Tuesday 27 May 2014

Scenes from an Exhibition

The Lit&Phil, Newcastle upon Tyne, 21 May - 11 June 2014

It takes longer than you think to put on an exhibition!

First, there's the planning.....

How to tie your brain in knots trying to visualise the space and how the work will fit into it!

Then there's the framing....
The exhibition is in the main reading room of the beautiful Lit&Phil library, so boards are needed to hang the work.

 Re-painting some.....
..... and checking out the hanging system for the others.
Then the time has come to get some order into the chaos, trying out the hanging order to get an idea of how the images will work with each other - bit of a squeeze in the available space in the studio!
Positions decided, so just got to wrap everything up ready to load into the van - and type up lists of work, labels, prepare prints for the browsers, sort out material for the display cases and make information panels. Then unload, carry everything up the lovely stone staircase into the library, install it and label everything. Easy really!!
So why not come along and join Thomas Bewick any time during The Lit&Phil opening hours and see how it all worked out! He seems to be enjoying it - hasn't moved for a week!!

Saturday 5 April 2014

And Finally - Edinburgh, the end of the beginning!

So - eventually - back to my second sojourn in Edinburgh in January. It seems a long time ago now as we rush through April and summertime is officially here - although not in the North East where it seems more like November at the moment!

Tuesday morning and another pleasant train journey along the Northumberland coast delivered me to Waverley Station in time to arrive at Edinburgh Printmakers for the afternoon session.

My first job was to create an acetate for a second colour on the Cuillin image.

I transfer this to the clean stone, process it, roll it up with black and leave it to rest overnight. Time flies when you're having fun!

Wednesday morning and another acetate - this one for the second colour on the Ama Dablam image. It's such a good process this - just like making monotypes but with the option to produce more than one print! Again I transfer it to the other clean stone, process it and leave it to rest.

Meanwhile I mix up a colour blend of dark blue and purple ink and use it to roll up and proof the Cullin stone. I'm so pleased with the resulting image, which has a lovely graphic quality, that I decide to print a separate edition of it.

Finally get round to adding this colour layer to the Cuillin image!

A short tea break, then clear the decks and prepare to print the Ama Dablam acetate transfer. 

I mix a deep, purplish blue, proof the stone and print the second colour layer. I like the strong contrast this makes with the first blue - it makes me think of moonlight on the mountain so I carry on and complete the edition.

By now, I'm well into the evening session - it's turned into quite a marathon today - so I call it a day (and a half!) and head off to the chip shop round the corner for my supper.

I start Thursday's session chemically cleaning the Cuillin stone to prepare it for another colour layer. While it's drying I create another acetate, then transfer it to the stone and process it. While it rests, I mix a rusty 'bracken' colour. After a break for coffee I proof the stone and print the third colour layer. I decide to add this to half the edition and retain the rest as a two-colour print.

The time has come to take a proper break so it's off to Broughton Street and The Bakehouse in search of a late lunch before tackling the cleaning up.

Then off to Waverley with a satisfactory hoard of new prints to take back to Northumberland. An enforced break will keep me from EP for a while, but come the spring, I will be back!

Sunday 23 February 2014

New Year 2014 - at Edinburgh Printmakers

With New Year celebrations out of the way, I headed back to Edinburgh Printmakers again with high hopes of making some new stones using the maniere-noire and acetate transfer techniques I learnt back in December. I planned to spend three days working in the studio this time.

I wanted make some deletions to my Cuillin stone - the first one I made - to lighten some areas, then add some colour layers to the image using acetate transfers. I had an image of Ama Dablam in the Khumbu in mind for a new stone.

After a lovely sunny journey on the train with its views of the magnificent Northumberland coast, I arrived at EP around lunchtime and set to work. The process of grinding the stones meant that I ended up with a second clean stone with my name on it - so that meant I could use my reserve image of the Cadini di Misurina to make a third lithograph - and all in three days! I thought Alastair seemed a bit bemused by my ambition!

I made some deletions on the Cuillin stone, lightening up areas using a pumice stick then processed the stone with two gum etches, rolling it up with black ink to protect the image overnight.

Next I prepared the new stone with black ink ready to make the maniere-noire drawing of Ama Dablam. By now it was 7 30pm and far too late to start drawing. I had forgotten how long it takes to process the stones at each stage!


Day 2 - and time to make the drawing of Ama Dablam. Again I used a razor blade and some white spirit and rag, then processed the stone with two gum etches (see 4 December blog), rolled it up with black ink and left it to rest.

Meanwhile I cleaned off the Cuillin stone and rolled it up with a deep blue ink. After proofing it, I printed a run of 12. The adjusted image is now lighter in places so the colour layers should be more effective.

No time left today for anything else but cleaning up! And then off to meet a friend for an early dinner at L’Escargot Bleu.


Day 3 - time to find out how the new Ama Dablam image works! I mixed up a good bright blue, adding some extender to make it more translucent. Having cleaned off the roll up black from yesterday, I rolled up the stone with blue and proofed it.

A good colour, so I printed a run of 12.

 The rest of the session was taken up with re-grinding the Cuillin and Ama Dablam stones to prepare them for my next visit. - yes, I would need to return the following week to add more layers of colour! In three days of intense concentration, I had only managed to produce editions of two single colour images!