‘English Bulldog’ open edition relief print now available

My latest commission is not a Christmas present, so I can share Huey the English Bulldog in all his handsome glory.

I’m excited to show you this print as it’s by far and away my most ambitious yet.

I loved cutting every single one of Huey’s hairs—which is lucky because there were a LOT of hairs to cut on this block!—and most of all relished capturing his expression.

Black and white relief printing is a pretty exacting medium; there’s no colour to hide behind and you’re left with just mark making to show reflections in the eyes, how muscles look under the skin, and in which direction the hair grows.

I think this is why I love it so much, it’s just me, the “sitter” (good sit, Huey, good boy!), the lino, and my trusty tools.

Huey’s owner has very kindly given me permission to sell prints of this handsome boy, if you’d like your very own English Bulldog print.

If you’d like to discuss a commission for yourself, please contact me and we can have a chat about subject matter, prices, and timescales.

‘Patterdale Terrier’ open edition relief print now available

My first commission, Scrumpy the Patterdale Terrier, made someone cry... in a good way! I’m glad this print reminds her Mum of a special little dog with a BIG character every day when she looks at this print.

Best of all, her owner is happy for me to remove the name from the tag and sell further prints from this block, so head over to the gallery if you need a Patterdale Terrier print in your life!

If you’d like to discuss a commission, please contact me and we can have a chat about subject matter, prices, and timescales.

‘Muzzle Nuzzle’ open edition relief print now available

If you love the feel of a warm velvety nose in your hand, or you know someone who does, I have the perfect print for you!

I've just listed an open edition of a new print inspired by exactly that moment, called ‘Muzzle Nuzzle’ which is now availablefor £25 + £5 (p+p).

These are original handmade prints, but the thing about open edition prints is I can print as many as I need, so they are more affordable than limited edition prints whose prices are driven upwards by the fact there will only ever be x in the edition.

‘Alert’ – Limited Edition Relief Print

A black and white relief print of a male starling. He’s standing on some old, weathered wood. His wings are tucked but he is alert, and his head feathers are raised. Whatever he is looking at is out of the image and he is facing right to look at it. Perhaps he’s spotted a chunk of fat ball another bird has missed, or another starling has decided to join his feast.

Inspiration

I’ve spent a long time this spring watching the starlings picking through the lawn looking for invertebrates. They’re so gregarious and gently quarrelsome.

I love the iridescent colours of their feathers and the tawny coloured arrowheads at the tips.

It’s sad that although still relatively common in gardens, these glorious little birds have declined so much elsewhere that they are Red Listed.

The UK Red List for birds keeps track of how different species are doing, and any birds that are rated red are in need of urgent action. Shockingly, one in four of our birds is now on that list, 67 species in total.

Source: RSPB website

Design

Here’s the drawing transferred to the block (in reverse), ready for me to start cutting.

The drawing transferred (in reverse) to the linoleum block, ready to start cutting

Here’s the block inked up for the first time, ready for me to pull a proof and see what more I need to do to the block to make it print just so.

A black and white relief printing block which has been inked up for the first time. The block is of a male starling. He’s standing on some old, weathered wood. His wings are tucked but he is alert, and his head feathers are raised.

I’m not sure if the paper I use will take any kind of water based colour but once the prints are dry I might have a bit of a play with the test prints to see whether I can get away with it!

A black and white relief print of a male starling. He’s standing on some old, weathered wood. His wings are tucked but he is alert, and his head feathers are raised. Whatever he is looking at is out of the image and he is facing right to look at it. Perhaps he’s spotted a chunk of fat ball another bird has missed, or another starling has decided to join his feast.

If you would like to buy one of these prints, be quick as there are only 30 in the edition!

A close-up look at the texture of a relief printing block

The texture created in the surface of a relief printing block. The cut away parts are stained dark grey while the surface has become almost the colours of brass.

Would you look at that texture!

Usually a plate looks pretty bad once it’s been cleaned a few times but the plate for ‘The Listening Post’ looks like oxidised metal on a bronze sculpture.

This zoomed in photo of the block gives you a good idea of the marks I used to make the barn owl’s feathers in this print. Most of them are tiny and this close up they look pretty abstract but zoom out a bit and you have an owl!

The Listening Post (close up view two)

‘The Listening Post’ is available to purchase, but it is an edition of just 40, so when they’re gone, they’re gone!

The Listening Post

Jazz Hands! (Or how I keep your prints oil-free)

These are my print handling gloves. They’re simple white cotton gloves and they stop any oil from my hands transferring to the prints while I’m handling them.

This post is brought to you through the medium of expressive mime...

These are my print handling gloves. They’re simple white cotton gloves and they stop any oil from my hands transferring to the prints while I’m handling them.

