Sunday, 31 July 2016

A Walk in the Park.

With only a month to go before the official start of spring, this afternoon was lovely, with blue skies and  the sun even had a little warmth. These Rainbow Lorikeets obviously felt that spring was in the air as they looked for a suitable nesting hollow in the old Gum tree.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Final Printing.

 First the buds.  These started out as dandelion buds, but now that they are all white I guess they could be a similar shaped bud of any flower.
Then the flowers.
Finally the leaves and the butterfly. The butterfly is stamped with iridescent acrylic paint, as I wanted it to fade into the background a bit, but also to show up against the black. I could have added another smaller leaf, but at this stage I was nervous that I would make a mess and as I only ended up with 4 final prints I really couldn't afford to make a mistake and have to start all over again. Done!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Another Version.

With the deadline looming I must make a decision as to which version of the print I want to submit. This one above is only done with acrylic ink so is a bit greyed out, but done in block printing ink it should be better. I have to choose between the all white on black as above, the white leaves but with coloured flowers and butterfly or the back on white with no colour or with orange flowers and blue butterfly. Decisions, decisions.....................

More Fungus.

  This very interesting fungus is quite big and at first glance could easily be some exotic flower.
The one on the right resembles a nose I think, and one of my photos even had a rain drop hanging off the end adding to the nasal look!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Another Printing Session.

 In this print I have used the new leaf and butterfly stamps. The smaller butterfly is definitely better, but I still don't like the leaf on the right, it's one of the old ones and the veins are too big!
Yet another new leaf stamp, cut from the shape of the old large one but this time with smaller veins. Of course the shape is reversed as I just traced the old rubber shape. All in black?.......maybe.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

New Stamps.

 Rather than keeping on printing with leaf stamps that I was not happy with, I decided to carve a couple of new ones. However, it's the middle of winter here and no dandelion plants to be found, or so I thought. In the end I had to settle for these tiny miserable specimens from which to draw and later to carve the stamps.
 Here are 2 new little leaves, one on each side of the Perspex mount. I also took the time to cut a smaller butterfly for the current work, as the one that I used previously was too big. Here I've stamped many times over, each time trying to cut just the tiniest piece from the antennae, not an easy job on such a small piece of 'rubber'. I got there in the end and I'm happy with the new leaves and the new butterfly.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Less is Better.

 I've reduced the number of leaves in this print and I think that it's a definite improvement, although I'm still not happy with their placement.
 Although this butterfly stamp is too big for this card, I think that another smaller one might work well. I've used this butterfly many times since carving it, but a smaller one with similar veins might be a challenge. The image below is exactly the same with an inversion in Photoshop. Maybe I should make the design in white on a black background like this, as it's quite interesting.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Another Idea.

 Looking at the previous trials of the dandelion postcard I decided that all the shades of green leaves were too wishy-washy and didn't make much of an impact. Here I've decided to trial black leaves with yellow and orange accents.
I think that the orange makes more of a statement than the yellow and I quite like the placement of the flowers and buds here, however the leaves are too dense and I'm not sure that the greyer ones in the background work. Each trial run is getting closer to something that looks good, so back to the drawing, or stamping, board again.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

New Leaves.

 I decided that the old dandelion leaves that I had already carved were not quite enough to provide interest in the image, so I carved 2 new ones...far too quickly probably, as they weren't very successful.
 The top one looks like any kind of insect ravaged leaf rather then the toothed dandelion leaf that I was aiming for. The one in the lower row is better, but still not quite right.

 I went ahead anyway to try and get some sort of satisfactory multi layered image. The darkest leaves I think are too dark, but the much paler ones in the background seem to work O.K.
Here I've eliminated the very dark green, but I still think that the mid greens in the right hand print are still too dark.  I rather like the dandelion flower head first printed in yellow and the just the edges darkened up with the orange. Maybe at the next print run I'll get something that I'm happy with, but then I'll need to get 3 the same, what a challenge!

Monday, 18 July 2016

A Change of Theme.

 These are Soft-Cut stamps that I carved some years ago and having used them successfully in the past, I've decided to revisit the dandelion theme again this week for a postcard challenge.
 Using water colour paper I have stamped leaves and stems in different greens and as I don't have a yellow stamp pad as yet, the flowers and buds are orange. I'm not sure that I like the texture that the rough water colour paper gives to the stamps.
            This darker green gives more contrast to the leaves, but I don't know if that is what I prefer.
     I think that I'll try further stamping on a smoother surfaced paper, just to see what it looks like too.
An even lighter shade of green used here, with the addition of a silver dragonfly. This too is an old carved stamp which I've used many times. Perhaps I'll try this format of the leaves and flowers with the darker shade of green as the really light green is a bit too soft perhaps.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

A Few Problems!

