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.

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

Blue Mountains Wildflowers – Creating A FIne Art Linocut Video

Seaside Wildflowers – Creating A FIne Art Linocut Video

Music – ‘The Temperature of the Air on the Bow of the Kaleetan’

by Chris Zabriskie

Used with Permission

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/und…
http://chriszabriskie.com/

Waratahs! Waratahs! Waratahs! – Waratah Tryptich – A Fine Art Linocut

Waratah Tryptich Fine Art LinocutWell anyone who has followed me on this blog for a while will know I LOVE Waratahs.

*Drawing Images-WARATAH 2 ILLUSTRATION 1 WEB

There is such a majesty & structural quality to these particular Australian wildflowers not withstanding their bright red colouring with deep green leaves & the fact the flowers occur on long stems coming up from the ground. They really can be ‘seen from afar’ as their name means.

Waratahs 41. Waratah

For a while now I have planned to do a Tryptich design using waratahs as a kind of companion print for my Flannel Flower Tryptich. This particular print was a commission for someone as a gift for his wife’s birthday. Did I mention I also LOVE flannel flowers too?

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Last year after my shoulder surgery I found it really difficult to work at all for a few months which was most frustrating! I knew I had to slowly get back so I started with thinking through ideas for new designs & taking some photos.

Eventually I was able to at least draw so one of the first artworks I started on was my Waratah Triptych.

I already knew I wanted to make it into a triptych & I had taken some photos pf both red and white waratahs over the years so decided to incorporate both into this design.

WHITE WARATAH WEB

I worked as I usually do. First with the framework for the design, then trawling through the hundreds of images I have of waratahs and finding suitable ones for this particular artwork. This process is interesting for me as I gradually reduce the amount of images I want to work with so I refine the vision I have for this work. I ask questions like – is my point of view from below or above? do I want to abstract any of the images or stay more true to for? How simple do I want the work to be visually? How much black do I want to incorporate? DO I really want to keep the defining structure I started with or would I prefer to break out and change it a little? or a lot?

Eventually I end up with a series of images which I will use as the basis of the work. I then start the drawing.

SKETCHBOOK - Flannel Flower & Waratah Trytiches WEB

Drawing is a process I love and have always loved. I feel that all artists no matter their medium of choice a strong skill base in drawing will always hold them in good stead. It teaches you to look more closely and especially in my case where I like the get the wildflowers I use botanically correct. Even if in the carving of the wildflowers compromise is made as to how they are depicted due to the process of carving lino, I know that they have started as botanically correct.

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These are the final drawings of the three panels of the triptych.

SKETCHBOOK & DRAWINGS - Waratah Trytich WEB

When it comes to working the drawings into designs that can be carved I again work through creating black and white inked versions. This refines my designs and allows me to experiment with what I think I may be able to carve. These days after having to have shoulder surgery, I really value the ability to still be able to carve my linocuts so I guess for me if I have a clear template of what I want to carve it means I will hopefully will be able to a long time into the future.

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I then transfer these final designs onto the lino ready to carve.

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I must say after initially deciding to start small when starting back carving I just could not resist getting stuck into these three larger panels! It was weeks of carving and I must say did challenge my shoulder’s capacity to comply & caused a bit of pain. But I do have the most wonderful masseuse and physiotherapist who both help keep me on the straight and narrow & take away the pain!

And to printing!

For this particular design I decided to just do a colour rough using photoshop just to get an idea of the balance of the colour before handcolouring.

Waratah Tryptich - Colour Photoshop

Finally I get to print the designs and then handcolour them! Finally I get to see the original concept from a few years ago actually come to fruition. I am really pleased with the results.

Waratah Tryptich SCAN WEB

Seaside Wildflowers – The Development of a new Fine Art Linocut

Lynette Weir - Seaside Wildflowers - Oct 2013 WEB

SEASIDE WILDFLOWERS – CREATING A FINE ART LINOCUT

The centrepiece artwork for my new exhibition at the Northern Rivers Art Gallery is a new linocut – Seaside Wildflowers.
Back in February I was approached by the Northern Rivers Art Gallery Director Ingrid Hedgcock, to exhibit alongside an exhibition of the Master Woods Craftsman & his students. For me it came at a time when recently becoming an ’empty nester’ & my shoulder was looking like it was going to recover after surgery & allow me to work – carve – again. It was also when I really need to get my arts practice back on track after a few years of life being too hectic to gain a consistent approach to my work.

