Saturday, December 1, 2012

Streamlining Technology

I've been on blogger for a long time and after a small break, I decided to restart this blog.  The break was a good time to think through my online presence and how I wanted my website, studio diary (blog), facebook page and twitter account to work together.  I started looking at wordpress as an alternative home for my studio diary and how it could interface with my website.

I'd say I'm probably in that middle generation that has an understanding of computers and programs but not as wired up as my son!  So, I've managed to work through wordpress over the last two weeks and can link my website to my studio diary and more importantly, link back from my studio diary to my website.  Facebook and Twitter are also connected, so now I only need to post a diary entry and it will appear on my facebook page too!  There's hope that this will reduce the amount of time on the computer and leave more time for art.

So, if you want to carry on following my blog, aka studio diary, click here.  Hope to hear from you on the new site - if you find me, please leave a comment to let me know.  Thanks Jean

Oh, and one more thing.  I'm leaving this blog here until the end of this year (2011) and then I'll be deleting it.  I've transferred all the posts over to Wordpress so you can still see them.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Using Your Own Reference Material

I've been a bit remiss lately about taking my camera with me whenever I go for a walk.  I got into the habit of always having it with me either in the car, walking the dog, or just nearby in the house in case little creatures appeared like this robin.

I much prefer to make prints using my own reference material, then I know there is no issue with copyright should I choose to sell a print.  Artists are renowned for using lots of reference material from all sorts of places as a trigger or starting point for drawing and painting.  If you slavishly copy someone else's photo then its not your own work and you will be infringing the other artists/photographer's copyright and that only spells trouble.

So, stick to your own images and then you won't have any problems.  This little robin visited out garden a number of times throughout the winter of 2010/2011 and I was able to get some fantastic photos of him.  I've used this photo as the starting point for my Christmas card linoprint which is in production on my studio table as I type.  I'd forgotten how much fun a small, simple print can be to produce and really enjoyed spending a very wintry day indoors doing this.

So, off to print some more.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lest We Forget - Art as a record

On Remembrance Sunday, we always take time to observe the 2 minute silence and reflect on the loss inflicted in the name of war.  I find this all very moving (my son always teases me about my glassy eyes).  We took our son to France in 2010 on a Battlefield Holiday and although the title isn't great, it was our annual holiday.

We wanted to show our son, who has a fascination with war and battles, that there is a human side to conflict.  At one of the museums we visited I saw these small postcard pictures of an individual's first hand account of life in a concentration camp.  Although he may no longer be with us, his record gives us a window into a very cruel world.  

Cutting the Template

I've Started to cut away at the lino to leave my print design.  This is probably the most labour intensive part of the process as you tend to spend a long time doing this, hunched over the lino.  I always need to take plenty of breaks otherwise my neck and shoulders hurt after a while.  

I've also started messing around with colours for the background, trying to achieve some sort of dawn or dusk state.  I love mixing colours from the tubes, very rarely do I use them in their pure form.  It's great to play around and see the change as you add slightly more of one colour and then maybe add a third. 

I've bought only a small number of colours as I like to mix them.  So I stick to a range of the primary colours in both warm and cool - this gives me six.  Then I add some staples like burnt umber, yellow ochre and raw sienna.  Finally, I have two blacks, a rich bright black and then a dull black.  

I didn't get much colour experiments done today as I left it late and then the darkness came.  I now realise that I really do need to get more organised.  I only have a small amount of time available and less so now that the winter has come.  So, off to plan next week to make sure there's lots of printing time available.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thinking about bird silhouettes

I've started thinking about my next print.  I've got so many photos which show birds against a sky backdrop.  Mainly because the photo has been taken by a small person, me, looking high up at the top of hedgerows, catching birds surveying their surroundings.

So, I've taken one of these photos and quickly sketched out an outline to work from.  The aim is to produce a silhouette print with a sunrise or sunset background.  I'm planning a print size of 30 cm x 20 cm.

Now to transfer the outline to the lino!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Clovely Print - A View from the Beach

The prints are finally dry and now I can take them down, edition them and mount ready for framing.

One of the benefits of using the printmaking process is that you can produce a number of prints - they aren't always identical and its these subtle differences that add to the overall process.  This is called an edition.

An edition can be as few as 2 or can run into the hundreds, but if you are going to produce this many it hardly seems like a "limited" edition!  Most artists tend to produce a maximum edition of 50.  

Editions of prints are numbered, sometimes named, and signed by the artist, usually in pencil.  This is to let the viewer know how many prints are in the edition.  It also confirms that no more will be printed. 

At the beginning of the printing process proofs will be taken to check the colour of the ink and the quality of the print.  An artist can sell up to 3 proofs with the edition.  Instead of seeing the numbers in the bottom left hand corner of the print, the initials AP will appear (which stands for artist's proof).  

The whole edition doesn't have to be printed in one go, but as soon as the full edition has been produced, it is standard to destroy the original lino block by either cutting a hole or damaging mark into them so that the edition cannot be continued.  You don't need to do this with a reduction print as each stage of the process is distructive so there is no way of increasing the edition size.

Here is the final editioned and signed print.  The colour of the paper has been washed out in the scanning process - the real colour is the same as the top picture in this post.

Next job to is to get them mounted and framed.