Thursday, 31 December 2015


Having used the owl stamp with open wings recently I thought that I might find a use for a stationary owl, so I set about carving one. It's a bit cartoonish with its big eyes, but it might yet find its way into some artwork.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015


I carved the largest dragonfly stamp some time ago, but I decided that I needed a range of sizes for a piece of work that I'm thinking about at the moment. Here are the 2 newest and smaller dragonflies that I carved today. The smallest one is only 5 cm from wing tip to wing tip, so it was a little bit of a challenge to carve. I might try an even smaller one tomorrow though.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Variations on a Theme.

 I wasn't at all happy with the moulding paste work from yesterday, so today I decided to combine the lino plate with stamps that I had made some time ago from Soft Cut.
 Although I was reasonably happy with the results, I can see that I will have to remove some more lino from around the central flowers, the gouges are a bit too obvious.
 I don't want to remove them entirely, as I think that they add some texture, but I need to tidy them up a bit.
             Here I have only applied the large lino cut to the lower two thirds of the gelatine plate.
 Some of these neutral coloured ones might be interesting inverted in Photoshop, or otherwise 'enhanced'.
                                                  I think that this one is the most successful.
                                      The stamps that I carved some time ago and used today.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Another Few Hours of Play.

                                           Definitely better without the solid bar at the top.

 I thought that it might be interesting to make a reverse plate from the lino cut. I used very thin wood which I sealed with 3 coats of varnish, then spread a thin layer of moulding paste onto the board when the varnish was completely dry.
  I think that I should have left the moulding paste to dry a little longer, as the result is very textured where the 2 plates were pulled apart.
 A great deal of the moulding paste ended up attached to the lino; I should definitely have left the paste to dry more. However, it couldn't have been too dry or I wouldn't get the result that I was looking for.
 The resulting textures are quite interesting, but the paste must have been lower in the middle as it is hard to get a print without a blank spot there.
These prints might make good backgrounds somewhere down the track, or I could just use the more interesting parts of them.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

More Gelli Printing.

 It was worth going back and removing the top part of the lino, the print is so much better as a result.
In each case I've overprinted with the altered lino, but you can see the previous version underneath.
                        You can always see more detail by clicking on the image for a larger size.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Beating the Heat!

With the temperature sitting at almost 40°C it was imperative that we protected our summer vegetables from the scorching heat. All our veggie beds are raised and covered with wire cages, so it's relatively easy to cover them with the shade cloth that we have used for a few years now. It's a bit of an act the first time in the season, but after that we just roll them up and down as necessary. There are 8 beds all filled with growing food.....which as usual, the rats have now discovered. The cages keep out the possums and birds, but not the rats unfortunately and they have found the not-yet-ripe tomatoes.  Not content with just eating a couple of them, the rats take a bite out of each tomato which then begins to go mouldy at the bite site.  Read expletives here..........................!

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Lino Changes.

 I decided that I didn't like the heavy bar of lino at the top of the plate, so here above I have removed it, keeping as many of the carved flowers as possible. Some I didn't like and some were just too fiddly to both with.
This is a quick print using a stamp pad to see how the lino removal is going.  Much better I think.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Lino and Gel.

 Today I decided to use my trusty lino cut with the Gelli Plate, just to see what sort of prints I could get.  The original one above looks quite delicate, almost like chintz fabric, but a bit wishy washy for what I wanted.
    This one above is the same print inverted in Photoshop, what a difference! I really like this effect.
        This is different print, O. K but not exciting.  The inversion didn't improve it either.
This one has many different layers, but again the inversion was not appealing. Perhaps these bland ones would benefit from some hand outlining with a metallic pen.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Back to the Stamps.

 Here are the first 3 in a series of flowers stamps that I hope to make out of 'SoftCut'. Easier to use than lino, I prefer this medium for individual stamps.
Here are the stamps themselves, the one in the middle adhered to a piece of Perspex and the other 2 on mountboard.  They have of course been coloured, with felt tip pens.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

A Good Crop Today.

