Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Printing Again

I've been doing a lot of lino printing in the last 4 years.  I put it down to favourable conditions!  My kitchen it perfectly suited to lino printing - I know it sounds weird, but its true.  We have a very rustic farm kitchen, complete with woodfired Rayburn stove (its my only stove - no electric oven or hotplates to fall back on).  The benches are Tasmanian Oak and are in "used" condition, so I don't feel precious about them.  But the real clincher is the granite slab at one end of the bench right next to the stove.  Its very practical for so many things, but it also makes a fabulous surface to roll out the ink on for lino printing.  So, printing has been a fairly regular part of my life for the last few years.  

Towards the end of last year, while I was doing some "routine" printing of some images of a scarlet robin that lives around the house, I had the idea of making some Christmas cards for friends and family.  By the time Christmas was over, I had enough cards left over to start an online shop.  It has snowballed and I now find myself printing even more regularly to keep up stock.  Its also nice to have an outlet for all this printing activity.  So much of the printing I've done has yet to find its way out of the studio, but the online shop is great for giving me a bit of focus.  I'm really enjoying it.

I'm very excited about this lot of images.  I'm beginning a new series of native flowers.  Some of them are based on flowers that we grow on our farm.  Click on the link if you want to check it out.  We grow proteas, and many of our Australian Native flowers are actually from the protea family.  There are banksias, and waratahs, and grevilleas.   It's almost wattle season here and I just LOVE wattle - so I've done a wattle print too.  I'm now waiting for the ink to dry so I can play with the prints - winter is not good for drying time.  I have to be patient.

Here's a few pictures of the process.

And my favourite part - the colouring with watercolour!  It just makes the whole image come to life.
The wattle cards will be in my shop today.  I'm still waiting for the Banksia's to dry!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Landscape Project

So far, I've been able to keep up with this project I set for the winter months!  I'm feeling quite pleased with myself! Some drawings have been more detailed and I've worked over them for a couple of days in a row, while others are quick sketches.  One thing I have noticed is that I find myself wishing I was painting sometimes, instead of drawing.  The brush seems to be able to describe shape and texture more efficiently than the pencil at times.  Or maybe I've just been painting so much in the last few years that it is my default setting for describing landscape in 2D.  

Anyway, its an ongoing thing, and I'm really enjoying it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Trash or Treasure

My daughter is doing a photography course at college and needed to take a roll of film for a landscape project. The teacher suggested old farmhouses or buildings set in the landscape.   Our local area is rich in material for such a project - we have so many beautiful historic sites - Port Arthur is the most famous.  Recently it and another historic site nearby, the Coal Mines, were given world heritage status - a big deal! There are many other historic sites around the Tasman Peninsula.  Some beautiful spots are the many old cemeteries.  

But this day we decided to explore in our own backyard.  Our neighbour has a very old farm house in her peony paddock that dates back to the mid 1800's.  It was the original farm house for the land we live on.  Of course, I had to tag along because ... well ... because I can't resist an opportunity to take a photo or 10!

It was all very exciting, and we were having a ball, but it was when we stepped inside that the excitement went to a whole new level!  Wow!  It was as if someone had walked out of the house 30 years ago, and it was all still there.  The place was packed with items from the years this old house had been inhabited.  

An old chair has been repaired!

An ivy vine has grown through cracks in the walls and is thriving inside the front room, growing up over bookcases and old boxes.

In some parts, the house is in danger of being swallowed by vegetation.  It always amazes me how tenuous our grip on civilization is.  It only takes a few seasons of neglect for plants to reclaim the land.  
I don't know what it is about old things.  To some people its rubbish - to some its treasure.  I'm one of those who thinks its treasure.  It was definitely a fun afternoon!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Winter Project

Welcome to winter!  I know a lot of people complain about the chilly season, but I am one of those annoying people who love it!  I really can't understand how sunny weather is the only weather that can be appreciated.  Maybe I just don't feel the cold as much as others? Anyway, I love winter because its beautiful, moody and great for focusing on the inside stuff.  It can be so productive!  

And that brings me to my winter project.  I intend to be productive this winter so I have decided to do a project to keep me on track.  I am going to do a landscape drawing a day for the three months of winter.  It should get me into a disciplined drawing regime, and I am sure that it will give me new directions too.    I am determined that I will not get disappointed if I miss a day.  That is where these things always go wrong for me!  The most important thing is to create some momentum.  Life can be very challenging with my family, especially with caring for a baby with a medical condition, so I have to be kind to myself.  

So, in the interests of creating some accountability, I am going to blog my drawings!  Here are some of the first few days of June.