Sunday, 30 June 2013

Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island

Cowichan Bay - an original lino print in sage green
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On our travels around Vancouver Island we stopped by the small town of Cowichan Bay for a quick coffee and a nosy round. I really liked the feel of this quirky little place with its stilted, shoreline stores and homes, floating houses and row upon row of moored boats. The shoreline up to the mouth of the Cowichan River is studded with tall wooden piles and I loved the way some had been customised as bird boxes and feeders and weather vanes. Cowichan Bay is also the home of the Arthur Vickers Gallery (unfortunately shut during our fleeting visit) and the True Grain Bread bakery (luckily, very much open with its fantastic selection of breads and yummy spelt cookies).  

 I've posted a few photos below to remind me that we did see blue sky once or twice!

Links you might like

Friday, 28 June 2013

Chine colle (sticking the light stuff down)

I chose a lightweight tissue for my latest print "Leaving Saltery Bay" for a couple of reasons. The main two were entirely practical.

I'd planned out a reduction lino cut that would require 4 different inkings and 4 separate pressings and even for a relatively small edition of 25 prints this would mean winding my press up and down 100 times if I used my preferred 120g paper. The tissue however picks up the ink under the gentlest of pressure and needed only a few swipes with a bamboo skin baren.

The second reason was the difference in drying time. I've found that the first layer of Caligo relief ink sits well on traditional papers, soaking in just enough to dry within a day or two into a nice matt finish. However subsequent layers of ink dry very, very slowly and usually retain a slight sheen. By contrast the lighter tissues absorb 3rd and even 4th layers of ink. I didn't want to lose the momentum of carving and printing by waiting for days in between for prints to dry and knew my impatience could easily ruin the whole edition. So I hedged my bets and split the edition between the light weight tissue and Zerkall, with many more on the former than the latter.

Having created a pile of wafty sheets of sheer inkiness I realised I hadn't quite thought through the finishing process, which brings me to my nori versus Coccoina experiment. Presuming that the nori was the “correct” thing to use I set about testing a little off cut. Then I remember the delicious smelling Coccoina and thought I'd give that a whirl at the same time. I pasted the heavier weight paper (Stonehenge) then smoothed the tissue onto it. The Coccoina was much dryer to apply, perhaps I should have left the nori to the air for a minute or two longer but photos below show the outcome:

nori sample to the left, Coccoina to the right
nori sample to the left, Coccoina to the right
The nori sample buckled a bit more than Coccoina. I've now used the Coccoina on the real thing and, with application of a couple of hours light press pressure, I'm really pleased with the results.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Leaving Saltery Bay

Finished at last, the first of a series of prints I have planned from my recent travels around Vancouver. This was the view from the ferry that links the Sunshine Coast down to the city as it left Saltery Bay. This is clearly a commuter route because we were the only travellers out on the deck gawping at the landscape, all the regulars were hunkered down inside with coffee, phones and papers. I'd give up home working for a commute like that. Better still would be to make the trip by float plane as many do, though I am sure the novelty would wear off eventually.

I broke my own "no reduction" rule for this and printed four colours on two different papers. As you can see from the wee film below I cheated somewhat on the second colour by isolating that small background area for printing. I printed a small number on my preferred Zerkall paper, but the two or more layers of ink dries so slowly on these that I printed the rest of the edition on a lightweight tissue (whose names escapes me). This had the great advantage of taking the ink very easily with only a slight rub with a baren - no endless bending over the press :-). I am finishing the prints chine colle-style by bonding them to a heavier weight paper. I like the way the tissue "disappears" and the ink really pops.

 Leaving Saltery Bay - available here  and here

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Beneath the canopy

A few of the smaller delights we found beneath the canopy of those tall, tall trees. 

Beautiful blue eggshell of the American Robin

  We never walked far in the forests without the accompaniment of an American Robin. The first one or two we encountered seemed so vibrantly exotic but we soon began to regard them as we would our blackbirds.

American Robin - member of the thrush family

Wren singing to the ferns and centuries old trees at Cathedral Grove

Our other bird encounters were more fleeting and they were too quick and we were too slow to photograph the woodpeckers and hummingbirds. 

The holes drilled by sapsuckers, to harvest sap and the insects caught in this sticky treat.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Big, big trees

Cathedral Grove, Vancouver Island

I'm nearly a week back from our holiday in British Columbia, well Vancouver Island and a tiny bit of the Sunshine Coast to be specific, and as usual I am slow to get to grips with all the photos I have taken.

Does anybody else suffer false photography syndrome - those photos you're sure you took but can't be found on any memory card?

Confusion was heightened this time round because on the fourth day my dear son dipped my camera in the sea whilst chasing crabs. It didn't like this at all and refused to work again (and got impressively hot when I forgot to take the battery out). So I had to resort to the camera on my phone, and to begging a go on OHs bridge camera, not ideal for someone who snaps continually but to be honest I am no great shakes as a photographer.

Anyway here's the first of a couple of posts about our travels. We toured around in a huge RV and stayed on a few of the Provincial Park campgrounds  - amazing pitches under enormous Douglas Fir and cedar and surrounded by luscious mosses, ferns and dogwood, where squirrels scampered and woodpeckers drilled and the bears stayed mercifully hidden.

Old Growth Douglas Fir in Cathedral Grove, Vancouver Island

Moss strewn limbs at Goldstream, Vancouver Island

Saltery Bay Provincial Park


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