Thursday, 25 October 2012

Mulling it over

So here is my print of Fidden Bay, with extra sheep!

I am very pleased with it. The break seems to have done me good. I was delighted to be back up at the printmakers with the smell of the ink and the roar of the presses! (well not so much roar as creaks and groans). Once I started the print I was kicking myself for staying away so long. As I was a bit nervous about losing my printing mojo I really took my time over the layers and cutting, hopefully it shows.

 First cut I used a brown on the bottom half to pick out the sheep and a pale blue on the sky. I cut out the right hand part of the sea to try and catch the dazzling sparkle you get on the scottish sea.

Next I layered some light green on the foreground and another pale blue on the sky. Previously i have really struggled with sky. Relief printing can be unforgiving when attempting subtlety however I was pleased with this effect, it looks harsher in the above picture than it is.
At this point I was really pleased with my wee sheep emerging in the foreground.

Next came the dark blue of the sea, I decided to use the blue on the foreground to give the next layer depth and to highlight the grass. If you look closely you will also see I had a bit of the mid-print crisis and added some ill-advised teasels and other flora to the foreground. Fortunately I came to my senses and changed it.

Choosing a green when doing a Scottish landscape is tricky, too green and it can look lurid but Mull really is that green. I think the dark blue underneath saved the green from its greenness. I used a grey to pick out the rocks.

To be honest at this point I considered just leaving it
but the rocks on the near beach were blending unhappily with the more distant bay.

The dark brown gives a sense of distance and recession and of course the wee sheep benefited too!

Baby needs a new pair of shoes (or bathroom in this case)

So it has been an age since I last blogged. I had a opportunity to do some contract work at the start of the year and the lure of hard cash was hard to refuse. And I could keep printing I assured myself. I didn't keep printing of course and, nice as my new bathroom is, I really missed printmaking. The contract was followed by school holidays during which I had a thoroughly nice time but again did not print.

Happily, rolling around Scotland and France in the campervan was an inspiration to get sketching. While the rest of Britain mopped around in the rain this summer NW Scotland was rather sunny and even drought stricken in places.

We went back to Cambusdarach  which is just paradise. Admittedly it did start to rain in the middle of this sketch .

Most of my sketches are in pastel or watercolour but I get fed up with carting loads of stuff round and inevitably not using it due to the faff factor. Inspired by Grayson Perry I invested in some brush style felt tips. They are light and easy to use on the move.

Here is a sketch of Cheverny, or as it is known in my house Captain Haddocks house.

I love the speed and also the limited colours force me to be ruthless and give a better defined sketch. Here is a less successful sketch of Honfleur (in my defence it started to rain again)

Anyway back to printmaking! At the end of the summer we visited Mull and stayed at Fidden Bay

I played with the idea of doing a stark rocks on the beach style print and sketched the rocks over and over again. The rocks print may happen later but I decided on a long landscape. I really wanted to create an image that captured the Ross of Mull. So sea, rocks, sky and of course sheep.