Carvings – Grevillea Imagining

A series of photographs from Instagram of the progression of carving the Grevillea imaginings lincout. It is quite a fine design with small parts so is by it’s nature slow & fiddly. I have however been struggling with chronic pain issues & life interfering with art!

It is progressing though & I am now in the final stages of cleaning up all those tine little edges. I am also on a deadline for this work so I need to get moving to printing & painting.

Handy Hint: One thing I have recently discovered, why I did not know nor think about it earlier I don’t know! I have put a small piece of non slip mat under the lino block whilst carving. Previously I have always butted one edge up against the carving board but often find I use my left hand/arm as an alternative for carving round different angles when this does not work. The non stick mat has made this much easier & taken a strain off my arm & shoulder which has made tings a lot easier!

 

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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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?

93 Flannel Flower tryptich

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.

Waratah Tryptich DEsign 2 Waratah Tryptich DEsign 3

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.

Waratah Tryptich DEsign 5

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

Waratah Tryptich DEsign Transfer 2 Waratah Tryptich DEsign Transfer 1

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

Stunning Firewheel Tree

Firewheel Tree

Firewheel Tree

Well I must say that this years flowering of my Firewheel Tree – stenocarpus sinuatus – is absolutely stunning.

I planted this tree when we moved into our house about 21 years ago and although I have had an ever increasing amount of flowers, this years display is beyond anything previous.

Maybe it is the amount of rain we have had or maybe it is just that it has finally reached a fully flowering stage.

Anyway it has outdone itself!

As you can see from this photo on the left the flowers are hidden in amongst the deep glossy green leaves of the tree rather then the showy display of the Ivory Curl Flower where the flowers dominate the whole tree. My ivory Curl Flower Tree is also flowering at the moment and as usual is spectacular.

Don’t be fooled, hidden in amongst these deep glossy green leaves a quite spectacular display is taking place.

The ‘Fire wheels’ are quite well named. The red flowers begin a pinky/orange shade and gradually deepen to the rich deep red as the wheels slowly open.

The young flowers resembles wheels held on stems out from the limbs of the trees.

 

These ‘wheels’ slowly crack open and reveal a yellow style shown below.

From this point on the wheel begins to open up.

 

When the ‘wheels’ finally split open they look like this … deep red spidery flowers with yellow orbs on the ends.

Even the bark is interesting.

 

Australian Wildflower Panels Firewheels

Australian Wildflower Panels Firewheels

 

 

Tawny Expressions – Linoblocks – Linocuts

tawny-expressions-linoblocksI have finally finished carving the linoleum blocks for the “Tawny Expressions” linocut print. They are smaller blocks but a lot of smaller complex carving with the No 1 blade so fiddly and time consuming. Carving larger expanses of open “white” space is far quicker and a bit more dramatic really.

So here they all are!

If you look at the edges around the carved designs you will see I haven’t as yet trimmed the blocks back. A good tip for carving is to leave a small edge that can be cut back with a knife when you have finished carving. As linoluem is a softer material it is easy to chip off an edge or even wear a corner off whilst carving. So if what you are looking for in a design is a nice even neat edge (well as best you can get given the pliable nature of the lino) then it is a good idea to leave a little around the edge of the design to cut back just before printing.

It has been extremely wet in our little corner of the world for a few weeks  now so I will wait until it dries out a bit before printing them…in the meantime I am carving the Emu as well as continuing with finalising the alphabet designs.

Currently on the linocut carving board…

On the carving board I currently have 4 new ‘design art’ linocuts.

I have had these designs ready to carve for months now – just haven’t got to them but I have now started carving I promise!

There is a mistletoe, native rhododendron, hakea and grevillea.