Saturday, March 31, 2012


This is the kind of subject which evokes the romantic English Summer Idyll. Country folk working in the  fields or more likely today a country gentleman in tweeds with shotgun and dog out to bag a rabbit or two.

I'm not a romantic. I'm more excited by my current enthusiasm - which is wildlife.  So I've added three rabbits making the most of the day before scurrying off to the safety of their burrows.

This will be the last of my Spring Exhibition entries. I've given it the quite mundane title of 'Evening: Teme Valley at Ashford Bowdler.' Still regret not calling it 'The Last Of The Summer Wine.'


Trevor Chamberlain is probably best known for his watercolours mostly done out of doors. There is another side to his artistic creativity which to me is just as inspiring and this is the way he paints quick oil sketches using a small pochard box. Very often these are quite small 7"x10" or 12" x 14."

Back in 2006 Halsgrove published a book 'Trevor Chamberlain: England and Beyond' that I couldn't resist. I was looking through it recently when I turned up this acrylic painting that I intend to show at the LAS Spring exhibition. I've tried to capture the same feeling created by TC's pochades. A loosely applied acrylic primer ground and forms expressed by means of colour rather than detail.

I'm not fully happy with it - it needs figures or something for foreground interest. TC uses figures - harvesting rice in Northern Iran or men cutting Brussels Sprouts. Farm workers in the fields is a motif which goes back to the 19th Century 19th Century Barbizon School - Millet 'The Gleaners.' - but I've only ever seen heavy machinery in use on these fields.

Can't explain the title either!

Monday, March 19, 2012

WOODCUTS - Little Terns

Woodcuts are a form of block printing where the raised surfaces of the block receive the ink to be printed on paper. Usually only two or three coloured inks are used. In ‘Little Terns’ a yellow ochre, a blue grey, and black are used. Printers inks are transparent so it is possible to create two or more colours by over printing. In this case ochre over blue then grey over the  ochre/blue.

I’m guessing but it seems to me that the White areas were cut away first then a light blue ink was applied to the raised areas and printed. The artist had decided on an edition of 100 so the first  colour would be printed 100 times.

 Next the lightest blue areas would be cut away and the ochre area printed. At this stage the main shapes of the composition would be established. There would be more cutting away to leave darker parts of the terns and the isolated shadow areas raised. These would be overprinted again with a slightly darker shade of grey.

Finally the whole block would be levelled just leaving the black areas of the birds and the border raised up. A final print of black ink finishes the job.

Friday, March 16, 2012

LITTLE TERNS: Woodcut print

Our holiday at Aldeburgh last summer coincided with an exhibition of watercolours and prints by Robert Greenhalf SWLA in a local gallery. I only knew his work from illustrations and reviews so it was good to see original work in a well-arranged exhibition. I made two visits and decided that if I had any holiday money to spare I would buy a painting.

Well choosing was difficult but I decided that the watercolours were well beyond the £200 I was prepared to spend.. That narrowed the field to the woodcuts. Some were on sale framed at £150. Others mounted but unframed were offered at £90. That meant that I could afford two prints and have change from my £200.

My favourite is the woodcut of Little Terns which I mounted and framed myself