About Lyn Weir

I am an Australian linocut artist living and working on the North Coast of NSW in Australia. My main body of work has been with limited edition linocuts and detailed drawings/illustrations of Australian Wildlfowers and Wildlife.

Getting back on track

It has been a long while since I posted on this studio diary. This is for many reasons including the ease at which Instagram & Twitter allow you to make quick updates & post images. So if you follow on Instagram or Twitter then you will see I am still working – drawing, designing, photographing & looking for inspiration every day.

I have also been working on small drawings & design works which I have been working up into larger works. I have not been able to carve in recent months due to ongoing issues post wisdom teeth surgery which I am still struggling with including issues with my vision. I have just got some new glasses which will help with that issue – I hope! Ongoing pain & nerve issues may take a bit or lot longer.

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I have had to work in shorter bursts & in smaller & different ways

So lots of ideas, small sketchbooks, small drawings, designs, using my computer to develop larger works. This has meant a new way of thinking & working which I am quite enjoying.

I have also still been caring for family fairly closely for the past 2 years including extended periods of time away from home recently. It means I need to be fairly mobile with my artwork!

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I have plans (and a venue with lots of support) for an exhibition in September 2017 & so I am now working towards a range of work to exhibit & expand my work.

I will be away again for a few weeks but have plenty of work & ideas to take with me!

Before I go I have been attempting a little carving which I haven’t been able to do for nearly 12 months & I realise how much I love this process & carving.

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This piece is one of a set of 6 designs which are large & complex to carve in lino but I am looking forward to the challenge. Still have to figure out a plan to print them – need a much larger press than my little book press. Guess I’ll cross that issue when I get to it!

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New Website – lynetteweir.com

http://lynetteweir.com/

http://lynetteweir.com/

Australian Artist – Linocut Artist – Lynette Weir

Many of my longer term blog readers will remember my old website – soulsong.com.au – I was able to build this website using a brilliant online management system that a friend had developed over 10yrs ago. Back then there was no wordpress or any other website builder you could access to build your own site. This system was ahead of it’s time – a login in system where you could build & manage your own website. Unfortunately it is no longer being updated so I needed to find an alternative. After much searching around looking at what was on offer from the many online management systems, I settled on using wordpress as I really like using this system. I have been using Elegant Themes for the last few years but could not find a way to build a simple easy to navigate system for my website that was similar to my original soulsong one.

I had been meaning to try out the new theme – Divi – for a while. It offers a non code dependent builder (my knowledge of code is extremely limited) & Woo Commerce compatibility. When I looked at it initially it looked complicated.

If you follow me on twitter etc you will know that a couple of months ago I fractured my ankle so have been stuck at home unable to drive or do a lot (could not even do artwork as it meant I needed to have my foot down & it ached). So I decided it was time to bite the bullet I spent several hours viewing youtube videos showing how it all worked. It was well worth spending this time to research how the page builder & modules all work as it made things a lot easier in building my website.

I have pretty much worked it out now but there are still some things I need to finish so obviously I will be tweaking things a little more & some of the images need to be updated.

In the meantime I would be very grateful of you let me know what you think & if there are any problems navigating the website.As a final aside: Please note that I do not get any commissions nor have any links to Elegant Themes – I have always found their support forum very helpful & I love the new Divi Theme they have developed for its flexibility to build the website I have been trying to develop for ages.

ANZAC DAY 2015 – Remembering those in our family who served in WW1 & WW2

Flight Officer E. S Weir RAAF

Flight Officer E. S Weir RAAF

Today in Australia it is ANZAC Day – a time to remember those who died & fought in all wars & conflicts but also a time to reflect on their service.

I cannot imagine having to go to war.

I cannot imagine having one of my son’s go to war.

I find it difficult to understand what leads people to have to conquer & dominate others especially through war. I do not understand those who seek to make others bend to their way of life especially through violence & destruction.

I do understand the need to defend against those who would want to conquer another country & to hurt others.

Within my family & my husband’s family we have had those who went to war to defend those who needed help. I knew most of these men. They were all the loveliest, kindest & humble men – war to them must have been very hard. Few spoke of the horrors, some spoke of the losses of friends, but all spoke of the great lifelong friends they made. The difficulties of facing & participating in war always take a toll. Here is a little of those in our family who served in both WW1 & WW2.

Emanuel Wier was from the small western NSW town of Narrandera. He was my father-in-law’s Uncle, my husband’s Great Uncle. He was just 26 years old when as part of the 20th Australian Infantry Battalion in the Somme region of France he died ‘from his wounds’ on the 12th August, 1916. He is buried in the Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L’Abbe, Picardie, France He never married, never had children & I cannot imagine the horror of fighting in the trenches. His memory was honoured within his family when my father-in-law was named after his Uncle – Emanuel Weir. There are variations of the spelling of their surnames. I imagine this is because the actual spelling was Wiehr – of German descent. As with members of my family of German descent, they anglicised their names in order to join the armed forces in Australia. Those with German names were not allowed to sign up. Thus some became Weir & others Wier.

