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.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Mercy Dash!

 One very silly 'Pobble-Bonk' frog laid her eggs on this barren rocky edge of a little weir.  The sun was starting to dry them out, in fact the top layer of developing tadpoles was really baked, but those underneath in the water were still alive.
            You can see the sun dried skin of the foam egg mass here. A mercy dash was in order!
Scoop up the egg mass in a bucket and take it to a lovely shady patch of deep water within the reeds, and hopefully some of the tadpoles will survive.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

New Lino

                       This is the new lino cut with all the components outlined ready to carve.
 This is going to take a long time, and perhaps I've been a bit ambitious with the very small flowers.
Today the weather was quite cold and I really noticed a difference with the colder lino. I've had a lot more trouble with the carving than on the warmer day. Memo to self, warm up the lino as you were taught!

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Owl Carving.

 I didn't think that I could carve anything too intricate in terms of feather etc, but this is the first attempt using the soft rubbery material for a  stamp. Here I've just drawn the outline of the owl.
             This is the shape coloured in with black pen to show me where to cut and not to cut.
                                      I've marked a few details here with a white marker pen.
                     This is the first stamp before I cut the owl out from the background 'rubber'.
It's O.K., but the details are a bit rough. Maybe I should try it with a lino cut, as the details will be crisper, even if it is harder to carve.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The Owl Sculpture.

                I spotted this wonderful owl on a book sculpture in the Oslo Botanic gardens.
The versions above are slightly 'posterized' in Photoshop, just to get an idea of what texture I might aim for with a lino cut. You might need to click on the photo to enlarge it to show the difference.
Unfortunately at first glance it appears to have a giant mouth, but it's only the feathers with the beak hidden in amongst them. Obviously I'll have to change this, after all it must be a European owl and not one of our local Australian owls.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Ragged Roses.

 We have been told to expect a really hot and dry summer which will be very hard on the garden.
Although we have 6 large water tanks, keeping water up to the vegetable garden and the flower gardens will be a challenge. Being early spring now, we are enjoying the roses, especially since they are ragged and droopy with rain!
 We can of course use mains water for the garden, but not only does that cost more than rain water, as it should, but it goes against the grain to use perfectly drinkable water on the garden.
 For now we just enjoy the occasional shower and although it wrecks the roses we welcome the wreckage!
      We have other roses that aren't in flower just yet, so they may escape being battered.