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!

 

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?

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

The process of developing my Australian Wildflower & Wildlife Alphabets

Australian Alphabets - Linocut WEB

Over 10 years ago I worked on an Australia Fauna Alphabet but over the years my artwork, style & designs have developed & so a few years ago I decided to revisit the idea of producing a new Australian Wildlife Alphabet.

Alongside this I wanted to also develop an Australian Wildflower Alphabet.

When I produced the original alphabet & exhibited it I had a lot of feedback about how it would be great for posters or friezes.

Australian Fauna Alphabet

My artwork has always had a focus on Australian wildflowers & wildlife – growing up in Sydney surrounded by the bush was a defining aspect of my life & it is my love of the bushland – both its flora & fauna – that has underpinned my artwork. I have always been drawn to exploring representations of wildflowers & wildlife whether that be drawings, illustration, photography or relief printing all my life. I love to draw others into this world through my artwork to explore the colour & vibrancy of the natural world that surrounds us in Australia.

So about 5 years ago I started to develop these projects, starting in my usual way of working – the idea/concept with small thumbnail sketches of ideas.

DESIGN CONCEPTS DRAWINGS PHOTOS WILDFLOWERS ALPHABETS 3 WEB

I am constantly taking photos & although I have always loved photography – recording events, including family – but I also underpin all my artwork with my photography. I like to look at everything that I draw & to take photos that capture all different aspects including not only the ‘structures’ of the objects/wildflower etc, but also light, colour & design possibilities. I have thousands of photos both digital & printed – and filed!

This image incorporates kind of how I think in this phase of working from the idea into more concrete images.

Photos, sketches, notes contribute to working through all my different ideas.

I have lots of these small sketchbooks – I usually carry one with me so if I get an idea for something I can quickly note it down.

DESIGN CONCEPTS DRAWINGS PHOTOS WILDLIFE ALPHABETS WEB

I began my first designs with the wildlife alphabet & explored ways to represent both the particular species & the alphabet.

I finally settled on the underlying idea of rather than using the actual letter, I would take the basic shape of the letter & explore how I could represent the particular species around this construct. I also made the decision to create 26 individual 10cm x 10cm printed images with both a header & a footer.

The next step was to look at each ‘letter’ & particular species that could be used. Sometimes I would work on a couple of different drawings for a letter & some like these caterpillars never made it to the final artwork but who knows where or if they will be revisited for something later.

AUS ALPHABET CATERPILLAR DRAWINGS WEB

I really enjoy this phase of experimenting with ideas & concepts & just the process of drawing is always lovely.

In choosing which images I would use I needed to look at not only the individual designs but also the whole end product – trying to get a cross-section of birds, insects, mammals, marsupials etc alongside colour & design considerations.

Once I had the basic drawings & designs worked out I again inked in each ‘letter’ & looked at the alphabet as a whole. Again changes in individual designs as well as the overall piece as a whole was worked on & developed.

Here are a couple of quick ‘timelines’ showing the evolution of the Hercules Moth & the Echidna.

AUS ALPHABET HERCULES EVOLUTION WEB

AUS ALPHABET ECHIDNAEVOLUTION WEB

Then to the carving, printing & finally the handcolouring.

For the Australian Wildflower Alphabet – I decided to simply represent each wildflower within the 10cm x 10cm format I had chosen rather than use the alphabet lettering shapes I had started with for the wildlife.

In between all of this I have been a Carer for my elderly family members & my sons for about the past 10 years in particular, but at the beginning of this year we became ’empty nesters’ which meant I had a lot more time to actually spend getting back to my artwork!

Over this time I had also developed real difficulties with my shoulder/neck that was significantly impacting my capacity to not only carve Lino but to work generally. In July 2012 I finally had shoulder surgery & set about the slow & steady recovery.

When I was invited by Ingrid Hedgcock to exhibit at the Northern Rivers Community Gallery early this year, it provided the impetus to not only restart my arts practice which had been limping along for the last few years, but to finally complete some of the projects I have had on the very slow burn. This included this long-standing project of the set of Australian Alphabets.

Although I had completed all the individual linocuts for these posters some time ago, I had become stuck on how to develop these onto a poster format & to find funding to actually complete the project.

A few months ago I approached awesome Artist/Printmaker/Designer Joanna Kambourian of Ms Browns Lounge & Lismore Arts Space to work with the design of the poster.

After discussing a couple of different ideas that I was thinking about – you can see a couple of these below, Joanna worked on the final concept design & completed all the pre-press work for production printers.

Australian Wildlife Alphabet EVOLUTION WEB

Then to find a trade printer to commercially produce the posters.

Joanna recommended CJKing Printers who are based in Perth & on the Gold Coast – not far from where I live. I made the decision to use a heavier weight paper that could still be rolled (& springs back to flat) but which I could also get gloss celloglazed.

CJKing have been great to deal with they have produced a rich gloss quality poster that I am just so pleased with.

These posters retail for $20 plus $6.95 for postage in a mail tube (postage includes up to 5 posters in one mail tube) and can be ordered from my website by clicking here – or click on the images below.

