Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Down the allotment - sketch to print

I started sketching for "Down the allotment" back in winter 2010. The plots in question are nestled between fields of wheat and barley on the chalk slopes overlooking the River Thames. I rather liked the way the bare bones of the allotments were visible at that time of year allowing the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the allotmenteers showing through. I took some photos and doodled some of the elements I really liked, the blue piping hoops, tyres as planters, water bottles on canes, and the door. The door wasn't actually on the allotments but is memory from my childhood. There are no boundaries to the fields here, no fences or hedges or ditches, just a change of crop, but I distinctly remember the door being set in a frame at the edge of the field. The memory is so vivid because the door was the subject of my first photograph that wasn't of people, probably on that horrible 110 film, anyway enough of the door. 
Allotment sketches 2010

Then I forgot all about the allotments and moved onto other projects.

Then last summer a commission for a wheat field lino print took me back through the fields again and I remembered what I had started and took this snap, which wasn't particularly useful for my winter scene better than nothing because I later realised I had lost the original photos.  

Allotments Summer 2012, looking north

Again I forgot about the allotment sketches until a month or so ago. I worked on the earlier composition and decided I need to lose the door.

Composition developed in photoshop

But I did want to create a more or less square format so thought that untamed verges of the allotments would be the perfect foil to the regular neatness of the plots, the stray wheat ears, the poppy seed heads and the brambles.

Tracing from photoshop printout
Then it was merely a case of re-tracing the design, re-scanning, tracing down to the lino.
Lino prepared with design ready for cutting

Then cutting the lino, perhaps still tweaking the design along the way and finally, finally printing.
'Down the Allotments' - Lino print.

'Down the allotment', available here and here

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