4 Mar Polar bear

It’s a new month and a new theme for the Twitter daily challenge.

This month is #animalmarch

and it’s proving to be a favourite.

There is a danger that I will post mainly our dog, Tilly, (and Twitter has been warned),

but also trying to get a bit wild while I’m at it.

Hand-pulled lino cut print

28 Feb

It was after some friends and I were chatting about how self-belief and a positive mind-set can strongly influence a life that I came across this quotation.  It is attributed to Buddha, according to the internet, and of course we all know what you read here is all true. :)

However, I liked the words and thought they might be good woven into a decorative image.

Here is a short video showing the proof making.

the mind is everything twist

Beautiful boundaries

21 Feb DSCF6433

“It’s funny how the beauty of art has so much more to do with the frame than the artwork itself.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Choke    


Can you tell I’m happy with the new frames courtesy of Roundstone Framing, at Hilperton Marsh?

I think the happy face says it all.

I know Mike spent ages on making these look so good and I think it shows.

Thank you so much to Mike and Jan at Roundstone Framing.  You have done them proud! :)

These are off to the Karina Goodman Gallery in Matlock, Derbyshire.  I can’t wait to see what they look like on her walls.

Reduction Lino Cut Printing

18 Feb DSCF6314

Sometimes I forget myself and have my ‘painting’ instead of ‘printing’ head on.

‘Painting’ head usually equals something like this>

‘Printing’ head usually means something like this>

Lino cut ram

OK – I am oversimplifying, but you get my point.

It was my ‘painting’ head which designed the latest print idea, and so I went with it.

Working it out in pencil and inks

Working it out in pencil and inks

Once composition is decided the carving is no problem.  Mixing the ink is easy.  Deciding on sequence is good.

It’s the registration which gets me every time!

I used insulation tape (for the colour).  It is plastic, so when pulled off the reel, it stretches – and sticks.

Over a few hours, the tape reverts to it’s pre-stretched size, so registration was hindered some.


On top of that, the corners of the lino turned up a little.  It was doomed to failure!  :(

All this sounds terribly pessimistic, which of course it was not.  Any self-respecting printmaker is a natural born optimist; otherwise why else would they take on such a task?

(N.B.  It later turned out I was suffering from a nasty little bug which kept me in bed all Friday – the 13th).

Here’s the first easy prints, done on the beautiful Albion printing press (below)

I brought the sheets back to my place for the next print layer.  It was the next day before I started, so the tape had time to contract.  Shame.  Of course, some of it was down to me, the maker. Continue reading

Art Challenge

3 Feb A stray (by choice), she has trained most of the people living in and around to buy food for her and I've noticed she's getting a little portly.

It was with a gulp that I accepted a Twitter art challenge to post three pictures a day for five days.

Seriously?  I’m not that quick!

Of course, they don’t all have to be box fresh.  Silly me.

Having said that, the three I am posting for Day 3 are, being India ink and pen sketches in my trusty Moleskine.

They are basically animals who come to see me or spend time with me a lot.

If you fancy  taking part, please let me nominate you – or take a look at some others.


The other days I have used to post working sketches which were used for later oil paintings.  I have noticed some people like to post on a theme, so I suppose it’s whatever goes! :)

You can see my sketches don’t always (or often) make it through to the final painting although nothing is lost.  This was used in a talk (I’m an occasional guest speaker) and the image was also worked into a later collage.

The View From a Bridge holds a special meaning for me as it was a New Year walk I took with my son along the canal.  This is reflected in the two trees which stand together as the landscape folds around them in an embrace.

You can see the card collection featuring the View from a Bridge here.

Card - View from a Bridge

Dynamic landscapes

28 Jan

You might remember mention of putting aside some mono print samples in a previous post.

Well, I’ve finally got round to start using them.

Being a lover of collaging, I prefer to create all content from scratch.  It affords more control but, being adverse to litigation, also stops any worry of copyright infringements.

Here’s an example of one of last year’s collages below

(now available as a card on the ‘seaside’ section)

Collage using mono print, India ink and water colour.

Collage using mono print, India ink and water colour.

One of the further studies I have taken since leaving full time education included Earth Sciences (at the Open University).  Falling in love with all things geological since being introduced to ox-bow lakes and drumlins at 13, I was sad to find that coming under the umbrella of geography, all the earth science angle was lost once venturing into ‘O’ levels in favour of a more political landscape; not my thing.  Needless to say, I did not pass.

Looking at creating a landscape for myself (rather than commercial art), a serendipitous Jeremy Gardiner exhibition was showing in Bath, at the Victoria Art Gallery.  Perfect.

