Wednesday, 23 January 2019


 Quite a few years ago I was lucky enough to come across a mass emergence of some beautiful Imperial White butterflies, and they were low enough for me to get these good photographs.The butterflies are unusual, as the caterpillars all live together on native Mistletoe and pupate together as well. Here you can see the last couple to emerge with the empty pupae cases on the twig beside them.
Another two butterflies also showing the leaves of the Mistletoe. I am thinking of incorporating these images into a new piece of art work, possibly a collagraph plate or a lino cut. It will have to be somewhat stylized of course, but it might be possible.

Saturday, 19 January 2019


 Having endured 5 years or so of diminishing return on the hard work of maintaining a vegetable garden, we undertook a complete redesign including digging out all the tree roots from the neighboring trees, adding lots of manure and mushroom compost. The results speak for themselves ! These are a new variety of  tomato for me and I wasn't quite sure how they'd go, but Tasmanian Chocolate seem to be really good with lots of huge fruit and many more developing too. The possums and birds don't seem to have discovered the tomatoes thank goodness.
For many years we've grown the South African favorite Gem Squash, but always up a vertical trellis with mixed success. This year we've grown them horizontally supported by a sort of table of heavy duty mesh and what a difference! There are about 10 squash developing at the moment and we have already eaten 6 or so. The breeze can get in under them to limit the likelihood of mildew and the vines only have to pump sap horizontally rather than pushing uphill when the vines are vertical. Now we only have to battle the constant visitation of rats and mice!

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Another Stage in the Journey.

 Again, this is just a trial print, but I really dislike the yellow colour, it's just too 'yellow'. Some of the placement of the elements don't please me either, so on with the next stage of the journey.......
This is definitely a preferable yellow colour, it's called Indian Yellow, but to my mind it's much more orange than yellow. This is in fact the final print on 'proper' paper, so all I have to do now is print all the various components of the whole without smudges, smears or mistakes, The lighter areas, such as the lower left will all be covered with other elements, so I'm not at all worried  by the variation in density of the ink.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Still PLaying.

 I've added even more carved stamps to the collection for the new project, however I don't think that I need any more.
 This is a mock up on scrap paper, but the design certainly doesn't work like this. The paper area can be 30cm x 40 cm with a margin or a bleed print of 40 cm x 50 cm. The size of the print above would be using a margin, although it's not present in this trial.
Another trial in the bigger size, but it's obvious that some elements just don't work at all, the odd diamond shape on the right for instance is awful! Lots more playing around needed I think.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

From 2017.

A group that was formed some 21 years ago still meet regularly on a monthly basis for "show and tell', for a yearly project and for good food and good company. In 2017 we had the challenge of making a set flower a month, and if you have been a follower of this blog, you will have seen the individual flowers that I made over that year. Since then we have always said that we should get all the flower pieces together for a photograph. Well ,we nearly did it, one person forgot to bring hers, and I managed to leave one of mine in the folder and out of the photo.  So here are most of the flowers from 2017, the work of 6 people.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Annual Blueberry Picking.

 With Melbourne experiencing very pleasant cooler weather at the moment, we set out into the Dandenong Ranges for our annual blueberry picking morning The farm is in a lovely bush setting, with huge cages over the berry bushes to protect them from the birds and animals. You can see the debris on top of the netting in the upper left of the above picture.
 With the abundance of fruit and two of us picking it only takes an hour or so to fill the buckets which hold about 4 Kg each.
This one is almost full, although the berries will settle down a bit with the bumping of the car on the way home, a trip taking just over an hour. Enough here to freeze for the year ahead, to make into cakes, bread, relishes and to give some away as well.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019


The colour shown here is much too dark, but I wanted to see if this rather busy background of flower images would work for this new project. The size of the SoftCut was supposed to be 15 cm x 20 cm, but unfortunately it's a little smaller in each direction. I wanted to fill a 30 cm x 40 cm page completely, but it won't be quite right, so I might have to put a solid margin in somewhere.  In a much paler colour it might not be too obvious, anyway it's only the background with a lot to be printed on top. I've used a stamp pad and ink here which is why the image is rather blotchy, but the final print will be made using linocut ink giving a much denser coverage.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Batch of Butterflies.

 I needed four copies of this collagraph plate that were more or less identical. Anyone who is a print maker would know that it's sometimes a bit difficult to achieve this, especially with collagraphs. There are so many variables, the rubbing off of the ink, the quantity originally applied, the number of times a cardboard plate has been used and so on. Then, in this case the adding of the antennae after the print was dry.  Ooops, one antennae on the top left butterfly is much too long, a slip of the pen unfortunately. I'll try to scratch the top quarter of it off the paper and hope for the best.
The vegetation was made with a rubber (SoftCut) stamp that I made a few months ago. Perhaps I can have some more leaves coming down from the top to disguise where I've removed the offending antennae. Watch this space!