Sunday, 12 April 2015


It's been good to have a couple of days in the studio this weekend; all that essay-writing and data work was sapping my creativity. I'm now thinking about monoprinting and preparing for a course I'll be teaching soon so here are a couple of direct monoprints of Netley Abbey, a late mediaeval monastry, now just ruins, fairly near here. I had fun with the old stonework in this technique... suits it quite well I think. These were very quick to do, just a couple of hours each, so a change from etching which always seem to take me months to finish.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Scratching the Surface

At Cowprint last week, we had an interesting session looking at and selecting work for Scratching the Surface, a Red Hot Press members' exhibition of etching and drypoint. Some lovely work... it's going to be a good show. Plus we are very lucky to have Ali Yanya, drypoint master, showing with us too. Private view on Thursday 7 May from 7pm to 9pm. Come along and see what it's all about.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

After the storm

There hasn't been a whole lot of blogging going on this year so far. Having left the Countarium in January, I immediately started a short but very intense teaching course so have been up to my ears in learning and teaching theory, micro-teaches, coursework and assignments for the last three months almost. Having been teaching for years, I thought it was about time I got a qualification in it. Handed my portfolio in on Monday so just waiting to hear if I've passed...

There really hasn't been time for new artwork but I have managed to finish off Requires Improvement (or petty bureacracy and the things that stop us doing what we should be doing) so that's ready to be framed for our Scratching the Surface special at Cowprint next week.

There are a few interesting creative things coming up over the next few months; postcard exchange exchibition in April, Scratching the Surface in May, a monoprinting workshop in June and the possibility of a Cowprint show in the Autumn. There may well be some interesting developments on the teaching front too but that's up in the air at the moment. I hope to have plenty to blog about over the coming months so keep watching this space.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Cowprint Postcard Exchange

Linda Bennett

Cowprint met for our first session of 2015 last week. We started the year well by finishung a project started last summer; a postcard exchange. We drew names from  hat and selected two people to start off a chain each. Those two made a postcard, wrote something on the back and sent it to the person they had drawn. That person then made another postcard and wrote on it, responding to the image and words on the card they had received, and sent it to the person they had drawn... and so on until the two people whi started the chains each received a card.

We're hoping the review the complete chains at next month's meeting so we can see if the images and words following a logical progression. In the meantime, here's a selection.
Irene Smith

Jenny Rickman

Sheila Lockyer

Jenny Goodhand
Tim Watson
Jo Price

Friday, 16 January 2015

Henry Moore Prints

Goodness, here we are half way through January already and I'm only just writing my first blog post of the year. There's been very little art in my life over the last couple of months. Work has been all consuming and what time there's been away from it has been taken up with caring responsibilities and Christmas prep. New year, new outlook however. New start in fact. Last week, I hung up my abacus and left the data factory for good. Mixed feelings about it but that's another blog post.

So, back to the art, now that I (temporarily) have more time. On Wednesday I was in Winchester for a meeting at the Art Cafe about an exhibition we're having there later this year. The cafe is just opposite the Winchester Gallery so I took the opportunity to pop in and check out the current exhibition - Henry Moore Prints. I'm not a fan of his sculptures particularly but there are some lovely prints in the show, which consists of mostly lithographs. Many are monochrome but some use two or more colours in a really subtle way. I particularly liked Minerva, Prometheus and Pandora, a lithograph from 1950; I'm thinking about Greek myth a lot at the moment.

Moore really uses the different effects achievable with lithograph; Lullaby (above) is a good example. I don't know how it's done, some kind of oil and water resist maybe, but the background of the image has a wonderful stony texture. The sleeping figure emerges out of the stone, almost like one of his sculptures. All the forms in his prints have that weight and solidity so characteristic of his sculptures.

The show is on until 31 March.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods

Big changes are afoot... BIG changes. It's sad and exciting and scary all at the same time and whilst I'd rather not be experiencing this change right now, it's kind of necessary and unavoidable. Apologies for the crypticness of this post; don't feel able to say too much about the situation just at the moment.

Creative time has been pretty thin on the ground over the last few weeks. This is not a cheery thing and I am feeling exhausted and diminished. Hopefully this will be rectified soon though and I'll get my creative mojo back again. I have three projects to work on so it'll be good to get stuck in to those once Christmas is out of the way. May 2015 be a much better and creatively fruitful year!

