It’s been awhile…

I’ve been so busy enjoying life, painting, travelling around my lovely island home and sorting out my studio I just haven’t made time to post .

Here’s a few pics from my last 3 months…

A little bird collagraph – I do love birds!
Quite a few commissions headed off to their new homes
A week on the fabulous Flinders Island
A lot of eco printing with the ever versatile eucalyptus leaf.

What have you been up to?

printmaking – my new obsession

It’s been awhile since my last post because I’ve been so busy with commissions, teaching a pastel class and being a student in a printmaking class that there’s been little time left over for anything else.

I’ll post some of my favourite commissions after Christmas when all should be happily gifted and it’s safe to publish them without ruining the surprise.

The printmaking has been a world of discovery and I’ve become fascinated by the rich variety of prints that can be made with and without a press . I’ve particularly gravitated towards collagraphs and I think that’s probably down to my messy, imprecise and “what-if?” attitude to artmaking.

My first ever collagraph made with some grasses and sissal . I loved the way the wiping left such a beautiful tone on the background.

Collagraphs are made by adding or subtracting material from the plate. The plate can be strawboard, matboard, or acrylic. You can glue on plants, feathers, seeds, fabric , or cut away the top layer of the paper board to create a pattern or combine all of these!

A collagraph combining glued on paper cutouts and plant material then inked with black and orange which produced some greens where they met.

There’s also linocut relief prints, chine colle techniques, reduction linocuts and a whole range of different ways to create prints from the very precise to the much more abstract and organic.

A linocut inked with black and green using the brayer to create the dappled look of light filtering through the trees as well as the white of the trunks.

Once the pattern has been made the plate is sealed with shellac or varnish and then inked. Inking can be the intaglio method where it’s applied then wiped off to create tones on the raised surfaces and leave ink in the depressions or the relief method where its brayered onto the plates raised areas.

Once it’s all inked up through the press it goes and then the magic moment when the image is revealed!

I love that prints from the same plate can look so different depending on the colour of ink, the method of inking and the amount of wiping.

Of course I can’t resist adding pastel to some. This one was my first attempt at a reduction linocut and it wasn’t a great success but some pastel worked it’s magic and I was happy with the end result.

Mixed media- soft pastel over a reduction linocut print.

I’ve got a whole lot more experimenting to do but think I’ve found my new obsession for 2021!

Eco printing project

During this crazy time in the world my mum was self isolating and I decided to give her a box of eco printing supplies and instructions for her birthday because she was quite interested in it. It was a big success and started me thinking about expanding on it and writing the kind of book I was looking for when I started out on my own eco printing adventure.

A few month’s of intensive work and I finally finished it! It grew from an initial 40 pages to 100 and there is still more I could have included. I wanted to make it informative, useful and easy to navigate with all the basics and some more advanced techniques. I was sure there was a whole lot of people just like me who were looking for information in one concise book.

There’s no “secret” recipes or techniques here. It’s information I found through researching, experimenting and persisting over the last three or four years and anyone can do the same but it does take a lot of time to progress this way.

Yesterday I launched it in my Etsy shop and it immediately started to sell. I guess there are people out there just like me!

If you’re interested you can follow this link to my Etsy store Leaf and Print.

This will take you to the eBook in my Etsy shop Leaf and Print

It includes a whole lot of step by step projects and links to 5 videos and I was fully immersed in eco printing getting all the videos shot, and then sorting all the info, finding a good format and editing it . Here’s some of the projects.

Eco printing on wool

I’ve been discovering the joys of ecoprinting on vintage woolen blankets. I’d already been working with silk and cotton but had been wanting to try some wool which is either very expensive if new or difficult to find if recycled . Vintage blankets are a good way to get a decent amount of yardage at a reasonable price for the beginner. They’re hard to come by so when I get my hands on one it’s exciting planning what to make with it.

I’ve done capes…

and ponchos…

as well as bags and clutches…

I have two freshly washed and folded blankets sitting in my stash at the moment and I’ve been waiting impatiently to start layering them with leaves so tomorrow could be the day!

Has it been this long???

I can’t believe it’s been over 4 months since I last posted! What have I been doing with my time you might ask.

A big chunk of it was spent travelling to the US and Canada again . Some highlights were:

…. getting caught in the big Montana snowstorms which was a bit scary for someone who never drives in the snow. It was so beautiful and sureal it almost made up for the giant stress monster sitting in the pit of my stomach as I drove through the horizontal snowstorm.

