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Project 7:Multiblock linoprints


This project follows form the single colour print “Anywhere but Here” and seeks to investigate the history of the. It’s of Glasgow which was such an important influence of both myself and my dad. The People’s Palace is a key repository for the archive of the city’s way of life over the last 2 centuries. It is an iconic landmark for Glaswegians and I felt that it would be a fitting place to start my journey.  The prints were initiated by a sketchbook visit.

People’s Palace locations sketches

Three blocks were prepared  to make up the final print. Some prints were taken to assess colour choices and cutting issues. Some excerpts from the sketchbook are shown below.




 Materials and technical skills

Once again, one of the biggest challenges in starting lino printing has been getting to grips with technical aspects.

  • Cutting the blocks: I found it difficult initially to get to grips with the lino cutting tools and struggled with the physical aspects of controlling the tools.

This improved as I went through the various exercises and by the end of project 7, I was beginning to get a much better feel for what kinf of marks I could make.

  • Planning a design which would work was particularly challenging when multiple blocks were used. I was aware of having to think through how the cutting would progress with each block and also to consider how each colour would print over the others.


  • Registration was a real challenge with the multi-block pieces. However, I did create a cardboard jig which was a huge help with registration. However, there were still challenges, as the lino was pre-bought and I became aware that the blocks night not be exactly the same size which became significant when it came to registering the prints. I realised that if I lined the paper up to the same corner of the jig and the paper registration marks I had placed, this seemed to work better. I repeated exercise 7, creating 2 different print editions in different sizes as I felt that I had not got to grips with the process clearly for “Carnival”. I was aware that I had to backtrack to cover up overcutting of white on my first block, resulting in a change from the original design I had envisaged.


By my second attempt “People’s Palace”, I was much more comfortable with the process of both thinking through the design of the blocks and in registering them correctly. I did overcut white from my first block on the red sandstone building and tried to correct it with filer retrospectively. This didn’t work very well and it is now clear that it is very hard to get rid of unwanted white later!


I felt that I had worked out a system for holding the paper and placing it down on the inked block, reducing the number of smudges I was getting on the print borders. Using rubber gloves and religiously removing them for paper handling also cut down smudges.





Observation and visual awareness


I think that I was better able to relax into thinking about creative elements of my work for part 2. The use of location sketching was particularly helpful. In “People’s Palace” I was able to refer to the 2 large sketches I had done on the site to create a fuller mental picture for composing the print. I think this is reflected in the quality of the final image.

For “ Carnival” and “ the Soul is Mine Alone”, it was difficult to make location sketches as the masks which were the source material for the project were located in a shop window in a very busy location in Venice. For this work, I relied greatly on the Photoshop computer programme to explore creative possibilities. I think I would have produced stronger work if I has been able to sketch or revisit the site.

Quality of outcome

I think that this has improved hugely I progressed through the course, keeping clean borders on the prints as I progressed through part 2. The use of a jig worked well for me and I would definitely use this method where I can.

  • “Anywhere but Here”: I was pleased with the quality of the print achieved, achieving some good sharp prints.
  • “The Soul is Mine Alone”: I feel this is a strong image. I think the print could have been better if I had created a more triangular composition here. I think it worked well in different colourways and using different papers. I particularly liked the foil and was surprised how well the ink stuck to the kitchen foil
  • “ Carnival”: the prints are colourful and interesting, but the image could have been better if I had been more careful about how much lino I removed from the first block. I ended up overcutting certain areas of the masks and feel the prints could have been clearer. The black overlay of the third block helped to pull the final print together.


  • “People’s Palace”: I think the final image is strong, with good visual impact. The prints also work well in a more abstract sense when blocks 1 and 2 are used together. I would also like to try different colour combinations with these blocks. I overcut the first block and created white areas on brown building which I could not get rid of which impairs the final print a bit. I liked the end result and think I have been true to the spirit of a well-known local landmark. Importantly for me, other people have recognised what it is supposed to represent!