I made the decision that I would work on finally completing many works I had been developing over many years as well as creating the centrepiece for the exhibition a work based around the Wildflowers synonymous with Ballina.
I will talk more about the other works in the exhibition in future posts but will start with the Seaside Wildflowers & where it all began.

In the process of creating this work I took some video footage & sill photographs with the idea of creating an education video showing my process from the inspiration through to the completion of the artwork.
I have always loved the seaside – the beach, the rock formations, the sea, the wildlife & of course the Wildflowers or flora. Even though I grew up in Sydney we spent every holidays by the sea at my grandparents in Yamba. Woody Head was another favourite place where my great uncle & Aunt lived, it is a truly beautiful natural place. We also spent a lot of time over where I now live on the ‘plateau’ region behind Ballina with my other grandparents – not that far from the seaside. As kids we would spend many hours going to the beach but also exploring the surrounding landscapes. So I know this region really well.


I start this particular genre of my work with research – some of this is ‘formal’ – flora studies of regions, plant identification lists but also I go & spend some time wherever possible wandering around the region taking photos. I like to see the flora/Wildflowers I am going to be drawing & document that in my own photos. By taking my own photos it also give me the opportunity to explore the process of visualising each wildflower or plant & how & where that might be represented within the initial concept of the artwork exploring different images of the particular plant. I look at things like the structure, colour & overall impression of each.
As I have talked about before, my work starts with ‘flashes’ of ideas scribbled into small sketchbooks, on post it notes or on scraps of paper.

For Seaside Wildflowers it began as a quick sketch on a post it note which I have now stuck into one of my small sketchbooks with additional notes & ideas. For this artwork I have drawn on the flora lists of the region, the council guides for flora in the Ballina Shire, books of flora of the region, my own explorations of the Ballina seaside region, my own photographs of specific species & finally my memories of childhood holidays alongside living in this region for over 20 years.
One of my abiding memories of the flora or Wildflowers of this area is the stunning Pandanus – Pandanus tectorius or Screwpine.

These strong ‘structural’ small trees are integral to my childhood memories & they are such a strong presence along the seaside of this region. The fruit which starts as a small green ‘ball-like’ structure & slowly moves to yellow tones & finally a vibrant orange colour is the aspect most people would recognise. For me the depiction of the pandanus would need to include the fruit. Less obvious for many people are the flowers – many would not be aware of the flowers. So I made the decision to make the ‘wildflower’ front & centre for this piece. The flower starts as cream bracts inside which the flower heads develop but the slowly the whole long spike of flowers emerge with the female flowers ending in long spikes of cream flowers & bracts.


The long strap like leaves emerge in a spiral from a central point & form a cluster on the end of the rather tortuous trunk & limbs. I think the pandanus reflects the very nature of growing by the season it’s tough ‘wildness’ & so it was for me to become the pivotal image for this artwork.


I started with many possible flora species I could incorporate into the piece, more than I could actually use & so this is where after setting out the pandanus I explore the size, structure, colours etc of all the possibilities. I see this is the fine art aspect of developing my Linocuts – this is where my training, skill & inspiration as an artist rather than a craftsperson comes into being. I bring my drawing & compositional skills to this process & it can be both the most frustrating as well as enjoyable part of the developing of my artwork.
Once I finish the detailed drawing I work through further developing this drawing into a form that can be carved in Lino which is my chosen medium for this piece.

For me this involves inking the design into shape & spaces.

11 Seaside Wildflowers - TEMPLATE FINAL 1

I then carve this into Lino to be printed. For me these two further processes again involve choices & changes in the translations from drawing to final artwork.


Once the Lino is finished being carved I then print it in black ink & handcolour with watercolour the final artwork.

The hand colouring is not simply a ‘fill in the spaces’ it involves again skill & training in watercolour as a medium including colour, contrast, tone etc alongside the application of the paint.


I have taken some video footage of the processes which is a quick look at the whole process and it is now on youtube.

Music – ‘The Temperature of the Air on the Bow of the Kaleetan’

by Chris Zabriskie

Used with Permission

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/und…
http://chriszabriskie.com/