Monday, 5 November 2018

Michael Ayrton - Minotaur Waking

It so happens that there is a bronze minotaur by Michael Ayrton (1972) on show at Southampton City Art Gallery at the moment. Hot footed it in to visit it last week. It's lovely and I really wanted to touch it - it looks so tactile.

Apparently, the minotaur was a regular theme in Ayrton's work so I think I need to look him up. 

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Minotaur update

He's getting there. Just got to mke the cover now and do a little tidying up. And make two more...

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Etching beginners

 Had our second session of etching last evening and again, some great work produced by our beginners.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Hawthorn ink demo

Had a very interesting and informative morning at Red Hot Press last weekend. Barry and Michael from Hawthorn Printmaker Supplies travelled down from York to tell us about inks and colour mixing. Barry gave us some really good tips on how to mix colours consistently which may seem obvious but actually there’s a lot more to it than I realised. My own colour palette is quite limited (as evidenced by the photo above, though I do have some inks by other makers) and I'm not really picky about tone so it's not something I've thought too much about in the past.

Barry is a fount of knowledge about the history and chemistry of ink-making. He was able to give me some advice on how to increase the longevity of the books I'm making given they are to be handled. Bought some driers to try for the monoprinting. Never needed to use it before so it will be interesting to see how it works. A very useful morning.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Cowprint Sketchers

This year, Cowprint members started a new activity. Once a month we go on an outdoor sketching session - a bit like Urban Sketchers but mostly not city scapes. Parks and woodland seem to be the favourite. This month we visited the shore (how lucky we are to live on the coast!).

Here's a selection of drawings I've made over the year. I really struggle with drawing landscape type subjects. And buildings. Give me a naked person and I'm fine but these outdoor drawing sessions are really outside my comfort zone. Which proably means I should do a lot more of it...

Thursday, 11 October 2018


Work in progress. Every minotaur needs a labyrinth.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Drypoint beginners

Another clever bunch of printmaking beginners at Red Hot Press. I've just done a couple of sessions of drypoint with them - some good results.

Really sensitive use of the roulette wheel here.

 Looking forward to seeing what they do with etching over the next two weeks.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Kate Watkins

Kate Watkins, Clevedon Pier. Gocco print

Local artist and printmaker Kate Watkins gave a very inspiring talk to the artists' group this week. She spoke about her 'creative journey' to date focusing on her time at Winchester School of Art doing an MA in printmaking. It was here that she developed her interest in coastal themes, making a panorama of Calshot (read about in on her website here).

Kate Watkins, Flip Flop. Solvent transfer and pencil study print

Kate Watkins, Super Strong. Solvent transfer and graphite

Since then, Kate has continued to develop this theme in her work, using objects found on the beach to make solvent transfer prints over which she uses graphite. She has also created a seres of abstarct images based on coastal themes.
Kate Watkins, Weather Worn Circle. Monoprint and ink transfer

Kate Watkins, Weather Worn IX. Monoprint and ink transfer

I really like the fact that Kate mixes different techniques together (something I often do in my own work) to layer up imagery and create rich colour and texture. I was also very impressed by her drive and motivation to create her art, regardless of the various constraints we find ourselves under these days. Wish I could be as focused!

Monday, 24 September 2018

Southampton Wayzgoose

What a great day we had and what a diverse and interesting bunch of people. There were over twenty stalls selling letterpress artwork and equipment, artists' books, an altered book project that people could participate in, antique books, original printimaking (us!) and all manner of print-related goodness. 

Stall holders came from far and wide - even as far as Scotland. There was a queue to get in at 10am so the free goody bags went instantly, and we were busy all day. 

We were selling work by twelve members of Cowprint on our stall - sales were much better than expected. Thanks to Irene who minded the stall with me all day and was responsible for making the stall look so attractive. And thanks to Katherine Anteney and the British Printing Society for organising the event.

I was particularly pleased that all three of my Pop-up Prometheuses sold, as well as one of my folded books. Very encouraging for my first foray into this area.


Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Work in progress

Pop-up prototype. Watch this space.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Pop-up Prometheus

Started fiddling about with pop-ups... Here's my first attempt; pop-up Prometheus with a twist. Literally.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Virginia Woolf: an exhibition inspired by her writings

Gwen John, Self-portrait, 1902, oil on canvas
Tate. Purchased 1942 © Tate, London 2018

Took a trip down to Pallant House Gallery in Chichester last week as I felt the need to look at some paintings and thought the current exhibition, Virginia Woolf: an exhibition inspired by her writings looked promising. 

Hmm. Sadly, it fell somewhat short for me. There were paintings, including the one above which was great to see in the flesh, having seen reproductions over the years, but I didn't feel they were the best examples of those artists' work. There was a lot of contemporary stuff as well which didn't appeal for a range of reasons. I felt the link with Woolf was a bit tenuous too; better to have billed it as an exibition of work by female artists from the 19th and 20th centuries without the Woolf element which didn't really add anything or make the work cohere any better. Just my view though. I find I struggle more and more with contemporary art these days and there was a lot of it in this show. Is this an age thing I wonder...? Yours, Grumpy Old Woman.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Open Studios

Having had two summers at Hilliers, Open Studio is back at Red Hot Press this year.

Come on down this weekend to see - and buy - work by workshop members. Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 12 - 5pm.

Meant to post this on Friday so apologies for lateness. Still time today and tomorrow to see the show though. A good way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Folded books

Have been thinking about making some artists books for years now but never quite knew where to begin. Seems like a logical progression given my work is largely about narrative and stories. 

Started cutting up some monoprints that have been lying around, not good enough to frame or mount for sale. Ideal for experimenting with. So here are my first attempts. Great fun - I could get addicted to making them. Need to sharpen my folding skills though; they're looking decidedly rough around the edges.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Susie Turner

Susie Turner, Cotinous Grace, photopolymer intaglio print, 2013
Interesting talk last Friday by printmaker Susie Turner who visited Red Hot Press to give a solar plate masterclass over the weekend.

Susie talked about her processes and the ideas behind her work. She is particularly interested in nature and the changing seasons. There seems to be quite a pleasing conflict in some of her work between order and chaos. She arranges many of the elements in an orderly, systematic way, but nature will do its own thing and always brings a little disorder to the images. At least, no two elements are the same, whether leaves, feathers or seeds, no matter how regular the pattern they're arranged in. 

Have a look at her work on her website here.