One linocut with many and varied outcomes

Continuing with printmaking I made one A4 size linocut of tree branches and experimented with monoprint backgrounds and printing over existing drawings and paintings… and also added a stencil for the jug.

Turn Back Now – Keith Tyson at The Jerwood

A snapshot of Keith Tyler’s studio wall drawings

I never miss an opportunity to visit the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings. It has such a lovely location, down on the beach among the fisherman’s tall huts. And there are stunning views out over the working boats and fishing paraphernalia to the sea.


View from the top floor of the Jerwood Gallery to the beach


The Jerwood collection is full of surprises and the gallery attracts some excellent visiting exhibitions. For some reason I didn’t think I would be drawn to Keith Tyson’s studio wall drawings; I thought they would be too busy and in my face for me. And they are these things and also overwhelming because of the huge numbers of drawings and paintings and the way they are displayed in close grids. But they are clever and often profound and tell fascinating stories of life as understood through the mind and eyes of the artist.

The phenomenal quality and quantity of Tyson’s artistic output makes me feel like a sloth!

The studio drawings are the outcome of 20 years of painting or drawing on a large piece of paper on the wall of his studio every day in between and during other projects. The result is like a visual stream of consciousness diary. He says the drawings lie somewhere between a diary, a painting and a poem. In incredibly clever and beautifully executed work he explores ideas and thoughts. Sometimes about world events, sometimes about his emotions or response to everyday things or matters that are on his mind. Over time working on these drawings has evolved from a preparatory activity to a more expressive and essential practice. The Jerwood’s three ground floor spaces are filled with more than 300 of these works.

I just wished I lived nearer. If I did I would go back many times. They are overwhelming on mass… overwhelming and wonderful.

Tyler was born in Cumbria  and his life journey has taken him from shipyard apprentice at the age of 15, via art school and a degree from Brighton University, to Turner Prize winner in 2002.

Turn Back Now runs at The Jerwood in Hastings until 4 June 2017 so go on, take a trip to the seaside!

More information on the Jerwood Gallery website.

Picking up a paintbrush for the first time in ages

I spent last Thursday with  friends Karen and Stella gathered around our dining room table with brushes, palette knives, credit cards, sponges and acrylic paints. We dived in with abandon and worked quickly and freely painting on to large canvases, or in m case gesso primed paper.

This is the first time for nearly a year I’ve painted with acrylics. I was drained after POP1 which I found to be a very intensive module . At times I felt I’d lost the joy of painting but it’s back after a very therapeutic and enjoyable day.

Painting tulips and irises

Having been inspired by the flower paintings of Peter McCarthy whose work I saw recently at the John Russell Gallery on the Waterfront in Ipswich, I painted tulips and irises with abandon. With the tulips I actually did succeed in capturing what I had in my mind and I felt that a good bit of me had gone into the picture. The irises, while still loose, got a bit lost in translation. Shame as they had promise at any earlier stage.

Happy day tulips – acrylic on paper

Irises, acrylic on paper

Earlier stage. Something promising was happening here. It was quite striking at this point but I lost the plot!

Printmaking class – experiments with drypoint

I’m feeling my way forward but liking the medium. Drypoint seems to enable a more spontaneous, looser result than  I can achieve with collograph or linocut. Early days… early experiments. Interesting how different colours and different density of the inks influence the end result. Background helps to create atmosphere. I am keen to experiment more and frustrated that I can’t print drypoint at home as this form of intaglio printing can’t be done by hand.

Printmaking class – collograph

I’m continuing to get enormous pleasure from this class and learn lots of new technique including…


I recently visited an exhibition of Norman Ackroyd’s wonderfully atmospheric etchings of the coastline around the British Isles at The North House Gallery in Mann
. Previously I’d seen just one or two of his prints in the Royal Academy so an exhibition featuring a large number of his works was a real treat. They feature great, solid statuesque rocks surrounded by swirling sea birds, crashing waves and enormous dollops of weather. I’m fond of the West Coast of Ireland so I was particularly drawn to his views of The Skelligs.

I came away feeling inspired and decided to have a go at creating a collograph featuring rocks and seabirds and a choppy sea. Believe me I soon discovered how difficult it is to create atmosphere in the way that Ackroyd does – especially using a medium that I’ve never tried before. The materials I used for my plate included paper and card, sandpaper, and skrim fabric. I also cut into the board using a Stanley knife and made marks using a biro.

My prints tended to be either too inky, losing the detail or too faint. I left just one exactly as it came off the press and then let go with inks and bleach on the rest. It was a productive experiment. I may not have achieved the perfect print but I learnt a a lot about the process and discovered that it is possible to entirely change a ‘failed’ print into something else. I’m keen to do more collograph printing as I’ve go quite a few ideas to work on now.


Choppy seas – touched up with ink using bamboo pen


Experiment with overpainting strong print with vivid colours. Good textural detail on the rocks and foreground emerged.


Lighter print overpainted with inks and then bleached in parts – the most successful of my experiments


Heavily inked print lightly painted.


Choppy seas; my collograph as it came off the printing press.

Gee Vaucher Introspective at Firstsite


The show’s ‘cover image’ Oh America is a Gouache created in 1989 – uncanny how relevant this feels today.

This exhibition  which runs until 17 February 2017 at Colchester’s Firstsite Gallery is so good that I’ve been three times. This is the artist’s first major institutional show in the UK and it charts her journey as an artist and political activist  from the late 1960s to the present day. I say congratulations to Firstsite for showcasing such an extensive range of Vaucher’s work.

Her practice includes collage, photography, photomontage, painting, sculpture, film, performance, typography, sound and installation.

It’s a hard-hitting and emotive exhibition and was very relevant to my current OCA studies – Creative Arts Today | Part 4 Photography. I personally  rate her work alongside that of Peter Kennard Britains best known political artist.

The show’s cover picture (above) provides a  fascinating example of how an image can travel through time and gather even more meaning. This 1989 picture was overwritten by Vaucher with the following words:

‘Give us justice which is not the searing spite of revenge, peace which is not the product of war nor dependent upon it. Give us freedom where now there is only servitude.’

The image was used recently by the Daily Mirror as a front cover.

As far as I’m concerned this is a not to be missed show – and it’s free.

Printmaking class – monoprints and lino cuts

I’m currently studying OCA Creative Arts Today. This is my third level 1 module in the creative arts degree pathway. I have already completed Drawing 1 and Painting 1. I needed to do this theoretical module as it is filling in a lot of gaps in my knowledge of the wider art world but I couldn’t help feeling some regret that I did not get the chance to do  Printmaking 1.

Fortunately I’ve found a very good weekly printmaking class at The Wilson Marriage Centre in Colchester and I’m loving it. I had very little printmaking experience so it’s learning all the way as we work through the various techniques. It’s a great class with good tutor and a lovely group of like-minded, aspirational students so I’m happy.

Here are some of my experiments from the first three weeks:

Mono prints


Using leaves










Lino prints


Hedgerow detail first attempt – difficult to discern the nature of it


More cut away and the characteristics of the hedgerow emerge. Interesting lesson here.









hedgerow-night2-low-res hedge-row-night-low-res






More complex hedgerow detail and experiments with tonal backgrounds. I will return to this theme and experiment more. There is lots I can do with this. It’s a development of some abstract explorations during Painting 1.