Monument EC3, on a hot day

Le Pain Quotidien at Monument was open on Sunday. I found a table in the shade and sketched.

Back at home I added tone and an experimental print background. What do you think?

Drawing: waterproof ink and watercolour Neutral Tint.

Print: Plate made from cut cardboard. Printed using Schmincke relief ink: “Aqua Linodruck #19210 permanent yellow”. Printed directly into the sketchbook.

Lake District woodcut

I made a woodcut of a valley in the Lake District in the moonlight. The hills on the skyline, right of centre, are the Langdale Pikes.

Langdale Pikes, Lake District, print from woodcut, image size 12″ x 9″

This was was made at the request of a friend, who has a house in the valley. Their house is one of those small rectangles you see, centre left, under the shadow of the hill.

Here is work in progress on the woodcut. Click to enlarge the picture.

The wood is Japanese plywood, 12″ x 9″. The ink is Schmincke Aqua Linoldruck relief printing ink, ivory black. It can be cleaned off with water. The seal is a hand-carved stone seal made my friend and mentor in Japan, who also supplied the special red seal ink, and instructions for its use.

I used “Masa small sheets” Agawami Japanese paper from Intaglio Printmaker. This is thin enough to use for hand-printing but strong enough not to tear when you pull it off the woodcut. It is pure white and very even, which seemed to be apt for the moonlit scene. One side is shiny-smooth and the other is more textured. I printed on the shiny side.

Here is another print, with a crescent moon:

And here is an outtake, a mistake, which I rather like:

New Year 2021

Happy New Year!

My New Year card for 2021 shows a telephone kiosk.

New Year, 2021, “Connection”, woodcut 6″ x4″, on Japanese Kozo paper

I am of a generation for whom the telephone kiosk was, at one time in my life, an important feature of communications. You looked for them. You found them. They were either working or not. The inside smelt of old metal, coinage, leaves and urine. The phone was heavy and cold. The thick cord was twisted. You had to have the right coins. Sometimes coins jammed in the slot, or went straight through the mechanism without registering. So if you were experienced, and organised, you had a whole series of coins of different denominations ready to put in, in case the first one didn’t work. If your call was important, or if you needed to write something down, it was helpful to have a friend with you in the telephone kiosk, standing by with the coins, poised to enter them rapidly as the pips went. There was a risk-based calculation about what denomination of coin to enter, and in what order. You might enter small change first, while you worked out if the person you wanted was in, then drop in the big money for the important conversation, so that the pips did not cut you off at a critical point. You might enter a variety of change at the beginning in the hope that some of it would be returned if the call was shorter than you expected. But your money was not always returned.

Connection, Woodcut.

Above all, a telephone kiosk represented hope: the hope of connection. That’s my hope for 2021.

Also in the woodcut I put some people. These might be the three wise men, looking for hope and salvation in a humble building.

I based my woodcut on phone boxes I have encountered recently. It is a K2 phone box, like the one at Lower Marsh, Waterloo. You can tell, because it has six rows of windows.

Here is work in progress:

The background gold colour is, amazingly, watercolour: Daniel Smith Iridescent Gold. The red is Schmincke relief printing ink. The paper came, via friends, from “Paper Nao” in Tokyo. It is kozo paper, I think K-148, and brilliant for hand-printing. It doesn’t crinkle, it takes the colour well, and it’s really strong so it doesn’t tear when you pull it off the plate.

I like phone boxes. They appear in various of my drawings, see for example, these posts:

Some previous New Year Cards are here:

New Year 2018

Here are my greetings for the New Year, sent as cards. They are woodcuts, two plates. The orange/red colour was printed first. The black colour is the Schminke “Aquadruck” black relief ink diluted with extender kindly lent to me by Connie at East London Printmakers. Her extender was from the Caligo range, and was slightly … Continue reading “New Year 2018”

New Year 2019

Happy New Year! I made a woodcut. This is a greetings card, about 7″x5″. It is from two woodblocks, one orange and one blue. Here is work in progress at East London Printmakers: In the background you see the Albion press I used for printing. It is a wonderful cast-iron machine. As well as the … Continue reading “New Year 2019”

Monoprints, the City (2)

I made some more monoprints this week at East London Printmakers.