Emanuel Frederick Weir - was killed on the Western Front WWI

Emanuel Wier – was killed on the Western Front WWI

Frederick James Shawman was my great great Uncle Fred – a kind, quiet & gentle man who was born in Iluka at the mouth of the Clarence River on the NSW North Coast. His Grandfather was the first pilot at Yamba, Frances Freeburn. His mother Jane was the first white woman born there. Like Emanuel Wier my Uncle Fred had to change his surname to join up to go to war he had been born Frederick James Schaumann. Uncle Fred never married nor had children. I remember visiting & talking with him in the little old timber house with the frangipani trees out front where he lived with his sister & alone in his later years. In his final years he lived in the RSL nursing home ion the Northern Beaches in Sydney closer to where he could visit his younger sister who we called ‘Aunty Biddo’ who lived in Manly. We would travel from the other side of Sydney to take him out & visit Aunty Biddo – two quiet & beautiful souls but with a twinkle of mischief in their eye. He came to stay with us once for a few days & it was then that he talked with my Dad about some of the horrors of his time in the trenches of France. We saw & heard the nightmares. Fred Shawman was part of the 20 Infantry Battalion – 18 to 20 Reinforcements (November 1916 – July 1917) and the trench warfare they endured was horrendous.

Arthur Stanley Gray was my Dad’s Uncle, his mother’s brother & my favourite great Uncle. My Dad was born & lived at Southgate outside Grafton on a farm in a small house. It was here where his Uncle Arthur returned after serving in New Guinea in WWII. Uncle Arthur was part of the ground staff building airfields both in Port Moresby & Milne Bay. He told us that as ground staff they were not allowed to carry rifles & the of the raids the Japanese would make on them. They would have to run to find places to hide from the armed nightly attacks. He suffered from malaria & severe dysentery and although this was recognised within his service his emotional distress was evident. We knew him as ‘bomb happy’ & but when he returned & lived with my Dad’s family it was my Dad who was woken at night with Uncle Arthur’s screaming nightmares. it Dad who would sit on him, holding him down til he could settle. The warfare & bombing had taken it’s toll. I remember every holidays visiting my grandparents in Yamba & of Uncle Arthur as a lovely man with a great sense of humour & fun who loved fishing with my Dad & grandfather. He loved his garden & always grew vegetables but he loved growing Hibiscus & his garden was always kept beautifully. He always made me smile & loved all of us kids. He had a daughter from his first marriage but later married Aunty Ena (nee Walter) who had served in the war as part of the WAAF.

Donald Earl Vidler was my Mum’s first cousin & was a Flight Officer/Pilot in WW2 who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross – DFC. He was my second cousin & someone who we would see regularly as he lived in the Sutherland Shire not far from us. My memory of him is of a kind, genuine, caring and honorable man with a keen sense of humour and mischief. He was originally a Spitfire pilot but later transferred to Bomber command where he went on to fly Lancaster bombers. I have been told that was not a usual airforce career progression – once you were in either in fighters or bombers it was not often you transferred between them. He flew with distinction & I have told more of his service previously on this blog – click here to see the original post. The value of his service is highlighted also within the comments within that blog post where people knew Don both here in Australia & when he was in the RAAF in the UK, have added additional information & remembrances of him.

Emanuel Stephen Weir was my father-in-law & he signed up & trained in the RAAF & served in the RAF in the UK in WW2. He was a quiet reserved man with a strong sense of duty. Like the other men I have talked about ‘Manning’ spoke a lot of the friendships he made, a little of his training but rarely of the harder times. He had trained in Canada & entered service in the RAF in the UK late in the war. But the training from all I have read was hard & often treacherous with many dying on the airfields of Canada before they even made it to fight in Europe. We have a lot of his memorabilia from that time & all of our three sons spent a lot of time in his final years with him. Our family – my husband, three sons & my parents all helped care for both Manning & my husband’s mother Judy in the last few years of their lives and it was a privilege to have been able to spend that time with them. They are very proud of what their Grandfather did in serving his country and will never forget him. Two of my son’s a few years ago when on a scholarship trip to the UK, took the time to visit the Wellington Museum at the Unit where Manning had spent some time. They went through all the memorabilia & spoke with one of the fellows there that would have served in the same area as their grandfather. I have written previously a little about Manning’s service – you can find the original blog post by clicking here.

Quick Update

Sorry for being ‘off air’ recently from my blogs & websites.