For me, this part of the course has been about gaining a grounding in techniques as it is obvious that if the work is poor the initial vision is hard to realise properly.

I felt I was improving my technical skills and enjoyed the creative process, particularly working with the masks and the “Peoples palace” project.

Context, research, reflection and critical thinking

I think the biggest lesson I have learned during part 2 is the use of the small sketchbook. It will be essential to gather a library of ideas which can be drawn on for future reference. An example is the detailed drawing of natural elements which can be brought in to add interest and narrative to the prints., for example in the work of Mark Hearld.

I have tried to keep better notes as went along for this part of the course, thinking of the sketchbook as a toolkit for future reference. This is particularly important if mistakes are not to be repeated.

I have also tried to better link my research to my own work, which I found very helpful in developing my own practice.




Inspiration from Joan Eardley

Research Project 15

Strange New Land

For Project 15, I wanted to develop a collagraph which would depict the grey coastline of the UK as a migrant might experience it on first arriving in the UK. I am interested to explore how other artists had interpreted the coastal theme in their work and was drawn to the paintings of the artist Joan Eardley and in particular to the painting “The Wave”, painted in 1961. 

The painting is a mixed media landscape of Catterline on the East coast of Scotland, painted in the winter months when the skies would often have been dark and overcast. It measures 121.90 x180 cms, is in landscape format and depicts a large wave approaching the rugged cliffs on the East coast shoreline.


The picture plane of the painting is divided roughly into three equal sections: the sky with the land above receding to the background at the top third, the cliffs and shoreline with the wave breaking across it in the middle of the picture plane, and the Sean the lower third. The use of dark grey in the foreground of the work and strong horizontal lines across the painting contrasts strongly with the delicate vertical lines repeated in the centre third, across the breadth of the cliffs. The artist has placed another strong dark horizontal across the upper third of the painting, representing the land beyond the cliffs.


The colour palette of the painting includes neutral dark grey, grey blue and yellow ochre with touches of orange and warm white. The overall effect is muted, and perfectly reflects the type of natural contrasts seen with an approaching storm on the Scottish coastline. The use of muted blues and yellows, colours which sit on the opposite side of the colour wheel, creates colour contrast and interest within the painting. The artist has used a warm white to depict the wave ( the subject of the painting), in strong contrast to the dark grey foreground, effectively highlighting the main subject of interest.


The roughest brushwork is found across the centre of the picture plane, with grit incorporated into the paint for the rendering of the cliffs. This contrasts with the much smoother strokes used for the sky ( the smoothest part of the painting) and foreground. In the foreground, the brushwork follows the horizontal lines which divide the picture plane, separating the cliffs from the shore. This this adds contrast and interest to the painting and keeps the eye of the viewer moving across the picture plan.

Relevance to my own practice

Joan Eardley’s painting very effectively evokes the coastal landscape seen in many parts of the UK. I particularly love the muted complementary colours ( blue grey and yellow grey) the artist has selected. I feel that these would work well in a collagraph of the UK coastline. The composition lends itself well to use in collagraph techniques, where the visual message needs to be delivered using cut or torn materials applied to a surface. The vertical mark making used by Eardley to depict the cliffs could also be represented in collagraph, using corrugated card and I felt that this was something I could used in my own work.

Eardley was known for her expressive style and the incorporation of materials such as sand and grasses into the paint used for her work. This is something which I could consider using within the series of prints for “different” and “Out of the Shadows” to develop the theme further. Another potential route for exploring the theme further could include the incorporation of text as in “Two Children” another work by Eardley.

Experimentation for Project 15

Following my research, I devloped two small acrylic paintings based on the coastline at Beachy Head and using the blue greys and muted cadmium yellows and whites observed in the work of Joan Eardley.