These were made using the technique demonstrated by Fiona Fouhy, which I learned on a course in September. See this post.

Here are city views.

These are made by a “reduction process”. Each is a unique print (for sale!).

Here are some snapshots from the process.

Here are some “outtakes”: prints produced during the process. All are on cotton rag paper except one which is on newsprint.

Monoprints: the City (1)

I have long admired the work of Fiona Fouhy. Fiona makes monoprints of forests and landscapes, with amazing depth and atmospheric effects. My idea was to try to get those effects in urban landscapes. So when East London Printmakers announced that Fiona would be running a workshop, I signed up immediately. That was in January 2020. The course was in February and was of course postponed. It took place in August. Here is some of my work from that day.

Here is the city.

The City (1), Monoprint

Here’s another attempt. This time I made sloping roofs. I quite like the “snow” effect, representing a view through a dirty window, or pollution in the atmosphere.

The City (2), Monoprint

Here are two prints on newsprint, made as part of the process.

As you see, every print is different, but they are related.

Apart from the out-takes on newsprint, these are all monoprints on Fabriano printing paper, 20x24cm. All are for sale.

Online Life drawing – Andrea

Yesterday I participated in another online life drawing session with London Drawing. The model was Andrea: @andrea.morani_lifemodel on Instagram. Andrea was in his studio in Italy. The 200 or so people drawing him were distributed across the world.

More online Life Drawing sessions:

Online life drawing – Laetitia

Here are some monoprint sketches of Laetitia, a ballerina with the Opera de Paris. This was a life drawing session , 9th May 2020, organised by @londondrawing. 200 people took part, from all over the world.

Iris: monoprints

My neighbour sent me a video of an iris he is cultivating on his balcony. It is a very special iris, a Benton Deirdre. He describes it as “bred by artist and plantsman Sir Cedric Morris in 1945. Rose pink standards and ivory falls with lilac red margins.”

It is special also because it managed to bloom on the windy balcony high up on this tower block. He posted pictures on instagram, and then at my request, sent more pictures which I used as inspiration for a number of pictures. Here are some monoprints I made this morning.

Online Life Drawing – David Wan

London Drawing (@LondonDrawing) organised another online life drawing session, this time with the model David Wan (@DavidWanLondon).

These pictures are monoprints, made by drawing or pressing on the paper which is placed on top of an inky sheet. What you see is the reverse of the sketch. The places where I pressed took up the ink. It’s like drawing or pressing on top of carbon paper, if you remember carbon paper. I like the technique because I can’t see what I’m drawing, so the lines tend to be more free, and I worry less about “getting it right”. The dark patches are made by pressing in the paper with fingers or an object, so it’s possible to get very dark tones quickly, which I like. It’s also a bit unpredictable, at least for a beginner like me, I have, so that the picture is a bit of a surprise. It helps that the picture is a mirror image, so when it appears, it’s different from what I drew.

If you’d like to see examples of a master of this technique, see the website or instagram account of John Carbery, @johncarbery.

Online life drawing – Adrian

“London Drawing” run Life Drawing sessions in libraries and various other locations in London. Right now, they can’t. So in an imaginative and entrepreneurial move, they are running life drawing session online. Yesterday I mastered the technology and had a go.

Here’s the result. The model is Adrian (@modbodadrian).

How is drawing a life model online different from just copying a photo?

Well, there’s the time factor. The model can only hold the pose for a limited time, and so I have to draw quickly. The shortest pose was 2 minutes and the longest about 20 mins.

Then there’s the fact that the model is making an effort: he’s there and he’s doing his best to create a striking pose and keep still. So I want to honour his effort and do my best also. That creates a useful dynamic to concentrate.

And there’s the fact that each of these pictures records a moment in time: the person was there, in their space, and the rest of us were dispersed about the country (and some in the USA!) all drawing the same model at the same time. So this is my record of the event.

It was a good experience and I am grateful to London Drawing for organising this and to the model for his good humour, experience and professionalism.

The session was conducted over “Zoom”, with about 20 people drawing, and two online organisers and the model.