I have been caring for family all year and just haven’t been able to keep up to date with my websites and artwork. Hoping to get back to some art in the next couple of months 🙂

Am itching to get back to my new designs & have some more new designs/artworks bubbling away in the background.

So please keep checking 🙂

kind regards

Lyn

Australian Floral Emblems 2014 – a new linocut

I was away in the Southern Highlands and Batemans Bay visiting relatives & taking some on holidays for most of March – it was a lovely break & I even managed to sneak in a bit of art making.

Before I left I managed to complete this new design – Australian Floral Emblems 2014.AUSTRALIAN FLORAL EMBLEMS 2014 WEB SCAN SMALL

It was commissioned as a gift for Lismore City Council’s Sister City – Yamato-Takada – for the Lismore City Council Mayor and General Manager’s visit which is currently underway  and joins the previous purchase by Lismore City Council and Yamato-Takada 50th Anniversary of the first Sister City relationship program in August 2013. My linocut was presented yesterday by Mayor Jenny Dowell of Lismore City Council to Mayor Yoshida of Yamato-Takada Council.

Sister City Gift - Lismore City & Yamato Takada Councils April 2014

Australian Floral Emblems 2014 – a Fine Art Handpainted Linocut by Lynette Weir

This Fine Art Linocut Limited Edition Relief Print takes the Floral Emblems for each State or Territory of Australia and weaves them into a design held together by the Australian Floral Emblem – the Golden Wattle – Acacia pycnantha.

AUSTRALIAN FLORAL EMBLEMS 2014 Small Print File

Victoria – Common Heath – Epacris impressa
Tasmania – Tasmanian Blue Gum – Eucalyptus globulus
Australian Capital Territory – Royal Bluebell – Wahlenbergia gloriosa
South Australia – Sturts Desert Pea – Swainsona formosa
Western Australia – Mangles Kangaroo Paw – Anigosanthos manglesii
Northern Territory – Sturts Desert Rose – Gossypium sturtianum
Queensland – Cooktown Orchid – Dendrobium phalaenopsis
New South Wales – Waratah – Telopia speciosissima

The design begins as an idea in a small sketch, developed with a clear understanding of the structures of the wildflowers.

You can see the tiny thumbnail sketch showing the initial ideas sketch for the planning of this linocut in the top left hand corner of the image below. This little ideas sketch is then worked into drawings grounded in draughtsmanship.

Australian Floral Emblems 2014 Drawing medium SCAN

The work is designed into a linocut/linoblock print in the tradition of fine art relief printmaking creating a template to follow for carving.I photocopy the initial drawing and ink in the black areas which allows me a guide to follow for carving out the white areas. I used to bot do this & found I often made mistakes in the carving which meant re-starting the carving of a whole new lino block! So this way I have a guide, not to say that I don’t vary this as I go – sometimes I will rework areas by drawing on the lino block itself. Some of my long term followers may remember my initial false start of this design a few years ago about the time my shoulder was playing up & making carving difficult. The less said about that the better – let’s just say even with the template mistakes still happen!!

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The image from the template is transferred in reverse to the lino block for carving using carbon paper.

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A view from my srawing/carving/painting board out to the native banksias outside my studio window.

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I use a swivel table set at just the right height, strong lamp, specific reading glasses for close work & very sharp lino tools for the carving the lino block.

Australian Floral Emblems 2014 Linoblock

The completed fully carved linoblock!

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A roller is used to ink up a glass plate and then roll over the lino block to transfer the ink. It is important to get an even thin layer of ink to transfer the image to the paper.

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This is the lino block fully inked & ready to print. The more even & carefully applied the ink is to the block the better quality print you will achieve. Note that the design is carved in mirror reverse so that when it is inked and the paper placed on it fro the print it reverses and comes out the right way!! This is particularly important if you are using type or writing within your printmaking!!!

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The paper is placed on top of the lino block and a felt is placed over that to help distribute the weight of the press evenly & not damage the paper & lino block in the process. I use a small wind down book press which lowers a heavy plate onto the block.

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This is the very first print from the carved lino block. It is instantly gratifying to pull a lovely print the very first time. Sometimes the stars align!! But often they don’t! It may take numerous attempts before you get a good quality even print or edition.

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This is the first ‘working proof print’ that has some imperfections in the printing. I use this to work on the first handpainting.

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I use oil based ink for the printing & watercolours for the handcolouring. It is the old adage of ‘oil repels water’ so the watercolour is mostly contained within the oil printing. Although sometimes there will be the need to come back & remove some of the more opaque colours that may run onto the oil printed sections but it comes off easily without taking off the printed areas.

I have also made a little video which focuses on the handpainting of this linocut this time.