Jeremy layers up his landscapes and carves into them, just as coastal erosion takes places on a greater time scale.

He works in motifs of fossils, using (what I think is a laser) to repeat a line drawing effect of a headland and uses contour lines from a survey map.  Some of his work are thin, papery collages, while others are robust, using jesmonite – an acrylic based medium used by palaeontologists for casting.

Bella at the Jeremy Gardiner exhibition.3

I had already made some sketches for sea urchins for a ceramic project a few years back and I have transferred these onto acetate ready for screen printing.


This was later made into a ceramic and metal sculpture, but can I find it?  No.

Here are some bowls I made from a later look at sea life. Brittle star fish ceramics

Arriving home freshly-inspired and with mono-prints and collograph prints ready, I started sampling some pieces using one of Jeremy’s land marks, Durdle Door in Dorset.

Durdle Door - start

Working up layers of paint and paper, the second stage is looking more busy, so once this is properly stuck and dried, I shall be taking a scalpel blade to it.  Can’t wait!

Durdle Door final for today twisted

Going back to basics

26 Jan end small

Sometimes it’s good to just get a paintbrush out and paint.

Cathartic and meditative.

(Looking into the idea of making a series of sea bird painting as greetings card designs).

The gannet.

end small

I stopped every so often to take photographs and put them together in this video.

It’s a short one!



20 Jan Storm

There has been a bit of a run on owls and I suspect it is in no small part down to the dark months of winter.  A few dusky walks have been serenaded by the woodland owls as well, so it is no surprise they feature heavily once more.


This is the owl mono prints layered with lino cut prints shown as a work in progress in the last post.

Gibbous Moon, Storm and Born of the Night.  (Ascending order).

All three are unique, using the lino cut print template for only one third of the process.  On Fabriano paper, each one measures 30 X 20 cms with a border left around the edge for framing options.

 They will be signed and named in pencil on the front (bottom) of each -

sold as they are for £ 30 each.

If they do not sell before an art fair, they will be on show late in the season.

Please contact me for enquiries.

Print’s Back In Session!

14 Jan Two for Joy

It’s a cold start to the first day back at the workshop.  Snow began to fall in thick flakes as I headed out, but they did not settle.  (Just as well or I would have been stranded – Mini’s with run-flat tyres do not like anything but good conditions and neither does this wimpy owner)!


It was so good to get started again with the workshop, with an easy remit – making abstract landscape mono prints.

They are a good thing to have on file, but I also wanted some to over-print with lino cut birds.

You’ve seen the magpies already, but there are now a couple of owls flitting about too.

People seem to prefer owls to magpies but they both make very good subjects.

The background prints – each done with the over printing in mind except for a couple which I hope to use at a later date.

They look similar to the skies this morning!

The roller looked good too.

The roller looked good too.

bird life

The magpies only need the two layers of lino cut.  The owls need one more for finer detail in a darker shade.

Better get carving!

Printed on Fabriano 250 gsm paper.  It needs to be strong as it has been put through quite a bit of pummelling.

Stay posted for the next stage of the owls!

More Mono and lino print combinations. >

The finishing touches have are done for a Spring design – fresh blues and yellows.

yin yang

Based on the classic yin yang design, the fish circle each other.  It seemed perfect in the month named after the two-faced Roman god, Janus.  (With one looking to the past year, the other looking forward).

circle fish shadow small

A lino cut design using two plates.

These weren’t rolled and inked up in the usual way as you can see.

Added digital background design makes the images below.

Click here to see more information about the tote bag;

and here for the scatter cushion AKA throw pillow.

To take a peek at the ‘shop front’ click here.

There are many individual and unusual designs which you won’t find in the shops -

perfect for the independent minded.

Lino cut magpie

11 Jan

 OK, I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m assuming some people are just surfing the blogosphere so are stumbling on this post for the first time.  I’ll write it in italics so you can skip through if you choose. :)


Twitter have a daily challenge to submit an mage  day hash-tagged with a theme for the month.

This current month (Jan 2015) is sketchjanuary.

Click here to see the link (and maybe join in the fun)?


For Monday’s post I am going to show this >

magpie sketch

> a little magpie sketch in my Moleskine (named Winged).

Once finished, my mind was already racing about with what could be done with a magpie and, of course, one good way to work out a troubles is to lino cut.

Keeping it small so lino offcuts could be put to good use (Plus there were a couple of mono prints perfect for this), it was my intention to sketch it out onto lino and just make the first impression, but this bird just wanted to fly, so it did.


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