Friday, 24 October 2014

'Cutting ley on the Rhins' - new lino print

'Cutting ley on the Rhins'
This print captures a moment in time on a late summer day on the most southerly tip of Scotland. The farmer had just cut the ley and the cutters had laid it out in big fat stripes up and down the fields.Within hours the ley was hovered up and taken back to the farm and the scene had changed again.

I am fascinated by the way farming practice impacts on the colours and textures of our landscape - from the most intensive arable cultivation to the most sensitive grazing regimes.  Some changes are instantaneous and dramatic - turning pale golden stubble to rich brown clods with the turn of the plough. Others develop gradually like the fine brown till that slowly becomes the vivid green of germinating cereals. I am always thrilled to see the silvery blue of a flowering linseed crop and (for the first time this year) phacelia.

'Cutting ley on the Rhins' is a five colour lino print created from two different plates, one for the sky and road grey and the other for the yellow through to dark green. The yellow/green plate was gradually cut away so each print had to be inked and pressed four times.

'Cutting ley on the Rhins' is available to buy in my Folksy and Etsy shops. 


New Stockist

I am delighted to announce that Rural Arts in Thirsk are now stocking a selection of my mounted and framed lino prints in the gallery.

Click on the logo to find out more about Rural Arts and follow  @RuralArts

Friday, 3 October 2014

Upnor Dinghies

#drawaugust sketch based on dinghies tied up on the River Medway at Upnor

drawing transferred to lino, one plate for the boat block colours
and the other for the timbers
Boat colours printed first

First carving of the timbers plate
Test print with markup
Block colour and 1st layer of grey for the timbers

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Blog Hop

Midori Takaki has very kindly nominated me as the next leap in an around the world creative blog hop. So in this post I will attempt to answer the 4 set questions and nominate two other blog to take the hop forward (should be three but I missed out on that detail ;-)

So to the questions ...

What am I working on ?

I have print underway of a little riverside scene I observed at Upnor on the Medway in Kent (UK).

Lino marked with pencil, carved and ready for printing (after a quick clean up)
This piece started as a quick sketch for #drawaugust on twitter but I came to like the simplified forms of the dinghies and their uncharacteristic vertical stance and thought to develop it further with colour.

#drawingaugust day 19 notebook pen sketch of dinghies stored at Upnor 

I am planning two different colourways - traditional nautical blues and the other in perhaps orange and reds. There are two separate blocks, one for the colours and the others for grey tones which will cut into twice to bring out the detail of the timber work. I love these types of weathered marine structures and they have featured in some my previous prints including Blue House at Shellness and Morston Quay.

Blue House at Shellness - two plate (one reduced) lino print

Morston Quay - Two plate lino print

How does my work differ from others of its genre ?
Erm, what a tricky question! For me my work is different because it is the work I made. I know and have been in the landscapes I depict. I know or have made up the stories I tell. And I know very intimately the piece of lino that I have chipped and flicked and carved away and the ink I have rolled and blended and pressed. So of course my work feels very different to me than anybody else's, don't we all feel that way?

Little bird houses mounted on timber piles at the edge of the sea in Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island

Why do I write/create what I do ?

I love the physicality of printing, the carving, the rolling out the ink and the winding of the press. The processes involved are diverse enough to keep my interest. And above all I get a little thrill from seeing twenty or so multiples of a design laid out in front of me at the end of a long evening with ink and press.

Thornborough Henges

How does my creative process work ?

For me printmaking is about capturing a glancing encounter or a moment in a landscape through sketching and design, tracing and carving, blending colours and inking and finally pressing. My approach is organic and flexible. I rarely begin with a fixed idea of the outcome and I often edit and re-work right through to the end.

I take photos, mostly bad ones, constantly when I am out walking, cycling or exploring. Sometimes a particular scene or setting will grab my attention there and then. Others times its only when I have mulled over the photos and perhaps done a little background research that an idea begins to formulate. Some prints come to fruition in weeks, others have taken months or years! 

AND now I have the pleasure of  passing the baton on to my nominees Cinzia Bacilieri and Murgatroyd Hoots.

Murgatroyd Hoots is a blog I have followed for a few years and I am always cheered to see Kathleen's quirky textile creations popping up in my reading list. This blog is such a wonderful melange of story-telling and colour strung together with thread and wrapped in a coat of the most beautiful vintage fabrics. A lovely world to dip into when the real one feels a bit bleugh! 

Vulpini (c) Murgatroyd Hoots

Cinzia Bacilieri is rare amongst the bloggers I follow in that I know her in real life too. We worked together quite a few years ago on a project to map the archaeological remains of coastal Yorkshire from air photographs. Besides being a air photo interpreter, archaeologist, lecturer in her native Italian and History of Art she is also a painter. Oh, and she speaks Korean too. Pop over to her blog to see just how her journey into the Korean language and culture has come together with her art work.

 Aura painting (c)  Cinzia Bacilieri
And do hop back and take a look at Midori's blog, apart from having two of the most covetable dogs on the internet she creates ceramic figures with the most serene and graceful faces and a whole menagerie of witty beasts.

(c) Midori Takaki 

Friday, 12 September 2014


Over on twitter #paintseptember is in full swing and there is some truly beautiful work to be seen under this hashtag. I've returned to print making after a little break and dalliances into paint but whilst my latest piece is still under the knife I though I'd share one of #paintseptember offerings. So in reverse order of progress...


Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Rhins - Fauna

I've just returned from a week in the caravan on the far south-west tip of Scotland with son and OH. It was a beautiful camp site,  practically on the beach, shielded by gorse and brambles and with grass kept short and neat by an whole army of bunny gardeners.

Keeping the grass short

If being surrounded by the cast of Watership Down was insufficient cuteness this nest of young swallows certainly made up for it.

Late brood of swallows

On the that morning we left two had fledged and were nervously hanging around on the roof but the others were still reluctant to make the leap. I am trying not to think of the long journey they have to make so very soon with so very little flying experience.

Beyond the site, the fields and roads were overrun with herds of young pheasant just coming into their adult plummage and looking all the scruffier for it. Inevitably many came to grief on the roads but this gave us some amazingly close encounters with scavenging buzzards, though never with a camera to hand.

The beaches on the west coast were littered with jellyfish, some up to 50cm across.

But fortunately the east coast facing into Luce Bay had far fewer and I was happy to swim in the shallow waters on a couple of the warmer and calmer days.

Although the days were generally fine the wind really seemed to pickup overnight and
ccasionally brought rain. After one particularly blustery and wet night I found a family of mice sheltering amongst the deckchairs stowed under that caravan. They scarpered but left their business behind!

Given the coastal winds it was no surprise to see some very tattered peacock and red admirals gamely fluttering along between the scabious and thistle and in the fine formal gardens of Port Logan and Castle Kennedy.

Damaged Red Admiral

On the one day I managed to get up before the sun had risen I was rewarded with a curlew flying low overhead, the sight of oystercatchers nosing around the caravans and tiny ringed plovers scuttering along the tideline.
Oystercatchers on the beach at sunrise
Ringed Plovers at sunset

Oystercatchers have long been a favourite and were the subject of what I like to think is one of my more successful prints (see here) but the plovers may be next in line.


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