Figure 1: Clifftops after Joan Eardley

Texture was achieved using dripped wax in the lower third of the picture plane. This was then gouged to add a vertical component to the cliffs and texture medium added to acrylic paint on top to build further texture. Colour was added to suggest rocks and sand at the lowest point in the picture plane. One of the most difficult aspects of the painting was achieving the correct balance between abstraction and a more representational approach.


Figure 2: Clifftops after Joan Eardley

Figure 2 tackles the same subject using wax and texture medium as before with the addition of scrim in the foreground to achieve the texture of waves.



National Galleries of Scotland.

Joan Eardley, Two Children, 1963 Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow © Estate of Joan Eardley. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2016

National Galleries of Scotland




Project 6: Single Linocut




Edward Bawden was an English artist well-known for his skills as a graphic artist, illustrator and watercolourist. His work included illustrations for many books and posters. He was widely travelled, having visited many counties in Africa and the Middle East and Europe during the 2nd World War (Wikipedia).

Figure 1: Title Whale (woodcut on paper):, Edward Bawden (1903-89)
Medium:woodcut on paper: Dimensions: 65×95 cms
Edition 9/100

The first work which I selected to investigate was the linocut “Whale” (Figure ).
It is a black and white woodcut printed in landscape format and fairly large in scale at 65x 95cms. I chose this work because I found it both visually striking and loved the fact that it tells a story which is of interest to me.


The whale is placed across the centre of the picture plane, occupying most of the centre of the print, a factor which helps to convey its large size relative to the other elements of the print. The whale dwarfs the hunters who are pursuing it in a small boat. The artist shows the hunters rowing, with one wielding a spear, preparing to throw. His aggression is in contrast to the defencelessness and passivity of the whale, despite its enormous size.


The picture tells a tale: the pursuing hunters, a displaced boat which has tipped it’s occupants into the water. Despite it’s large size, the whale looks frightened and panic- stricken and there is a sense that it will not escape it’s pursuers.


The print demonstrates a wide range of marks across the picture plane: rhythmic curling waves beneath the whale, jagged short marks above the whale suggesting choppy water, a night sky suggested in the upper left corner of the work which has been left uncut to suggest the darkness of the sky contrasting with the much lighter sea below.
The texture of the whale has been created using long straight cuts along it’s length. The water being extruded from the whale’s blowhole uses delicate curving cuts to suggest the flowing water emerging from the blowhole.
Overall, I think the print is very successful. It is pleasing to look at visually and very effectively tells a story at the same time.

The next print I selected was a linocut titled Tyger Tyger.

Figure 2
Tyger, Tyger (linocut), Edward Bawden, (1903-89).
English Medium: linocut


The print has been made in landscape format. The Tiger which is the subject of the print is placed centrally, across the picture plane. He is shown stalking in deep undergrowth. The artist emphasises the camouflage of the stalking tiger amongst the grasses by mirroring the marks used on the tiger’s coat in the grasses.

Mark making

The artist has varied the direction and length of the marks on the tiger’s body to help them stand out against the background, but the sense that the tiger is well hidden is preserved. Those used on the tiger’s body are much shorter than the long vertical marks used to depict the grasses among which he moves. The artist has depicted the tiger’s head full face onto the viewer. He has used a different range of marks to describe the tiger’s head, with small round marks carved out to depict the whiskers and ears.

The vegetation has been left mainly uncut, with sharply constraining rounded forms cut out to provide sharp contrast amongst the dark leaf forms.

Choice of this work

I was particularly interested in the tiger as a subject, as I had used the tiger motif in the masked monoprint section of the course. I was very interested to see how a similar subject created using a different technique could produce a very different mood. This is a subject I would perhaps like to revisit using combined techniques.


“Pink Eyes”

Another work selected for review is the etching “Pink Eyes” by Richard Bawden.

Figure 3
Title: Pink Eyes (etching)
Bawden, Richard (b.1936)
Medium: etching


I was drawn to the work due to the delicacy of the rendering of the rabbit which is the subject of the print and the beautiful soft colour scheme of neutral greys, pale orange which provide a prefect background for the delicate whiteness of the rabbit.


