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!!

IMG_0645

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

IMG_0674

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

IMG_0656

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!

IMG_5993

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.

IMG_5994

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!!!

IMG_6004

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.

IMG_5996

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.

IMG_6005

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

IMG_6101

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

Snapshots – Birds – New linocuts for 2014

I have just finished this set of 8 new linocuts – Snapshots Birds – my first for 2014! So things are off to a flying start – excuse the pun!

They are a series of small linocuts of birds based around some of my ‘snapshots’ or photographs of birds. I love taking photos, as you will know from this blog but I am not a very technical photographer & use the photos as resource material for my drawings and linocuts. So here is a little insight where I have taken my ‘snapshots’ of birds and developed them into drawings and then finally handpainted linocuts.

These will be available at my website and will be part of my return exhibition in Gallery 1 of the Northern Rivers Community Gallery in Ballina in February/March 2014.

Snapshot - Birds SET OF 8 - websmall

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

New Designs – Wildflowers Blue Mountains

I must apologise for such a big break between posts. One of my dearest family members became very ill and passed away so I have been away several times in the past few months helping out. It has been a very sad time for me but I also very much valued the final time I had with him & the time I have with others in the family.

I have an exhibition coming up in December so it is now a matter of working solidly to complete the final couple of designs, get the designs I have completed carved & printed, get the handcolouring completed on those prints ready for framing, get them framed & then organise cards/posters to be commercially printed. Phew!! Not much really!!

One of the new designs I have been working on includes Wildflowers from the Blue Mountains, just outside Sydney to the west. It is a beautiful area with mountains, gullies and stunning wildflowers and wildlife. I always loved visiting this area when I lived in Sydney and still do when I can get a chance.

This is an old photo taken by my Godmother probably in the 1960’s or 1970’s of the famous ‘Three Sisters’ at Echo Point, Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.

Blue Mtns 1

Blue Mtns Wildflowers Design 2Blue Mtns Wildflowers Design 1The area was very popular in the early 1900’s and many of the buildings and ‘the style’ of the buildings is from the Art Deco period. This is also one of my favourite periods of Australian art & architecture history so I decided to base this particular design using a familiar design ‘pattern’ of the time. In fact the concept for the development of this design came from an old mirror dating back to this time that had been my mother-in-law’s. I had just been scribbling a few ideas when I thought about this mirror which is in my studio. The silvering on the back needs repairing but I thought it was such a lovely old mirror with scalloped edges that I had put it away in my print studio until I can afford to do it up.

Blue Mtns Wildflowers Design 3From these initial ideas I then research and work through a species list of wildflowers from that area and go through my photo files to find out which species I actually have photos to work from.

As I work from my own photos for my designs it is important to me that I then go & find any missing species that I may need photos of to complete the design.

I will draw up a basic framework into which I will create the design. This may change & evolve as I work through what species I will use & how I arrange them.

For this particular design I decided for the first time to mirror reverse the side panels. It seemed to work much better to do this. Although I do know that in the carving process small variations will occur as it will be impossible to repeat exactly the design on both side due to the flexibility of the lino & just sheer human fallibility.

This is the final result of the designing. As you can see I have made notes about which species I have used within the design.

Blue Mtns Wildflowers Design 4

From here I then photocopy the design & ink in the black areas.

Blue Mtns Wildflowers Design 5

Until I have a final template to work on. This way I find I make far fewer mistakes in the carving as well as galvinising the design in the process of creating the black & white image I make adjustments as I go.

This is the final template. You can see some of the changes I make – this is particuarly evident in the Blue Mountains Gum leaves.

Blue Mtns Wildflowers Design 6

Then to the carving!

I started the carving of this a couple of months ago before I was called away and have spent the last week working on it.

These are a series of images of the carving process.

Almost done! I should be able to finish this carving tomorrow and then to printing!

I can’t wait to see the final design printed and handcoloured.

 

 

‘Postcards’ Designs – Designing Linocuts

I have been working on some new designs based around those old fashioned postcards from towns popular in the early last century, where there is the overlay of a drawing creating a ‘window’ with the photography of the place behind it. So the idea is to use a ‘picture frame’ of black and white ‘pattern’ with the hand coloured linocut tucked in behind it.

If you follow me on twitter – by clicking the follow button in the left margin or https://twitter.com/#!/LynWeir – you will have been updated as to the progress of the Banksias – Banksia menziesii – design.

Basically I started with a drawing.

Progress through using black felt marker pens and a white correction pen to create the finished design.

I work this way for several reasons:

1. I enjoy the process of pencil on paper drawing – many other linocut artists work directly onto the lino but I love drawing and so I choose to do all my initial designing using pencil and paper.

2. I like to see the design taking shape using black felt marker markers and white correction pens so I can resolve the many design issues first rather than on the lino.

3. I have difficulty currently with carving the lino (due to shoulder issues) and the thought of carving and having to re-carve because of mistakes is not appealing given the pain that I often have carving. I was warned a long time ago about carpel tunnel syndrome for woodcut/linocut artists and have managed to avoid this problem but did not anticipate a ‘worn out’ shoulder.

4. I like to develop the ‘template’ I can reference when carving so I make less ‘mistakes’ of carving the wrong area out!

Another method I sometime use when designing is to scan the final design or print and use photoshop to work around issues with design and colour. I used it for my ‘Regeneration’ linocut.