– Australian Floral Emblems 2014

Australian Floral Emblems 2014 – A Fine Art Linocut

Creating a Linocut Series or Collection

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I was asked a little while ago about my the ‘series’ or ‘collections’ of works that I like to create, which got me thinking more about why I like working this way. My main motivation at face value was pretty simple – I like to create several smaller works that can be hung or presented together so they can be seen individually or as part of a larger multi-work artwork but I think there is perhaps a little more to it than that simple explanation.

When I was beginning my exploration of the linocut/relief printing medium for my artwork I was very conscious of what I see as the strong influence of Margaret Preston in the medium of linocut/woodcut & wildflowers. She created a vision for linocuts & wildflowers which has had a profound impact & influence on many artists working in the medium of linocuts. Many linocut artists have continued to work within the influence of still-life or wildflowers in vases but I made a conscious choice to not take this path. So I deliberately put away any images I had of Margaret Preston’s work, and in fact any images of other linocut artists particularly those who used Wildflowers as their subject matter. I wanted to explore & develop my own vision. I have a deep love of wildflowers in particular & they are my passion within my artwork. I love to explore not only the endless variety of Australian flora but also explore different ways two represent them within my artwork.

I have always worked hard at my drawing skills which underpins my linocuts, and I made a deliberate decision to study drawing alongside watercolours with some traditional water colourists.

*Drawing Images-WARATAH 2 ILLUSTRATION 1 WEB

I spent a few years attending workshops including with the wonderful artist & teacher Tom Offord. He was a regular tutor at the Grafton Artsfest & I attended several of his workshops, alongside other tutors – Jenny Macnaughton (watercolours), Jocelyn Maughan (drawing), Robin Norling (drawing) & Gillian Scott (botanical art). I wanted to develop & refine not just my own vision as an artist but also my skills base particularly in drawing & working with watercolours. It is interesting that watercolours was never taught at my art college back on the 1980’s & was frowned upon as ‘too traditional’ which is a great shame. I have however used the skills I gained with watercolour classes & workshops within the handpainting of my linocuts and within my drawing/illustration work.

WILDLIFE ILLUSTRATION Tawny Frogmouth 2

I find I like to at times set myself a challenge within my arts practice – to work within a particular ‘frame’ or design/layout for a particular work or set/collection of works. I often explore what I think of as ‘windows’ – windows both of design & vision for exploring & representing wildflowers in particular. So I create these ‘frames’ and then set a challenge to explore how I can capture some essential essence of the wildflower (or wildlife) within that frame for window.

Wildflower Squares Set LArger file

I push the parameters of the actual frames so that the wildflower is both contained & breaks out of the ‘frames, you can see above. An example of pushing the image beyond the frames can be seen in these two rainforest images of a Golden Penda and Firewheel Tree.

Australian Wildflower Rainforest - Golden Penda-Firewheel

I also use ‘series’ of prints to create images for my wildflowers cards.

Classic Wildflowers Set of 4 WEB

In some of my new work which I hope to move into in 2014, I am pushing some of the limits of these frames & my passion for wildflowers into new areas of visual exploration.

Gymea Lily Wildflowers – A new Linocut

The Gymea Lily is an iconic Sydney wildflower and was a favourite of mine when I roamed around the bushland of Loftus growing up. The tall flower spike with the deep pinkish/red flower spike was a like a beacon and provided a great reference point when exploring. The flower spike is now used by florists and is a dramatic addition to large spectacular arrangements.

Now that I live in Northern NSW a common sight is the ‘sister’ to the Gymea Lily – Doryanthes excelsa – it is the Spear Lily – Doryanthes palmeriwhich I grow in my garden.

The Gymea Lily is on the left & the Spear Lily on the right.

Gymea Lily & spear Lily

I have used the tall spectacular Gymea Lily flowers spike as the central focus of this work and added wildlfowers from around Australia.

Included are – the NSW Waratah, Flannel Flowers & Wax Flowers,  the Western Australian emblem – Mangles Kangaroo Paw, Firewood Banksia, Geraldton Wax, the Hybrid Eucalyptus ‘Summer Beauty’ and the Australian Floral Emblem – Golden Wattle – Acacia pycnantha.

Gymea Lily Wildflowers

GYMEA LILY WILDFLOWERS WEB

This design has been in the making since 2009!! I had started it & then got sidetracked with a busy schedule with family and it was something that I had always wanted to complete.

I have a number of projects that have been long term like this one which I am slowly working through & finalising alongside plenty of more new ideas!

Some of the ‘old but new’ work I will be working through in the next couple of months including some more contemporary work which is lovely to be developing finally!

This work will be part of my February exhibition at the Northern Rivers community Gallery in Ballina.