 Here is the final image, completed but not without difficulty! The 2 clumps of grass on the right were easily done with a brown coloured stamp pad, but because the grass on the left was a lino cut, the stamp pad ink wouldn't adhere properly. I imagine it must be because of the natural oil in the lino.
Therefore I had to mix up a batch of dark brown block printing ink and use that. However, no matter what I did the ink made blobs that I wasn't happy with. After printing another whole pad of paper, that is another 12 sheets, I think that I've managed to get the required 13 copies that will pass muster...........just!
         These are only some of the prints that I made this afternoon, a rather costly exercise all up.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Last Clump of Grass.

 With the 'rule' that images should be in odd numbers in artwork, I decided to carve another grass stamp.
 After the preliminary cutting away, I can see that I still have quite a long way to go to eliminate all the extra unwanted edges.
                                 The image on the right is heading I the right direction I think.
If you enlarge this page with a click, you can see that each subsequent stamping (L to R top to bottom) is better than the one before in terms of just getting the grass blades without blobs and odd bits and pieces showing. One last tidy up and I can start to use this stamp in conjunction with the other 2 that I have already carved.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Adding Some Grasses.

 I've carved 2 clumps of grass to go around the base of the Grasstree.  The upper stamp is a lino cut, which is very hard to do when the lino is cold and the area around the blades of grass has to be removed. The lower one is carved from Soft-Cut which is so much easier to work with, especially in winter. I've printed some trial grasses here, removing some of the background each time to improve the print.
 Now what medium to use for the final prints.  Here I've used block printing ink, but I think that I must have had it a bit too thick on the stamps, as the blades of grass aren't separated. I don't think that I like the stark black colour either, as the rest of the dark grasses aren't black, but a dark brown.
 Yes, a dark brown is definitely better.  This time I have used a commercial stamp pad with dark brown ink.
Maybe not so many clumps of grass, especially as I have only carved 2 and quite distinct ones at that.
Here I've used reject prints for the stamp trials, ones with splodges of ink where there shouldn't be splodges. It's going to be a bit nerve wracking using the final 'good' prints' to add the grasses to.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

A Good Afternoon Printing.

 Having carved this Grasstree a while ago, I have only just found the time to make prints of it. Using the original background of my photograph, tweaked just a little, then printed over with the lino, it has come out quite well. I took the photograph just outside the city of Canberra after massive bush fires had swept through and all the hills were dotted with blackened vegetation.
I want to carve some clumps of grass to go in the foreground, so that the Grasstree isn't quite so isolated and stark.  I wonder if they should be printed in black or dark brown...maybe black as the focus is after all on an area following devastating bush fires.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Fungus Collection.

 A damp weekend spent in the bush is always exciting, as I never know just what fungus I will see and manage to photograph in the wet conditions. This rather scary purple one is actually very pretty with the pale blue/mauve gills underneath.
   This robust yellow variety seems a little more benign, although I still wouldn't want to eat it!
                                  More of the purple species showing the thick blue stalks.
  These orange ones have very slender stalks and look as if they are too thin to hold the caps up.
 These actually look almost good enough to eat, but turn them over and the gills are deathly white, not the pink-brown of the edible variety.
These look particularly poisonous I think, although I don't actually know if they are. The combination of sickly yellow with the green is definitely off-putting.

Friday, 1 July 2016

More Gardens from the Past.

 This little machine embroidery I called The Yellow Garden, for obvious reasons. Again another imaginary garden worked many years ago, and sold at an exhibition.
 This is a real blast from the past as it is all hand stitched, something that I rarely do these days. Called Wild Lupins, it was based on an image I saw in an old National Geographic magazine.  It was in this piece that I started to use thick threads in the front and fine machine stitching threads in the back to give the impression of the distance.  Again, this is one that I have kept, as it's a pivotal point in my journey in thread.
 This red door was at the side of an old church in France, I just loved the worn step and the mauve flowering plants clinging to the old stones. I have actually worked this image twice, as I loved it so much. Others must have liked it too, as both pieces sold.
Another very early hand stitched piece with a painted background on cotton. Spinifex Dreaming was the result of a trip to Central Australia and seeing the Spinifex plants growing for the first time.  They grow in a circle out from a central point that becomes bare red earth as the plant grows outwards.