Sunday, 31 December 2017

Return to the Lino.

 The good thing about always having any number of things on the go at once, is that when one project isn't working out I can always move on to something else. Here is my old stenocarpus linocut settled into a forme for printing.
After each print I always seemed to see something that needed more attention, but after 9 attempts I got this one which is the best of the bunch. Still not quite right however, but nearly.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Another Try.

I was determined to print at least one copy of the collograph plate showing the lacework leaves in reasonable detail. Today I decided that I was using just too much ink, so here I've used a lot less and it has turned out much better. Even so, I don't think that I'll use these leaves again, lovely as they are so I need to find some with a greater depth I think.

Friday, 29 December 2017

More Print Play.

The print below was made using a collagraph plate with various leaves and small seed pods glued onto it. I found the 'lace' leaves some time ago and had hoped that they'd make good print, but alas they are too thin and the lacy holes quickly clog up with ink. The print below is quite interesting however because of the colours, a mixture of black and brown.
                    This below is another attempt to get a good print, all black this time.
                               In this close up you can see the lacework holes in the leaf.
 As a last stand to get something worthwhile from the print session, I inked up the same plate, but pressed it over a previously made print of pieces of broken leaves. The original print was a bit too ordered, but is improved by the stamping over it, even though there is too much black in parts. This maybe another useful technique for adding more interest to a dull print. As always, a click on the image will give you a slight enlargement.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Old Lino Cut.

This carved lino has been sitting around for months waiting for me to print a proof copy. I was never happy with the border, it was only done as a sort of doodle, but seeing how badly it has printed, it has to go !
Here is the inked up plate above and the terrible print below. There is just too much blank lino which makes it very difficult to get a clear print, so as well as the border I want to cut off all the extra lino too.
 Right, that's better, and it will print even better when I trim the lino closer and tidy up some of the image itself. Now that I can see a print, there are lots of little bits that need to be carved away. I will mount this image onto a shellac sealed piece of board for stability.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Painting Daddy's Toenails Blue.

                           This is Miss Six, painting her daddy's toenails blue for Christmas!

Thursday, 21 December 2017


 This morning we drove a little over an hour or so out of Melbourne to a farm that grows Blueberries. We go at this time every year and enjoy the experience and the fruit. It's very relaxing, as picking is by invitation only so it's not crowded and noisy as some of the fruit picking farms tend to be.
 It was only day 3 of this season's pick, so there were masses of huge ripe fruit. I only picked from 3 bushes and stopped after an hour just because my bucket was full. Well, not quite full, but I didn't want it to tip over in the car on the return trip
 You have to be careful not to knock the still green fruit off when the berries are as tightly packed as these are.
Here are the 6 Kg of blueberries that were picked this morning.  Some are destined to be given away, some are eaten fresh and the rest are frozen for use during the year in pies, cakes and desserts. Actually most of these are for when we have guests, as we rarely eat sweet things. A recipe that I often use for a Swedish blueberry pie made with an oatmeal pastry is particularly delicious.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Collograph Prints.

I've had the collagraph boards prepared for quite some time, but as with a lot of other artwork, the setting up and processing is rather laborious, so I've been waiting for a good stretch of time to try  printing them. This one I've called 'fragments' as it consists of many fragments of old damaged leaves. I was really just playing around with them just to see if they had sufficient height to print well. They do, and the actual print shows all sorts of subtle marks that don't show up in this reproduction. A click to enlarge the image will reveal more of the detail.
 This one is worth trying again too, although the saw dust that I used for the foliage is a bit too dense in places. It's hard to believe that the tree trunks are just strips of bark and the vegetation below is just little bits of dry plant material.

Monday, 18 December 2017

More Moths.

I ended up needing to carve 3 different sizes of the one moth design as the largest one was too big for the current project. Already I know what it will be exactly the right size for, but not quite right for today, so I had to carve another tiny little one

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Ta Dah!

The holy grail of vegetable gardening here in Melbourne, ripe tomatoes before Christmas! The plant that these came from was grown in a large pot, so I imagine that the roots have been quite warm of late. The plants in the garden beds however are only just beginning to flower, so the fruit won't be ripe until much later. I grew the plants from seed that I saved from the previous year and unfortunately didn't sow it until a bit late, so it will be well into 2018 before we are eating tomatoes from those plants.

Saturday, 16 December 2017


 The sky was a most amazing combination of colours last night, but by the time I got my camera and got into position it was beginning to fade. The picture above is well out of focus, but I still rather liked the pattern that the leaves and branches made.
                 The picture above is better in focus, but the colours are much less intense.

