Sunday, 29 November 2020

getting to grips with Japanese Woodblock

 

making a start with the cutting
© Teresa Newham


November has been a busy and often chaotic time in the studio. I've been printing my Christmas cards - you can see some drying in the photo above - and I've been taking part in the Herts Visual Arts Christmas Showcase*, so I didn't expect to make much progress with my Japanese Woodblock project this month.


Transferring the design to the ply
© Teresa Newham


Luckily I've been able to break it down into small tasks: the first one was  to make the master tracing, which has to be completely accurate.  The next stage was to transfer the design to the three plywood blocks with carbon paper.  


the three blocks ready for cutting
© Teresa Newham


I've now started cutting the outline on the background block.  It's a very different technique to linocut; you hold the Hangito knife in your fist and pull it towards you, using just the tip.  I started with the background because I can either print it very faint or not use it at all, so my mistakes won't show.


the technique takes some getting used to . . .
© Teresa Newham

The plywood was easier to work with than I'd thought, and the Hangito fit my hand well.  My main problem was remembering which side of the line I was going to be clearing out, as the angle at which you hold the blade depends on this . . .


the hangito is used to outline each block
© Teresa Newham


Once I've cut the outline I shall clear a channel around the block using some of the other tools - which I haven't used at all yet - and then move on to the other two blocks.  With Christmas fast approaching, my time in the studio could be limited, so I've written myself some notes to remember when cutting!


writing myself instructions to come back to
© Teresa Newham

* The Herts Visual Arts Christmas Showcase runs until the end of December, with around fifty local artists taking part.  There's an online exhibition, live virtual demonstrations, and lots of seasonal inspiration as well as the opportunity to buy gifts. Follow us on social media for all the latest info.


Sunday, 15 November 2020

Lingering Light




lichen on a log
© Teresa Newham

 

As another lockdown loomed, a friend and I spent a sunny afternoon exploring a nearby golf course. Plenty of people were out and about, while the golfers themselves were making the most of their last chance to play for a month.  


fairy ring off the fairway
© Teresa Newham


We turned right along a bridle path to avoid them, and found toadstools curving around the base of some trees in a fairy ring. We carried on to Harpenden Common and returned through the Prickle Dells, where the fading sun lit up the oaks growing on the crazily undulating surface.


the Prickle Dells on the Common
© Teresa Newham


A few days later the fine weather tempted my husband and I down to the golf course again. This time no golfers were allowed, but there were throngs of people: families walking or cycling, dog walkers, everyone taking their daily exercise in household bubbles or with their one permitted friend.



low sun through trees
© Teresa Newham


We turned left this time, enjoying the last of the sunshine as we wandered around an area which we'd never visited before, and found some more toadstools; the red one with white spots is fly agaric, which always reminds me of the day when I had to sit on a pretend one while I was sworn in as a Brownie . . .



fly agaric - a "proper" toadstool
© Teresa Newham


Further on we found ourselves in the lanes, and took the long way home as the light faded and the temperature started to drop.  The last of the sun was still shining on the trees; every now and then a group of walkers emerged from a footpath, dogs or children in tow.  It was a beautiful afternoon.



late sun on trees, Ayres End 
© Teresa Newham


We have some lovely scenery in this part of Hertfordshire, and, weather permitting, we hope to go further afield as Winter approaches. There's always somewhere new to discover; plenty of paths not yet taken.  Who knows where we might end up?


Hertfordshire sunset
© Teresa Newham