Thursday, 11 December 2014


Been thinking about harpies lately, as you do, and other mythical monsters. Been doing some doodling and have come up with the nasty piece of work pictured here, who accompanied by her henchspider, will be making an appearance in my next Pirate Baby image. Poor old PB; he's going through the ringer at the moment... He's growing up, accumulating experiences, coming up against The Things That Stop Him Doing What He Should Be Doing. Question is, am I going to allow those things to overcome him or shall I set him free again?

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Requires Improvement

Pirate Baby marches on; or rather dances on in this print. Gradually working in tone with spit bite. It's a bit too light at the moment but it's heading in the right direction. I can keep reworking and reworking it. 

I need to decide what to do with the windows next. Got a couple of ideas but need to make some sketches first. More soon hopefully.

Ball Rack Gallery

The Ball Rack Gallery at Red Hot Press is great for holding mini exhibitions of work by students on the various courses at the workshop. This week, work by my Monday evening students is on show; a lovely selection of drypoints, card cuts, linocuts and monoprints. The prints will be on display until 17 November so have a look if you're in the neighbourhood.


Monday, 3 November 2014

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Who are you?

As you know, I'm a bit obsessed with Grayson Perry. The first programme in his new series of documentaries, Grayson Perry: Who Are You? started on Wednesday and it was excellent. Have a look here.

It's available for another 26 days. The next programme is on this Wednesday 29th at 10pm. Channel 4. I shall be watching.

Monday evening printmaking

Bee by Alison

I am in the middle of teaching a block of six intaglio printing sessions at Red Hot Press. So far the group have produced some lovely drypoints (see photos) and made card cut plates. We'll print these at the next session, then round off the course with two weeks of etching (saving the best until last of course!).

Expressive life drawing by Elwyn

Adrian's stormy ram

Yvonne's delicate flowers

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Grayson Perry on identity

A Map of Days ~ Grayson Perry

There's a rather good article in the Guardian this weekend about Grayson Perry's latest project which focuses on identidy, something which he's been interested in for a long time. I particularly like this bit.

'I ask whether the television project has taught him anything about his own identity. Of course, he says, you continue to learn. “I was reading a book by Julian Baggini about identity, and he said, ‘I is a verb masquerading as a noun.’ You perform yourself. It’s like going for a walk, you carry it along with you and it changes all the time. So the idea that there is a solid, consistent, tangible thing is an illusion.”

He compares it to the tapestry we’re sitting on. “If you want an analogy, all the colours are present right across the tapestry. There are 20 colours, that’s why it’s so thick. But the machine brings the colour to the surface when it’s needed. I think that’s an analogy for our character. We’ve got all of ourselves there, but the bit that’s necessary in any given moment comes to the surface. So, with my daughter, I’m a father. When I’m in the studio, I’m an artist. When I’m out, I’m ‘Grayson Perry’. So you ask what your identifiers are – artist, tranny, father, man, motorcyclist – and you’ve got a hierarchy of things. And that’s the nature of identity, isn’t it?”'

What a good analogy.

Thursday, 2 October 2014


Of the last thirty days, we have visited a hospital or doctors' surgery on 15 of them. That's a lots of medical appointments... all for the Aged P of course. It is stressful and exhausting and that's before you've started on all the personal care at home etc, but such is caring for an elderly person in declining health (whilst holding down a job and an art career which is getting busier by the day (a good thing!).

The art-making has suffered this month though; don't really have the energy for etching at the moment. Have made a couple of monoprints however, developing some of the waiting area drawings. Not sure where these are going at the moment... just doodling really but I'm hopeful they will evolve into something interesting.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

And on we go

I made a start on my next Pirate Baby print the other weekend at the Red Hot Press Open Studios where I was demonstrating etching all day. This one is titled 'Requires Improvement (or petty bureaucracy and the things that stop us doing what we should be doing)'.

Looking back at the images I've made over the last few years, it struck me that most of the time, they contain solitary figures. That's fine - there's plenty of scope for narrative there - but I think I want to start introducing more characters into my images to explore the dymanics between them and how they interact with each other. There doesn't seem to be much interaction between the figures in 'Requires Improvement' but that is how it's meant to be. Lack of communication, lack of interest in what one is trying to say, futile hoop-jumping... That's what Pirate Baby is trying to convey here.