Saturday, 30 April 2016


Earlier this week I was playing with printing out some of my i-pad prints that I intermittently work on.  These particular ones are a series of stark black and white images that I have sometimes shared on this blog that originally started out as possible designs for relief lino prints. They are based on the paintings and drawings and are an attempt to strip things back even further. I really enjoy working within the limits of just the black and white and find it really creative. Some of the best of them have a sort of haiku quality I really like, others, visually, have more of a Frank Miller quality, which I also like. 

I have tried to create a couple of lino prints from them, but not with much success. They seemed to lack a certain energy in the cut mark of the lino tool, at least in this artists hands, compared to the much more fluent digital mark that I am able to achieve with the I-Pad. I teach lino printing to students all the while and they create some lovely results, but I have never managed to master a decent print myself in over twenty years of trying.  I’m keen to still persevere though, as I enjoy the physical engagement with the materials, as I do with painting. 
Anyway, I had been wanting to print these out on some heavier cartridge paper to see what they would look like and try to gauge a sense of whether they would be good enough to work as digital prints that I could possibly exhibit, or even sell if they were suitably dressed up in a mount. They did look much better when I printed them on the heavier paper, but what really snapped them into life was finding the right scale for the image. After a few attempts at different sizes I printed them at a modest 10 x 15cms and that seemed to fit the images really well. 
I’m pretty excited about it, and am now left wondering what I should do with them: should I frame them? Just mount them up and try to sell them fairly cheaply at exhibitions or different events and venues alongside my paintings? Or I have toyed with the idea of presenting them in a book of some kind. I could of course, do all of these things…

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Another night...

oil on canvas, 200 x 150cms

Okay, tonight's another night and so I decided to re-paint a big part of my new painting. I think it looks better for being simpler. At least until I go to the studio tomorrow...

Friday, 15 April 2016

"Maybe one day I'll be a better writer..."

oil on canvas, 200 x 150cms
I’ve spent all my evenings in the last week working on this new large painting. I think it’s finished for now. I just need to live with it a while.
 I’ve really enjoyed doing it, despite feeling rather agitated each day while I have waited to get back to it. It has presented me with many different technical and formal problems: from the drawing and painting of the lorry and its cargo to deciding how to paint the background, particularly the stripes on the architecture behind. This has gone through a few different stages: from staining the canvas with the green and rubbing back to a very expressive ground I had applied, which is now virtually hidden, before being painted much more directly, wet into wet, with the canvas on its side. I worked  from top to bottom rather than left to right with a particular sized brush matching the required width of the bands. which seemed an easier gesture to control when painting them. That was fun.
The following three evenings were spent carefully developing the painting: breaking up the bands so they didn’t whizz off the edges so much, almost like improving my sentence structure or using more punctuation; to adjusting the colour and tonal values of everything; simplifying some areas; trying to activate other ones; being bolder then stepping back again; improving the drawing of the lorry’s cargo time and time again. There are hundreds of little decisions you make to try and give it some legs to stand up on its own.