It’s all part of making my work as archival and lasting as possible; give it a few years and your investment still won’t have any sticky paw prints on it.

And yes, once they are donned it is almost impossible to resist doing a fake tap dance and making “jazz hands”! 😂

Do I ever use colour?

A very small pastel painting of bluebells carpeting the ground beneath three copper beech trees sporting their dark red new leaves. In the back ground are flowering shrubs and trees.

‘Bluebells, Coles’
2.5 x 3.5in (ACEO size)
Soft pastel on UArt paper

The weather is cold and grey today but it won’t be long before the bluebells are carpeting the beech woods with wave after floral wave of delicately scented colour.

This is a teeny, tiny pastel painting I did on UArt paper with the most delicious soft pastel set made by Sennelier.

You thought there was no colour in my art, right?!

Well, part of the joy of linocutting my way is the challenge of representing a world filled with colour and tone using just one colour and making a variety of marks to suggest tone.

When colour is removed the viewer focuses on the textures, shapes and subject matter instead.

The measure of productivity

A black and white photo of a small shallow ceramic dish full of lino cuttings. These are like carrot or potato peelings, but on a much smaller scale since many were made with tools under 1mm across

A day’s productivity pile before /\
.
.
.
... and after \/

A black and white photo of a small shallow ceramic dish that is now emptied and contains no lino cuttings so the rake fired pattern on the inside is now satisfyingly visible

I must confess that I don’t always manage to corral my lino cuttings into a small shallow ceramic dish.

Usually, I’m so focussed on cutting that bits can be found all over the bench (and me... and the floor... several rooms away)!

But stopping to put them into a dish means less mess, and I get to empty it at the end of the day and enjoy the raku fired pattern on the inside of the now satisfyingly empty dish.

Best Ever Testimonial

Handwritten note from my youngest collector that reads, "Thank you for the lovely otter picter [sic]. It is so adorable I also really [pen colour changes] liked the card it was so funny (I have changed pen) do you like my — [drawing of a cetacean with "whale" written inside it] or dolphin [nineteen X for kisses] Loads of love frome [sic]"

There was a thread over on Twitter about best ever feedback or testimonial.

For me, it has to be this one, which is from my youngest collector who is nine years old and had just received an otter print.

You, too, can own an otter print that I hope will bring you as much joy as it for a budding art collector!

The ‘Instruments of Hope’ Series of Relief Prints

A linocut relief print of a retro chrome microphone gleaming under studio lights.

...And now for something a little bit different!

My other half is an ardent gig-goer. In ordinary times, he is out at gigs two, three or sometimes even more times a week.

He really missed seeing new and familiar artists at his favourite venues in 2020 and we know many of those grassroots music venues were already struggling before the virus threw a massive spanner in the works.

So, for his birthday, I made him this print. I told him he could either a) own the only print ever, and I would destroy the plate afterwards (yes, I love him that much!) or...

b) he could have a print and I would sell the rest as an open edition with £5 from every sale going to his favourite music venue(s).

“Better than that,” he said, “could it go to the Music Venue Trust?”

Music Venue Trust logo in black and white
Save Our Venues - The Red List is a national initiative launched by the MVT to prevent the permanent closure of music venues most at risk due to the Covid crisis.

During the last 8 months, Music Venue Trust and Crowdfunder have worked together to prevent the closure of hundreds of grassroots music venues. With no end to the crisis in sight, we are now refocusing that work to spotlight those venues under most imminent threat of permanent closure. The #SaveOurVenues Red List highlights the grassroots music venues at most risk.

We’ve checked all the available funding, financial support, furlough schemes, business support for these venues, and what is on offer is not enough to prevent them being lost. These 30 venues are on the Critical List and need your help.

These grassroots venues play a crucial role in the development of British music, nurturing local talent, providing a platform for artists to build their careers and develop their music and their performance skills. These venues also play a vital role in the cultural and economic vibrancy of any village, town or city.

Once I'd realised the scale of the task the MVT was facing, one print became two prints and soon enough I'd put a whole band of prints together! We want to make sure that when everyone can get out gigging again, there are places to do it, so we hope that the 'Instruments of Hope' prints series will help the MVT support grassroots music venues.

Do head on over to the gallery page if you’d like to buy one the prints in the series and help keep grass roots music venues open.

Please Note: Donations to the Music Venue Trust will be made privately by me as an individual from sales of this print.

A suggested arrangement of black and white relief prints of a retro microphone, a black semi-acoustic guitar, a keyboard, a bass guitar, and a snare drum with brushes. Each print is A5 in size and has a narrow black border. They are in slightly wider black “frames” the size of the paper (A4). They are arranged in the same manner as the five dots on a dice; two at the top (mic, portrait; keys, landscape), one in the middle (guitar, portrait), and two at the bottom (drum, landscape; bass headstock, portrait).