Saturday, 30 September 2017


I've had a lovely surprise today.  I was en route from my 'day job' over to Birmingham, just about to tuck into a cheese and onion toastie when I got a 'ping' on my mobile, a missed call that turned out to be the RBSA letting me know that my linocut 'Urban Meadow' had sold. A really lovely surprise and a confidence booster, something which I seem to need as much as other people require caffeine.

It was part of an exhibition called Metropolis which finishes today.  I went along to see it on Thursday and really enjoyed the mix of styles and interpretations of the theme.  There were some lovely figurative watercolours and oils, some very skillful and moody black and white pencil drawings, some interesting abstracts, sculptures in stone, a lovely display of textile work arranged beautifully on the top floor of the gallery, as well as some beautiful prints, which I'm particularly interested in at the moment as I have spent most of this year learning the art of the linocut.  There was a very nice woodcut by Margot Bell of Canary Wharf which I spent a while looking at.  My favourite however was probably the least 'urban' scene, it was a lovely acrylic painting of the ICC Birmingham from the Library Roof by Paula Hamilton.  I really like Paula Hamilton's work and always seek it out when I go to the RBSA as she often has something in the open exhibitions.  I think she won the Prize exhibition a few years ago.  Lovely colourful, sensitive, organic work which I find really uplifting to look at.

On my way across town to the station I walked through St Paul's Square.  Many years ago as an unemployed twenty something I ate sandwiches and drank pop in the peace of this lovely old churchyard.  Birmingham feels like a very different place these days.  Grand Central, where I mistakenly wandered in search of something from a store there, is a nightmare for me.  Fritz Lang might have made something of a futuristic nightmare of it.  It's certainly not my idea of fun.  I like to see the sky without a frame around it and breath real air. 

The trees in St Paul's Square were just turning autumnal and I took a few pictures on my phone.  When I got home I couldn't get their beauty out of my head. A remnant of the old Birmingham before it had a multi-million pound roof put over it.  And I began a new linocut inspired by it.

It's another reduction linocut, an edition of 8.  I'm aiming to make it 'painterly', and started by inking part of the plate so that the paper elsewhere is clean for when I start to apply the 'autumnal' colour.

The second inking is again only in the top part of the paper, and the church starts to come into view.  Next I'm going to add some green areas - still yet un-autumnal leaves and the grass in the middle ground.

It's a 6 inch by 8 inch print on A4 Fabriano paper.  I'm aware that my linocuts are not as polished as other artists' work, this is partly due to the hand pressing.  I press all of my linocuts with the back of a spoon and a bamboo baren, and also the side of my hand.  I have still to buy a press, but I'm restricted by the amount of space I work in.  Maybe sometimes these restrictions can be a positive force for creativity.  It pays sometimes to be restricted in some way as it gives the imagination something to struggle with.  

I have got an idea however of how I can work larger, and hopefully I'll blog more about this later, when I actually get around to doing it!