There is more information on this on my Linocut Tutorial website Handcolouring testing – ‘Regeneration’ – Waratahs Linocut Part 1 and Handcolouring testing – ‘Regeneration’ – Waratahs Linocut Part 2.

In this currrent ‘Postcards’ series I have developed 4 designs so far – Banksias, Waratahs, Lasiandras & Pendas and Sturt Desert Peas. I must say thankyou to Bronwen over at Snails Eye View for her tweet about Lasiandras & Pendas creating the inspiration of purple & yellow!

I am still deciding on 2 more so it will be a set of six. Here are the roughly photoshopped coloured designs ready for carving.

Autumn & Banksias

I love Autumn.

That change in the air from the humidity in Northern NSW to the ever so slight chill and ‘freshness’ of a new season. It is my favourite time of year with mild days of sunshine (and currently almost daily showers of rain in this 2012 Autumn) and the shorter days leading into winter. Although where I live winter is usually made of days generally between 18-24 degrees Celsius with the odd cold day of around 14, so it is hardly unbearable.

Autumn also is a season of flowering for many Banksias. Banksias are named after Sir Joseph Banks the intrepid naturalist who accompanied Captain James Cook on the HMS Endeavour in the 1768 – 71 and their journey and first contacts along the east coast of Australia, including the first exploration of Botany Bay with all its exciting, amazing new flora and fauna. I can imagine Sir Joseph gasping with delight at all these amazing and to his European eyes, weird and wonderful discoveries! The State Library of NSW has his original journal from this amazing journey and you can read it online here.

Above is the Coastal Banksia Banksia integrifolia – this is a common species on the east coast of Australia.

There are about 75 species of banksias with all but one endemic to Australia. These gorgeous cone-like architectural flowers come in many sizes, shapes and colours and are a major source of nectar for many of the native wildlife including birds, bees, and possums. In fact we have a little family of possums that live in and around our garden – most evenings you can hear their calls, and sometimes the screeching of their babies! I do wonder if they find our small collection of banksias (but I have planted more in recent months) – I know they have found the Davidson plums!

Above is the tightly woven ‘cone’ before it bursts forth – Banksia serrataSaw Banksia or Old Man Banksia.

Below is the open flower spike of the Banksia serrata.

Above is the spectacular local banksia – Banksia roburSwamp banksia with its brilliant large leaves. These flower spikes change colour the more open they become from green through pink to the final cream flowering.

The Australian Native Plants Society has some great information about Australian flora including banksias. One day I would love to visit Western Australia – I often check out airfares but this trip will have to wait a while yet, but when I go I definitely want to spend some time at the Banksia Farm.

The Western Australian Banksia coccineaScarlet Banksia or Waratah Banksia. This is one I bought from a florist – just gorgeous isn’t it?

So to this 2012 Autumn and banksias …

Banksia menziesii – Menzies’ banksia or Firewood Banksia is a beautiful Western Australian banksia that can grow up to 10m tall. The closest I can get to these amazing plants in the wild is at the local florist shop. Banksia menziesii is a striking wildflower used by florists.

I am currently working on drawings for new designs for greeting cards including a design using Banksia menziesii. I am using both photographs and the actual flowers as reference points for the designs.

New designs – currently on the carving table

Last year was a bit of a mix up year. I was involved in helping with helping care for my dear 95yr old Godmother over the last few years – she was a career nurse and in those days they weren’t allowed to be married, in fact she had been a Matron – second in charge at RPA Hospital in Sydney and in charge of Gloucester House for many years. So my brother and I were like her children and helped her cope with her difficult journey from independence to hostel care as best as we were able.

This is my favourite photo of us together that my son took – she passed away last September and was a dear heart, we used to have many laughs and much fun together. Aunty Lorna was one of the most elegant people I have ever met – always a ‘Lady’ and from an era and life where this was highly valued. She was always immaculately dressed and known for her beautiful scarves. She was kind and considerate but I would not have liked to have been a nurse under Matron Neems as she had a tough side that could make her point known quietly and with a withering glance and few words! As she would say, 95yrs is a ‘good innings’ and she was ready to go, but I do miss talking with her.

An annoying/frustrating/pain in the neck & shoulder – literally – meant I wasn’t able to do much carving. This has been an on-going problem that is now being diagnosed as bursitis – I am getting some different treatment – including clinical pilates (so helpful!) so I am hoping to be able manage it all better.

I did however get some designs drawn up and finalised ready to carve.

The first set are based around the format I used for the Tasmanian Christmas Bells design in 2010. I liked the ‘architectural quality of these wildflowers and so have based a set of new designs around what I call ‘Deco’ – the feeling of those tall elegant Art Deco patterns.

This series includes ‘Tea Tree‘, Crowea, Tasmanian Christmas Bells, Wattle 1, Correa, Pea, Wattle 2, Brisbane Lily, Bulbine Lily and Grevillea.

A second set on the carving table are a series of Square designs – a couple of which I managed to complete last year.

These include – Waterlily, Grevillea, Powderpuff Lilypily, Banksia 1, Waratah, Coastal Banksia, Eucalyptus, Bottlebrush and Flannel Flowers. SO far I have managed to finish carving the Powderpuff lilypily, Coastal Banksia and Flannel Flowers ready to print. However I am waiting on printing them until I get this shoulder a bit better under control to minimise further irritation.

Let me say it is all rather frustrating waiting to finish the carving and printing. I love carving the linocuts and miss it!

So for the next little while I am back drawing which I also love but there is nothing like seeing the final print inked up on paper and then handcoloured!