A fork in life’s path

I know I have been absent a long time, but I have been very busy on a big project: the sale of Chocolate Baroque.  Yes, that’s right, Adrian and I have sold the business and we reckon to the best possible person to nurture it and take it forward – Lesley Wharton.

You may have heard the news already, but if not, you can head over to the Chocolate Baroque blog and read more about it.

I will be re-designing and re-defining this blog and turning it into much more of a personal, lifestyle type blog where I can write about my new life as an artist.

I would also invite you to visit our new website, www.portpatrickstudios.com and if you want to stay in touch, sign up to our email list over there (we’re offering a couple of freebies if you sign up now).  We have a facebook page too www.facebook.com/portpatrickstudios so please pop over and give us a like.

It goes without saying that I will continue to be a huge supporter and fan of Chocolate Baroque and wish my buddy all the luck in the world with her bright new future.

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002/100 Second lino cut

I have been working on another lino cut of the Zebrette jug, from a slightly different angle. I have new lino and new tools which has made it easier to cut. I have been trying to get a cleaner look, but my bookpress a little tricky as you can’t be consistent with the pressure.

I have also used linseed oil based ink this time, so if I want to hand colour them afterwards, I should be able to do that with no risk of the ink smearing.

I got Adrian to take some photos so I could show you some of the process.

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After the first couple of proofs, I decided to clean out the background some more and ended up cutting away the background entirely from the top part.

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It’s going to take a while to get to 100 at this rate, but things should speed up a bit as I plan to try some monoprints and collographs next.

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001/100 Zebrette Lino Print

I finished my first lino cut and had a little printing session with it.

I’m keeping notes on some of them so I know what went wrong or right and in particular, what papers work well.

Keeping notes

Here’s the results of the first session.

You can click on any of the images above to see a larger version, but you’ll need to click Back to return.  (I’m still looking for a decent gallery plug-in for WordPress that won’t slow it right down.)

I used a waterbased block printing ink from Speedball which I discovered is not waterproof when dry.  The final print with the yellow background was where I discovered this.  I decided to enhance this print – it was the lightest of all of them and looked quite bitty because of the textured watercolour paper I’d used.  I added some shading with coloured pencils, and strengthened the black pattern on the jug with a marker, then decided to add the yellow paint to the background.

As soon as the dried ink came into contact with moisture, it just woke right up and started blending – eek, not what I was expecting.  But I just took it carefully with the paint and managed to get the colour added without too much of the black blending in.  Then I thought I’d take advantage of it and used a wet paintbrush to go over the black pattern again and the foreground.  I’m happy with how it’s turned out and I think the coloured background really makes the white of the jug pop.

I’ve started my second one with fresh lino and new tools and oh, what a difference!

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PS – I have tweaked a cache setting to try and make the blog a bit faster to load – anyone notice any difference?

Zebrette Lino Print – a start

I’ve made a start on my 100 artwork challenge with a lino cut of a jug.  I have a small collection of 1950s black and white ceramics in a pattern called Zebrette and this jug came from Bob and Dot, my great Uncle and Aunt and started me off collecting this pattern.  I have always loved the sleek yet bulbous shape of the jug, like an elongated pear.

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lino cutting

Lino cutting is not a quick process and I’m using a piece of lino that is about 15 years old and it is so dry, it’s more like carving wood.  I’m enjoying the process though and happy to be finally using something I’ve been hoarding for so long.  I have an intriguing piece of clear lino to try out which I found a few weeks ago in Kirkudbright.  I’m guessing it’s some kind of polymer and it feels very soft, so it will be interesting to see how that comes out.

The lino is sitting on a bench hook in these photos which is a very useful piece of kit.  It is made from MDF and has a lip on the underside that you push up to the table edge.  It is then braced and cannot slide across the table.  The strips of MDF along the top and side stop the lino slipping off, so you can cut away from yourself and everything stays in place where you want it.

So, no actual prints to show yet, but I’ve made a start, I’m documenting it (also part of the challenge) and that’s what’s important.

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