Friday, 15 December 2017


 While out for a walk this morning we heard this old fellow roaring at us to keep our distance. He was perched just above ground level and judging by his tattered ears he is a bit of a fighter!
On the opposite end of the size spectrum is this tiny newly fledged wren on it's first foray out of the nest. There appeared to be 3 little siblings all inspecting the wide world from the safety of a vine on our front veranda.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Stamp Carving.

 Using the pencil sketches as a guide I carved the designs that you can see above and below. Because of the very fine markings I couldn't, or at least I personally would find it too hard, to make the moth white with black markings as I did with the computer images. I carved two sizes of each design, as the finished multiple image needs to be very large to fit on paper that measures 50 cm x 70 cm.
Starting at the top left the carving is modified to include more fine markings and to refine the antennae a bit. A little bit of colour is fun to add.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Moth Pattern Two.

This new pattern doesn't have quite the geometry of the previous one and consequently I don't think that it works as well. In the previous pattern the original 4 moths face outwards with the outer pairs meeting head to head creating a clear space between the moths which gives the whole image a more pleasing shape. Here I've made the first 4 moths face inwards (just for variety) but I'm not sure that it works as well. Perhaps I should construct the pattern exactly as the first one and see if it works better. The image below is the one that I made yesterday for comparison, with the contrast increased.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Moth Pattern.

Here I've had a play with one of my pencil moth sketches in Photoshop, turning it into rather fun pattern.  I've only placed the images by eye, not with any formal measurement, but I wonder how the other sketch would look treated the same way.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Moth Play.

With just a short time for artwork today I started to play around with another idea that has been simmering in my mind for a while. Above are 3 of my moth drawings, each moth is quite asymmetrical.  I took half of each of the 2 larger moths duplicated just one side and merged them into one symmetrical image in Photoshop

 As you can see the first moth is so asymmetrical that the tip of the abdomen is bifurcated! easy enough to fix however in the next stage. The same thing has occurred in the second moth, and the abdomen has become just a little to fat as well.

Above is a scan of some fabric that I came across recently, which is a tessellated pattern of stylised moths. I'm not sure that I like the actual moth image, but I can admire the over all pattern. 

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Something a Little Different!

 These are large field mushrooms that have sat around for a couple of days and become a little 'elderly'. But the patterns shown by the drying gills are wonderful, just as they are or with a little Photoshop enhancement.

 This above is a portion of one of the mushrooms and below the inverted image in Photoshop. It looks very like a bunch of strange leaves to me.

 This section is even more interesting I think, as it shows lots more texture and could almost be some kind of seaweed. The image below shows just how beautiful the marks are when inverted and the brown is changed to green. I think that this image has application in this space.

Monday, 4 December 2017

New Collograph Plates.

 Having decided that the previous plate that was very similar to this one just wouldn't do, I constructed this one to use instead, making very sure that I didn't have random brush marks in the sky area. Again I used bits of bark and sawdust with a little bit of oak flower debris. I can't print with it until it is well and truly sealed all over, including the edges once I have trimmed the vegetation back.
I was also keen to try some fine bits of tatty bark that I had found.  Most eucalypt leaves are very thick and robust to withstand our very hot dry summers, but these pieces came from a tree that produced very thin leaves with lots of raggy edges and textures.  Again, I have to wait for it all to dry after being sealed before I can see if the leaves print well. If they do, I'll have to see if I can find the same tree again and collect more leaves. The squiggly bits are my favourite oak flower debris, taken from a gutter where they had blown  during a recent spell of hot dry winds.

Sunday, 3 December 2017


 Having added more sawdust to the tree collograph plate, I have been anxious to print from it and see if it looked better than before.  It does, but I will have to start again with a new plate, as the brush strokes in the sky area are too obvious. This above is the inked and rubbed back plate ready for the first print.
 It's certainly better in terms of light and dark, but those brush marks left in the sealant are just not right!
Just for fun I tried another print with a change of colour, from black to burnt umber. For now however, it's back to the raw materials to construct another plate from scratch.

Thursday, 30 November 2017


I was going through some of my old embroidery pictures today, deleting duplicates and generally tidying up, when I noticed how many pieces used imagery of doors or gateways. This below uses an old Art Nouveau window design with machine digitized and embroidered flowers on hand dyed fabric.
    Below is a wall painted with 'Puff paint' and machine embroidered 'slips' of flowers applied.
 Another painted wall and door with free machine embroidery.  This was a photo that I took of an old door behind a church somewhere in France.
 An imaginary wall below and a garden beyond with machine embroidered 'slips' of flowers and foliage.
 A painted cotton wall based on my photo of a church doorway in Sienna, Italy with machine embroidered details.
                  Another 'Puff' painted wall with machine embroidered foliage and details.

 Two more doorways that I photographed somewhere in Italy with machine embroidered vegetation.