be pushed.

Now for the fun bit :)

Some have been printed using the top dark layer, some have been hand-painted.  Each one has had an individual twist of some kind and is therefore classed as a variable edition.  It’s also more fun for me and that can’t be bad. :)

See the making of in this video here.

Hand-coloured life screen prints.

10 Jun screen print, Bella Bee
screen printing, Bella Bee,

The first prints lined up on the drying rack

Have I worked the lino cut obsession out of my system?  Quite possibly. It may well be something to do with picking up my oil paints again to fulfil a commission.  It’s made me start thinking more to what I originally studied in – fine art.

screen print

Creating the screen. Images are placed on a UV light bed and exposed to a light-sensitive coated screen.

screen print

The screen print press. The paints have been mixed whilst waiting for the exposed screen to dry.

screen print, Bella Bee,

The screen is finished developing by spraying vigorously with water.

scfeen print.  Bella Bee,

The screen is fixed to the frame and loaded with paint. Shown here holding the squidgy.

screen print, Bella Bee

Hand-coloured nude

screen print, Bella Bee,

Screen print over mono print – hand-coloured

Canada Geese – mixing up print.

27 May

Canada Geese

Mixing it up with mono and lino cut printing.

Canada Geese  lino cut print and mono print.  Bella Bee

The Canada Geese fly past the house up to the lake for the start of each mating season.

They fight, find a partner and bring up their goslings in a whirlwind of feathers and honking.

It was this noise coupled with their overhead flight I wanted to catch in print.

Geese 2 colour.2

Two of the resulting prints (shown above) are a toned down version of the original (shown below) which was far more heavy-handed and stark.  Feeling it made too much of the ‘noise’, it overshadowed the geese and made it look as if the birds were flying past aerial obstacles.

Canada Geese, Bella Bee

The geese themselves were cut separately and later with an additional plate for the larger of the two to add another layer of detail.

It brought the large goose forward and gave perspective.


Printed using a mix of burnt sienna and cadmium orange / red and white – Hawthorn relief printing ink.

The background was achieved by first making a mono print to tone down the noise design.

This was flattened further with the additional glaze of white, sending the geese forward.


Canada geese, Bella Bee

There is still dome work needed before I am happy with the outcome – need to adjust the tones a bit more.

To see the video on the making of,

click here.


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