There isn't anything better than an early morning walk around the vegetable garden to see what's growing and to pick a basket full of goodies. A zucchini slice  for dinner tonight with beans I think, and there will be a salad of fresh lettuce leaves for lunch tomorrow with commercially grown cucumber and tomato as ours aren't ready to pick yet.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Playing with Reed Photos.

 Having isolated the image of the reeds reflected in the water of the dam, I spent a fun hour or so playing with the picture in Photoshop.
 This is of course 2 identical images merged side by side. To me it looks like some sort of weird underwater creature swimming towards the light.
  This is 2 different layers merged and one slightly displaced. It might be fun to take this one a bit further.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Group Christmas Lunch.

 One of the textile groups that I have belonged to for almost 20 years always has a special lunch on the first Friday of December. The table looks very  festive as usual.
                                                              Now for some dessert!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Wriggly Reeds.

 I have photographed this clump of reeds in the dam many times, but I particularly wanted some wriggly lines to show up in the reflections.
 Having thrown a ball into the water for the dog to swim after I thought that the resulting ripples would give me good results, but the timing was everything.
Too early and the ripples hadn't wriggled the reflections at all and left too late, only some of the lines wriggled. Some in the left of the photo are nicely wriggled, but not quite as many as I would have liked. Oh well, next time!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Under Siege!

 The council in its wisdom has decided to re- curb and re-surface our road. This means lifting thousands of old bluestone blocks, re-laying them and cementing them into place before spreading the new asphalt.
This means that every property has to have a new concrete driveway 'apron' and a new storm water outlet pipe and exit. During the time that this takes, for the preparatory work and for the concrete to dry, we are trapped in our homes.   Well, not really as we all got our cars out into another street before it all began, but it feels as if we are under siege with the noise of the concrete trucks, the diggers the backing trucks and the soil rammers.  I can't wait for it all to be done!!

Saturday, 28 November 2015

In the Veggie Garden

                                                      A tub of beautiful lettuce seedlings.
                                                            Very prolific bush beans.
                                                                     Baby zucchini.
                                      An even more baby cucumber, see if you can spot it!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

A Bit More carving.

                           I'm not sure if this is really going anywhere, but I'm having fun!
First print with 'proper' ink, which shows that there is a lot more to be done with this design. I coloured in the flowers with markers just to get an idea of how it might look eventually. Something needs to be done with the lower margin, as I cut out some of it in error!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Return to the Lino.

 I really hate having half finished things lying around, so I decided that it was high time that I got back to finishing off this lino cut.
 There is still plenty to do, but I wanted to take a print just to see how it was going. I used a stamp pad rather than proper printing ink so that the image is blotchy and rough, but it does tell me where I need to concentrate on next.
This is the first proof print and I think that it has potential, but it needs a lot of careful refinement.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Cool Weather Cake!

With a few days of cool weather predicted I realised that it was time to bake the Christmas Cake. With the oven needing to be on for over 3 hours, it was not a job for a day with heat such as we have had recently.  Using a recipe that I have been making for almost 40 years, the cake is all ready for baking. I dislike almond paste or royal icing, so I make a pattern of almonds. When baked, I'll pour brandy over the top to keep it moist and then when cool I will wrap it in a large tea towel and store it away until Christmas.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Dry Point Etching.

 I was delighted to be able to take part in a class on dry point etching today with the fabulous artist tutor Bronwyn Rees. This shows a preliminary drawing in ink and marker pen on a sheet of acetate.
 I've etched the lines with hand tools and electric engraver here and taken a proof print to see what to do next.
 This is a 2 colour preliminary print where a second acetate sheet has coloured ink placed on it in strategic positions. Unfortunately the ink stuck to the proof paper and didn't transfer to where it was supposed to go.
A better print on etching paper using another 2nd acetate sheet for the background colours. It's a fun method of printing, but very demanding and not something that can easily be done at home, well the engraving can but you really need a proper etching press. It was a wonderful day of experimentation.