Monday, 11 October 2021

Dance of Death first proof


Tried this out on wallpaper, so the black is a bit salty but I'm happy with this arrangement of the 13 blocks. I just need to get some big sheets of decent smooth paper and I'm good to go.

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Iceberg revisited

I had the idea recently of printing all the “Dance of Death” postcards on to a single sheet. Now that I have the etching press this seems possible. But I felt that the “I am an Iceberg” print was weaker than the others – the arms just don’t work right. So I’ve decided to do another version for the portmanteau printing. 

I’ve gone for a more close-up and intimate death this time. Now I’ve got to work out how to fit all 13 together.

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Another Tea card: Venus/Aphrodite

I’ve got a wee plaster bust after the Venus de Milo that occasionally serves as a model for drawing. Very traditional. I thought I’d try one as a print – a kind of exercise in chiaroscuro. 

I find it useful to do these small things in between larger projects. It keeps my hand in with wielding the tools, and is a chance to try things out without risking a big bit of lino or paper.

Friday, 10 September 2021

21 Years of Warwickshire Open Studios

I shall be taking part in this exhibition at Rugby Art Gallery & Museum, starting next weekend (Saturday 18th – Thursday 30h September). It is one of a number of events across the county celebrating WOS’ 21st anniversary year. There will be a wide range of 2-D and 3-D work on show by 42 artists and makers, mainly from the Rugby area. 

The print I shall be showing is Arrangement: Flowers, Incense, Tank. From reading the list of exhibits, it looks like it’ll be the only still life in the exhibition. Though there are a couple of other flower pictures. It’ll be interesting to see how they manage to hang/arrange it all. 

Do pop in and check it out if you’re around.

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Sunflowers (Tea card)

This is the second print I did for the sustainability event again on scrap card from tea bag boxes. I did a few drawings of some of the sunflowers in the garden first thing in the morning and copied 3 of them on to a block. 

I did some cutting of the lino while I was there, but didn’t manage to finish on the day. So I’ve finished it off back at home. 

Sunflowers are magnificent. It’s not just a size thing, though that helps. They have that very human habit of moving from perfection to lumpy comfort to decay before your very eyes. And they do it so individually, too.

Saturday, 4 September 2021

It’s that (naked) woman again and some thoughts on one of the major problems of art

My wife persuaded me to do a bit of demonstrating at a local sustainability event. I decided to do something with a reuse vibe. Printing on some card from tea-bag boxes and other packaging. I’d also got some small off-cuts of lino that were the right sort of size (about 3”x 4.5”). 

And I reused the drawing, too. - revisiting the seated woman I’d used in this postcard and the Song of Solomon print with the fig

When I’m doing these things, I get transported to all kinds of places. This time I couldn’t help but think about something Tal R said about drawing people. The problems presented by eyes, nose, hands,,, and feets. Don’t talk about feets. 

I’ve noticed this in many of the great works of art I love. Look at Velásquez’ “Rokeby Venus” – see how he cleverly avoids having to do feet. Look at Manet’s Olympia – see how one foot is out of sight and the other is obscured by a handily dangling slipper. Titian in the Venus of Urbino has a go, but gets more tentative as he gets down the leg. I was surprised by a rather lovely lithograph by Lovis Corinth. His “Curtains of Solomon” illustration for the Song of Solomon has an expertly rendered woman finished off with a hastily scribbled pair of shoes. Even Schiele would prefer his models’ feet stockinged or in boots. Otherwise he hardly drew the feet at all. 

There are of course plenty of artists who can manage feet. Bronzino could do lovely feet. And Goya. His Naked Maja has beautiful, dainty feet. Though her breasts are strangely pneumatic – it’s as if the model had small breasts and Goya expanded them without reference to gravity. And Matisse. Matisse isn’t afraid of feet. Even an Odalisque who could be wearing silk slippers. Bare feet. Sometimes quite big feet. Farm girls' feet. He’s right, though. You just have to do it.

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Candle Dancers of Death

Totenkerzentänzerinnen?? With apologies to Emil Nolde. Not that he was much given to apologising himself. 

I always loved the energy of Nolde’s candle dancers. So when I wanted a dance of Death with a frenetic vibe, his painting/woodcut seemed the natural source. 

Last year when I began bringing Uncle Death into my work, especially the Trigger Warning series, I approached the subject with a sense of sadness. Almost an especial sadness for all those deaths overshadowed by the coronavirus hysteria, But now, I am more frightened of the world. Not frightened of disease, or death. More the collective madness that has overtaken us. An enthusiasm with sweeping everything away. It reminds me of the enthusiasm with which the youth of Europe marched off to war in 1914. 

So this. Not Uncle Death. More the Death Sisters, cutting abstract shapes before a miniature model of Hell.