Montana plains in the snow
Montana plains in the September snowstorms

There were some great moments with wildlife…

and I absolutely soaked up the autumn colours .

Grand Tetons in autumn
Grand Tetons in autumn reflected in the Snake River

Then there was the coast…even the overcast days couldn’t dampen my spirit as we hiked into Shi shi Beach and watched the big waves pounding in along the coast.

Shi Shi Beach
Shi Shi beach

I managed to get some painting in as well…my favourite time was in the misty rain at Heather Meadows. The colours seemed to really glow in the overcast conditions. It was cold but so lovely.

After we got home I was straight into an epic round of custom paintings for Christmas gifts which took me right up to a week before Christmas. I just finished my last order yesterday and for the first time in 5 months I have no commissions on my waiting list and the amount of time I have for other projects is pretty exciting!!!! Of course it won’t last so I’m planning on making the most of it. I’ve already been out foraging for leaves and doing some pre mordanting of my stash of fabrics ready for a bout of eco printing. I’ll keep you posted….

A bit of ecoprinting…

I’ve been dabbling with my eco printing again. I invested in some timber and built a small bench and shelves outside the laundry area so I can keep my soaking leaf collection and dye pots in some sort of order! It should be complete ORDER but I get too carried way with the excitement of making new discoveries and it all ends up bit of a jumble…still the new shelves do contain it somewhat.

I finally found a smoke bush tree in the neighbour’s garden and he kindly allowed me to harvest the autumn leaves so I dried then before we left on our travels and now I’m using them…I’m a bit like a miser slowly and grudgingly depleting my stockpile because they’re all I have until spring brings the new leaves…But am loving the results.

Eco print on silk
Smoke bush eco print on silk

I’ve also tried some natural cochineal dye which ended up giving a lovely watecolour effect when overprinted with leaves.

…and I collected onion skins for a few weeks and dyed some silk scarves with them…sunshine in a dyepot! Photos to come at a later date.

And let’s not forget the humble gum leaf which gives such lovely results when sandwiched between 2 silk scarves and steamed for an hour.

So not a lot of posting’s been going on but my dye pots have been getting a goodly amount of attention and I’m learning as I print and dye.

Some pages from my sketchbook

It’s been awhile since I posted so thought I would share a few pages from my current travel sketchbook. I’m swanning around the Mediterranean and Adriatic coasts for a few weeks and enjoying all the sun, sea and swimming. In between I’m snatching a few minutes to do some watercolour and ink sketches to remind me of the beautiful places I’ve been visiting on those cold winter days back in Tasmania!

This weeks eco printing

Silk scarf printed with gum leaves

I’ve spent a few days doing some eco printing this week. Mostly scarves and upcycled cotton tees. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve discovered some new ways to mordant to get different results so it’s been educational as well.

Here’s a few of my results

Silk scarf with gum leaves
Primrose leaf eco print on calico
Maple leaf on organic cotton tee
Rose leaves on silk scarf
Maple leaves on calico
Hakea leaves round neck and silver dollar gum leaves on cotton tee.
This time the silver dollar leaves printed green!

more eucalyptus leaves on silk

It was a fun week!!!

Now I have to soak some more leaves because I used them all up!

A colourful workshop

Longford View Pastel 48 x 15 cm

A couple of weekends ago I was a student at a Maxwell Wilks pastel workshop. I had a great time and broke out the hard pastels which was a bit of a novelty for me. Have never owned any Rembrandts before but bought a small box of half sticks and reallly enjoyed working with them. The tin of 24 Derwent hard sticks was a sensational buy – only $35Aus and I like them better than my conte sticks and MUCH better than those hard Faber Castels which just do not want to lay down any colour – well not for me anyway! Wish I’d bought the larger tin.

Also used the smooth side of Canson Mi Tientes ( not the gritty, textured paper) . I’ve used it occasionally in the past but was still surprised by how many layer of pastel it will take! I’ll be more prepared to use this paper in the future instead of always using my favouritre Colourfix textured paper. We used a lot of colour and everyone had a blast.

Note to self: take a few more workshops!

Th Pink Road Paste; 30 x 40 cm

Morning Shadows Pastel 48 x 30 cm

TEXTURE WITH GELS

I’ve been trying out a few new gels and pastes lately in my acrylic paintings and having some fun. Here’s a 30 x 30 cm canvas I just finished using some clear tar gel and molding paste to help create that tangle of flowers and weeds in the foreground. Will be trying a few more ways of using the gel I’m sure.

Desert blooms Acrylic on Canvas $200

Learn, create,share!

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