They would make a lovely Christmas present (shameful plug :)).

SOULSONG - Lynette Weir - Australian Wildflower Alphabet WEB

SOULSONG - Lynette Weir - Australian Wildlife Alphabet WEB

Wildflower Blue Mountains Linocut Carving 2

Well I have been steadily working on the linocut carving. Took a break for a day yesterday but back at it today.

Started with the final central waratah that needed carving. I have already carved the outline with a final linocut carving tool to start. I then use a v or u gouge tool to take out the centre of each of the sections outline. The carved out parts create the white spaces of the work which I can then handcolour of I choose to.

Blue Mtns Wildflowers 11

I usually always turn the carving upside down or sideways to check the edges of the carving to make sure I have carved nice clean & neat lines so when printed I get a cleanย  finish to the edges of the design. You can see some of the areas that need to be cleaned up if you look closely.

Blue Mtns Wildflowers 12

I am not the best at getting exact measurements so I took over an hour to make sure I had the panels in this piece as evenly mirror reversed as possible.

Blue Mtns Wildflowers 13

I tend to get a bit freaked out at this point. I measure carefully but lino does not always cut straight up as it, unlike wood, has some flexibility in it. So I took my time and went slowly as possible to carefully cut these lines. I want the panel structure of this design to be as straight and even as possible to get the Deco Art influence and the mirror from that era reflected in the design as closely as possible.

Blue Mtns Wildflowers 14

So finally the six lines are carefully finished. This particular design has stepped in panels so I need to cut different lines to create the edge of the work.

Blue Mtns Wildflowers 2

I start be cutting a the edge of the work with a sharp blade (Stanley Knife) slicing several times to created a deeper cut. I then VERY carefully crack the rest of the lino. If you have carving up to the edge you need to do this VERY carefully. If you do not take things slowly you are likely to split the lino in the wrong place.

Blue Mtns Wildflowers 3

I then turn over the lino block and carefully slit the hessian backing and remove the piece of lino.

Blue Mtns Wildflowers 4 Blue Mtns Wildflowers 5

This process makes creating the edges easier but tends to leave them a bit rough and they need to be cleaned up.

Blue Mtns Wildflowers 6

In my new linocut tools there is a lovely large flat blade which is perfect for running along the edges to clean them up.Did I mention I love my new linocutting tools. Mainly because they are so sharp and easy to use making it much easier on my shoulder for carving. They also help me achieve the image that I am looking for. The tools are simply a way to create the design in the lino, it is the final image that is the artwork. I do not see them any different to using brushes, computers, screens, knives, chisels or anything else an artist may use in order to create the final work of art. This is the set of tools I now have. My family bought them for me for Christmas and they make my life so much easier.

Pfeil Lino Cutting Tools

But for making a neat edge you can also use a sharp blade or a stanley knife.

Blue Mtns Wildflowers 7

here is the cleaned up edge which means the final print artwork edges will be nice and clean as well.

Blue Mtns Wildflowers 8

And FINALLY! The finished lino block ready for printing.

Blue Mtns Wildflowers 10 CARVING FINAL

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.

 

 

I’m officially in love …. with my new linocutting tools!

I have been struggling on with my old speedball linocut tools for many years. Dutifully sharpening them but recently it has been more and more difficult to keep the blades sharp and has made carving clean neat lines very difficult.

It is difficult sometimes living in country NSW, to get access to good information and art supplies. As for printmaking and linocut supplies they can be sparse and inconsistent across art supplies stores with many shops only stocking basic beginner tools. I have over the years come across different linocut tools that I have bought and tried but I never found any really comfortable to use.

Recently on my twitter feed I saw a short post by UK illustrator Nick Morley who specialises in the most amazing linocuts, referring to his ‘trusty Swiss gouges’. Intrigued I looked up ‘swiss linocut tools’ and found them – they are made by Pfeil.

Nick Morley also has a blog – Linocutboy.

So after a bit of searching I found them at Carbo-Tec and they were on sale! They come individually or in sets and they were on sale until 12pm Saturday – just in time I rang and they were duly shipped arriving this afternoon.

I bought 2 – the 0.5 and 1mm to trial, and am now sorry I did not agree to an early birthday/mother’s day gift for the full set. Will have to wait now until I can afford them.

They are lovely and sooo sharp, am so wanting the full set.

This particular linoblock design is part of a new series of ‘Wildflorals’ – Australian Wildflower inspired pattern designs. I will post more about the soon. They are quite complex linocut works requiring lots of small carving work. I carve generally quite deeply for the type of style I work in, so it is essential the tools I use are really sharp especially given the RSI issue I struggle with in my shoulder in particular.

I think linocut carving tools and what you ‘like’ to use can very subjective depending on the effect you want, the style you work in and even down to the size of your hands. So if you are looking for yourself you may find you like the larger flat handled carving tools, I like these types that fit into the palm of your hand with straight blades. But after just a couple of hours with these new carving tools I am very happy, so far so good.