Saturday, July 07, 2012


I'm working on improving my printmaking techniques and trying my hand at reductive monotypes, using a gelatin plate.  Today I worked on a couple of pieces that didn't have the detail that will come in future ones, but the softness and roughness also has its appeal.

The first is Back Pasture, which is the view across the grass to the woods beyond.  The play of sun and shadows of the trees on the mowed grass interested me.  I inked the plate with Caligo  Safe Wash ink then removed - or should that be revealed - the lighter sections of the piece with rag, cotton swabs and fingers then printed it using a japanese paper.

The second image was from imagination, spurred on by a small painting that I'm working on of the sea.  I wanted a dark sky this time and a bright moon on the water.  The same process was used as the previous print, moving ink from the plate.

When the ink dried, which was fairly quick on this absorbent paper, I thought I'd add some colour and used oil sticks.  I also took a ghost print of the water piece and may add colour to that with a different medium, perhaps watercolour.

I think both coloured and uncoloured have appeal, but for these subjects I prefer the uncoloured version.  Which  do you prefer?

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Taraxacum Duet

 Taraxacum Duet   SOLD
4" x 6" gozen paper

I was experimented with ideas for printmaking using plant materials.  I have a vase full of 'weeds' sitting beside me in the studio.  Of course to me weeds are just the opposite, as a herbalist.  Each represents a form of relief from a symptom causing distress, but I know that to most people, they're just weeds.

One of the plants in my vase is dandelion - taraxacum officianale, a common garden plant usually growing where you don't want it.  However, its a very useful herb and farmed as an alternative green which are used in salads or cooked before the leaves are large, the roots have been used to make a coffee-like drink  and it has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb.  Dandelion root is a registered drug in Canada, sold principally as a diuretic. The plant is known for its ability to treat jaundice, cholecystitis and cirrhosis. The dandelion also affects the digestive system by acting as a mild laxative, increasing appetite, and improving digestion.

I had a closed flower and a seed pod together, placed on tin foil to give more reflected light.  I reduced the image to basics in a photo editing program then printed the bones of it onto Japanese paper - gozen.  This is a very thin translucent paper that's lovely to work with.   After printing I started adding colour using a very dry watercolour wash in select areas of the the flowerheads to provide a stronger shape and finished with a few flecks of silver leaf.

I printed two of these on the gozen paper, but worked out my experiments on the first image.  Always a useful habit to ensure you have back up when something goes wrong!   This piece measures 4" x 6" with an approximate 1/2" border on the sides and 1" border top and bottom.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

July 1st

I haven't painted for about a week and it makes me feel a little unsettled, as if I'll forget how to unless I keep at my daily routine.  I've sketched and photographed however, so that makes up for it a bit and I have ideas in my head that will come out on paper or canvas soon enough.

July 1st is Canada Day, but Memorial Day in Newfoundland, commemorating the Battle of the Somme and the July 1st battle at Beaumont Hamel which wiped out most of the Newfoundland Regiment in 1916.  This video clip paints a picture of just how it all unfolded.