26 March 2010

Draper Road viewed from Old Town



At last I've found time to complete this oil pastel painting of Draper Road descending down from Slack, as seen from across the valley at Old Town.

I see this view frequently as its on the route I take for my constitutional walk whenever I feel in the mood.  Obviously, things haven't looked quite like this for many many months, but unless its extremely foggy, you can always catch a glimpse of Draper Road glinting through the trees.

Sometimes in Winter its a silver curlicue in a world of black and grey, but the best way to experience Draper Road is on a hot day in late Spring, flying down the hill on a bike.  The corner dropping into the trees is quite tricky and a bit scary if you're going too fast, but once past there its an intense freewheeling descent under the dappled canopy through invisible waves of
bluebell and leafmold.  The same journey in reverse however, is a horror of sweat and toil too ghastly to dwell on ...

18 March 2010

Sweet Birds Sing

Finally finished the bird book, my first using the flag structure invented by Hedi Kyle.
Its called 'Sweet Birds Sing' and is a celebration of small birds and an expression of sadness at the loss of trees.


The whole thing is printed from woodcut blocks apart from the text, a little song I've written, which is inkjet printed over the woodcut printed pattern. 

The cover has the same leaf pattern as the end papers, but printed in black rather than grey/green, and the closure is a length of bright green petersham ribbon.



On the whole I'm quite pleased with the way its turned out - its mostly as I envisioned it before starting and I like the way the birds poke out as a little flock.  I feel I've learned a lot and would like to make another flag book that makes even richer use of the flag structure's potential.

It would be great to make an edition of Sweet Birds Sing, but it took so long with all the hand printing, I can't see how it would be feasible to make copies that anyone could afford.

7 March 2010

The Bird Book is hatching


I'm still working on my bird book.  I've just completed gouging a pattern of willow leaves onto a wooden block for making the paper that will become the front and back covers.  It was quite time-consuming and hard work, clearing all the wood in the spaces between the leaves.  I can't wait to try printing from this block.  To begin with I will print it in black ink on leaf green paper.









The birds are coming along too.  I'm using a print and collage process, printing onto many different coloured papers and then collaging different areas to gain a multi coloured effect.
I was first alerted to this way of working by an article on the illustrator Hannah Firmin and a wonderful image of ornate Bali slippers.  If you have recently read any of Alexander McCall Smith's 'The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' novels you will have seen Hannah's work on the covers.  I love both printmaking and collage but found it difficult to cut up my prints to begin with, possibly because I was trained in a strictly purist ethos.  But who makes up these rules? and why do we feel constrained to obey them?