The artist has used a vertical format, dividing the picture plane almost in half horizontally using the horizon line. The rabbit is placed in the lower section of the picture plane centrally, beside a ghostly tree positioned to the right of the rabbit. A ghostly moon shines in the night sky in the upper section of the picture plane in the darkest portion of the night sky. A pale orange light illuminates the night sky to the left, providing a warm contrast to the otherwise seemingly monochromatic scene. The only other strong colour is the pink eyes of the rabbit. The rabbit’s fur has a faint tinge of pink across it’s coat, with white highlights helping to develop the texture of the fur.The use of a monochrome scheme for most of the print emphasises the pink of the rabbit’s eyes helping them to stand out in a way which would be difficult if the work showed more colour elsewhere.

The artist has managed to convey a sense of the animal’s soft fur by the very delicate marks used for the handling of the fur around the rabbit, contrasting with its surroundings.

Overall, it is a beautiful delicate print which suggests an “otherworldliness” to the nocturnal life of the rabbit.

The second work  by Richard Bawden is a linocut titled “Hares at Holbacks”.

Figure 4

Title: Hares at Holbacks (linocut)
Bawden, Richard (b.1936): Medium: linocut
43×63 cms

This is a multicolour linoprint of hares in a woodland setting. The most striking feature of the print is the mark making used to develop the coats of the animals. For the hare in the foreground, the artist has used a wide variety if horizontal marks to describe the fur of the hare, changing the direction of the marks to vertical on the animal’s legs. The fur of the underbelly is described by the white of the paper and short vertical marks, contrasting with the rougher fur on the animal’s back.


The foreground hare occupies the centre of the work in the middle third of the picture plane. The woodland recedes into the background and for this, the artist has developed less detailed marks than for the foreground hare and woodland plants. In the foreground, the veins of the leaves are shown in detail. The marks on the background hare are small and delicate and less detailed than in the foreground animal.

I found it very interesting how with limited colours, the artist has developed a sense of perspective in the print by reducing the size and detail of objects in the distance, such as the trees. I found it impossible to tell how the colours had been achieved, whether by reduction or multiple blocks but believe that the soft edges suggest this is a print created by the reduction method. This is something I would like to explore



2. Whale (woodcut on paper), Bawden, Edward (1903-89) / Imperial College Healthcare Charity Art Collection, London / Bridgeman Images
3 Tyger, Tyger (linocut), Bawden, Edward (1903-89) / © Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden, Essex, UK / Bridgeman Images

5. Pink Eyes (etching), Bawden, Richard (b.1936) / © Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden, Essex, UK / Bridgeman Images
6. Hares at Holbacks (linocut), Bawden, Richard (b.1936) / Private Collection / Sally Hunter Fine Art, London, UK / Bridgeman Images
hare running wood woodland forest




Project 4 Research: Backdrawing

OCA Print making 1: An investigation into Back-drawing


For my research for this exercise, I initially carried out a search using the term
” backdrawing”. However this search term yielded limited results. However the search threw up a link to a blog by a fellow OCA student. A link to the blog, My Creative Journey, is provided here.
The blog suggested alternative terms such as trace and transfer monotype/ drawing. I decided to explore further using these terms, which led to information on artists such as Degas, Klee and Gaugin.

Edgar Degas 1834-1912

The artist Degas was known to have used a variety of techniques which allowed him to transfer drawings. His practice included: passing charcoal works through a press to transfer the image, and painting unmarked etching plates with oil paint and then drawing into them with a brush. He then removed areas of paint with a cloth before printing. This techniques helped to increase contrast between inked and unlinked areas of the plate.

