Friday, January 31, 2014

Drypoint Trials with a Pig

I made another experimental drypoint on acetate, this time one of the pigs.

The thin acetate plate and the graver after inking

I made 6 prints and each one was different. Different inking affected the result most as I kept the pressure on the press the same.


This is a run through with quite dark ink


Paler, with more wiping away plus watercolour tinting

pig 2  bg 

Darker with watercolour tinting

Image 4.5 x 3 x75 inches

The main problem seems to be keeping my grubby fingerprints off the plate.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Devil and his Toenail. First try at an acetate Drypoint.

My first try at drypoint etching/engraving on plastic/acetate film. I am not talking about rigid perspex, just flexible acetate. I had not realised this was possible but my friend Sue has tried it and I was impressed.
In theory it’s easy, you just scratch into the surface of the plastic with something sharp, ink it up and print.

The Sketch

I am not quite finished with my exciting Grafham  fossils and wanted to try this technique with some of them. I had been going to try just the shell but thought I might add a devil in some way.


Image  4 inches square


My sketchbook notes, the plastic plate after printing and the needle.

I found it very difficult to see where I had made the marks on the plastic and have not found a way of making this easier. I also found the graver slipped at odd angles but I think that is just operator error and there are definite possibilities as and when I improve.

I needed several tries to get the inking and press pressure even remotely right


First acetate Drypoint … I quite liked it so have decided to make a small set to get some practice. There are possibilities!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I Found A Crinoid

On Monday I went to a different part of the reservoir just to see if I could find any other fossils. Within 5 minutes, in amongst the shore line shingle, I had found a tiny piece of a Crinoid Stem. On Sunday I had written about them over at P&L because I knew they could be found here but I was not really expecting to see one. I was amazed to find it. It is TINY and my eyesight not that good. I then spent the next two hours not finding much else.

crinoid-2  crionoid-stem-bg


I do like to see a thing,or have a thing, or even a bit of a thing, in my hand before I draw it. It’s to do with authenticity and understanding.
So I am delighted to have this and I can now give myself permission to make a crinoid print which will complete my planned four.


First proofs.


Block and print after second cut


Crinoid proof .. reduction lino 6” x 4”

More … yet more, to come!

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Making of Bertie

I wrote about this Belemnite over on Pencilandleaf. It is part of my fossil/print exploration. I try to give myself a new problem with each new print. This time it was backgrounds, rotating a print and transparency.

The Sketches

In the end I rotated the image to “swim” downwards. It needs to contrast with the soon-to-come crinoid.


bel sketch

Bertie On The Block ….

After the second reduction cut

There are endless combinations of plates, colours and densities of ink. All producing different results. That’s what is so seductive about printmaking. Here are a few trials and combinations.

The Prints

I had made three different possible background plates, fronds, wavy lines and a circle



The Belemnite was a 2 colour reduction lino plate.

Frond background and first belemnite printing.

Rotated print with thin ink film to achieve some transparency.

Circle background, first lino print was rotated and reprinted. Then second colour added.

With wavy background and two colours.

Berties on the Bench


more soon …

Friday, January 10, 2014

Ammonite:The Curious Snake Stone

Amongst my fossil finds on the reservoir shore this week was the fraction of an ammonite. Only a tiny piece but enough to justify an ammonite print.

I am rather fond of snakes so was dismayed to discover that ammonites were thought to be the remains of snakes, cursed and turned to stone by St Hilda. And then to add insult to injury they were subject to a beheading curse by St Cuthbert. All this to account for these curious curled and apparently headless things found in abundance near Whitby.

My information comes again from the Natural History Museum here.. as does this quote:

“William Camden in the book Britannia (1586) stated that, 'if you break them you find within stony serpents, wreathed up in circles, but eternally without heads'.”

Apparently to make them more saleable. heads were carved into the fossils. This is a current piece from the Whitby Jet Site where master carver Hal Redvers-Jones has added a jet head  to a fossil.. it is rather endearing.


Ammonites are such a beautiful shape. Maybe one day I will find a whole one!


The piece, the lino and design an a proof print.

am 1 bg

The ammonite with overprinted fronds . Lino print 4 x 6 “

I was wondering about adding some type so tried this.


I may think about a series, I am not sure a fossil ABC is feasible but might be interesting.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Gelatine and Lino Print Combo

Over at Beautiful Beasts this week I am looking at fossils. I started with the odd little Devils Toenail which we find in abundance here and decided to experiment with a combined lino and gelatine print. The fossils are found in clay banks and surrounded by bits of vegetation. I thought I might try to get a feel of the plants and twigs etc by printing a background for the lino on a gelatine plate.

I played with some gelatine printing last year, more as a way of recording leaf shapes than of making finished prints but it can have rather interesting layered look. I will write a longer post about the techniques of gelatine printing but making the plate is easy and basically you just roll the ink onto the plate or brush it on, add shapes etc. then start printing. The surface is slightly damp and very sensitive and everything is a surprise.. well to me anyway. For some good info on gelatine printing see Linda Germain’s site.

On their own I am not sure I like the the prints too much, but it’s really just another way of mono printing. However the sensitivity of the surface is very interesting If you get it right you can achieve some fine recorded details which have potential for all sorts of applications.  As with all techniques, it’s how you use it that makes it interesting.

I only had time for a couple of tries today and it is very hit and miss. Below you can see the plate with roller and ink and my two small prints.


I inked up the plate, made a mask to isolate the background, used a small piece of leaf as a added element and to print with and, after one wishy washy print did get something I thought I could use.


The gelatine print

Then I cut the lino, made a test print, then combined the two.


The lino


The proof. Hmm.. nicer than I thought it would be.

Combined with lino. Image 4”x4”.

I scanned this and added some extra black in Photoshop. It’s handy to be able to do this quickly. You can see what it might look like if you reduction cut the lino block and printed a black.


I rather like it!