Paul Gaugin 1848-1903

Searching with the term “Paul Gaugin trace monotype” led to further information on the history of the technique. The article also highlighted use of this technique by the artist Rembrandt, whose practice often involved inking and removing paint using wiping.
The artist Paul Gaugin used a method known as “Trace Monotype” in which paper is inked, another sheet place over it and a drawing made.

Paul Klee 1879-

Information from MOMA archives documents the techniques used by Paul Klee in the press release prepared for the Paul Klee Centennial: Prints and transfer drawings, 1978. The author describes how Klee made his own carbon transfer paper by inking the surface of tracing paper. He then placed his drawing over this paper and transferred it by puncturing the outline of the drawing with a needle, transferring the ink onto paper which had been placed beneath.




An example of a transfer drawing by Klee, Madonna, 1923 is discussed below.



Madonna, 1923 (oil transfer drawing and w/c on paper), Klee, Paul (1879-1940)
Medium; oil transfer drawing and watercolour on paper: Dimensions32x21.8 cms
Credit: Madonna, 1923 (oil transfer drawing and w/c on paper), Klee, Paul (1879-1940) / Private Collection / Photo © Christie’s Images / Bridgeman Images

The print shows the Madonna and child placed centrally on the picture plane, the child held in the mother’s arms. The drawing is very loose, particularly the handling of the facial features, which gives adds to the abstract feel of the print. The transfer technique has helped the artist to avoid a detailed representational drawing of the figures, adding to the abstract nature of the print. The underlying watercolour has been carried out using sienna tones which adds to the soft mood of the print. The figure of the child is shown full length, in contrast to the figure of the Madonna which stops just below the waist.
The work reflects Klee’s interest in Cubism, which demonstrates simplification of basic forms in a way often seen in primitive works of art, together with the use of familiar motifs. Gombrich, E.H, the Story of Art, Fifteenth Edition, Phaidon Press Limited, Oxford.



Dubai Magic

Some sketches from Dubai earlier this year. Enjoyed playing with the Procreate programme to explore colour options for future work!

Puting time at the pool to good use! Pencil sketch followed by use of Procreate Programme.

Pencil sketch: Dubai Skyline


Procreate magic: Dubai skyline

Sketchbook Walk in Glasgow


A wee sketchbook day in Glasgow yesterday. First stop, a new find in Glasgow’s High Street called the Blue Chair cafe- a creative space for artists and musicians which I have never visited before. Found myself a little niche in the window to enjoy a few rays of precious sunshine and a coffee. Before long, I was joined by a curious onlooker! We soon established that my father and his had grown up in the same street together- an interesting spin-off from the day!

The sketch below was made from my position on the “Blue Chair” looking out to McChuills pub across the road. The yellow guitar was my starting point. A challenge to get the interior right- struggling a bit with the perspective and colours but captured the essence of the guitar- certainly will enjoy the memory which the little sketch evokes.

The second sketch was made in fine felt pen looking towards th city from an open stretch of ground at the Gallowgait in Glasgow. It presents a difficult challenge from the perspective point of view!  Lots going on I would like to give this another go to see if I could improve on my initial efforts.


Yellow Guitar at the Blue Chair Cafe, Glasgow
Gallowgait walk, Glasgow

Copenhagen and the Fyords

Scandinavian Hols

Fun sketching outdoors on a recent trip to Copenhagen and the Norwegian Fyords.

I tried a new technique on some of the sketches where I prepared some pages with torn paper to get rid of the blank pages before the trip. This worked really well for me and really helped to deal with the nerves felt working outside. Something I will definitely use again. Often, materials sketching outside can be a bit limited if air travel is involved as its not possible to take oil paints. I usually rely on watercolour and coloured pencils but torn and cut tissue offered a very interesting way to get started!

The images below show 1. Ships at Nyhaven, 2. Copenhagen evening, 3. Skagen seen from the ship.




The selection below shows my interpretation of the Fyords from the ship using watercolour pencils and torn paper. It was interesting working with what was already down on the page. Trying to balance colour and tone was the biggest challenge.