I’m currently in an online art exhibition called Mixtape No. 1 with several of my abstract monotypes.
Have a look, there are an incredibly eclectic mix of images in this virtual show. If you look at them, try to do it on a decent size screen. Your phone won’t do them justice. There are links to all the artist websites or IG pages after the online slide show. I’m working my way through them slowly. The point of this is of course to sell art, so here’s my shameless promotional link! Click on an image to be taken to the shop. (Not all of them are online yet.)
Don’t just look at my work. This virtual art show is about generating exposure, building recognition. So, make sure you look at the other work and the artist’s web pages. The range of work included in the show is truly remarkable. There are almost 200 pieces by about 40 artists. Make sure you check out the work of Sean Worrall and Emma Harvey, who have put the whole thing together – and 178 others since 2017!
During the pandemic, many mainstream galleries mounted virtual exhibitions, but this is the only one of which I’m aware that gives space to unrepresented artists, the artists who make work simply because they can.
Mobility problems have kept me out of my home studio for months. I haven’t entirely wasted my time, as previous posts about my writing testify. Even so, I really wanted to be doing more than staring at a computer screen. There is something about making things with your own hands that is always appealing. The way I work means that the piece emerges slowly. There is something almost magical in the way a collection of pigments on paper can suddenly snap into focus as a finished piece of original art. This is what draws me to printmaking.
The first day back was a bit of a disaster, it was almost as if I had forgotten what to do. Day two went much better, and I ended up with new work in the form of several small monotype prints. In case the word ‘print’ concerns you, it shouldn’t in this case. Every monotype is an original work of art. Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion about prints. I’ve posted already on this, which is worth reading if you find the language used by galleries to sell art confusing
I always start small when coming back after a long gap. It is very easy to become overwhelmed otherwise. Actually, I enjoy working that way. There is a jewel like quality to small original art works., especially when put into generous mounts. They have an added advantage of course of being very affordable, which these days is an important consideration.
I’ve added some of the prints I made to the shop. The rest will be added soon.
As I said in my last post, I used to have an online business on Etsy, known as Panchromatica Designs, selling reproductions of vintage illustrations. At its peak, I had about 600 items in that shop.
These included :
ocean liner postcards,
fashion plates and,
a huge variety of other materials.
The listed items were only a fraction of what I had available. You can get a small taste from the WordPress blog I set up, also called Panchromatica Designs, although all the Etsy links are of course broken.
I closed the business to concentrate on my own work, but still have all the files. I’m intending to sell a selection of these vintage illustrations here, but only as part of a wider strategy focussing on B2B. Images I sold through Etsy were used in locations as varied as pubs, escape rooms and even tattoo parlours. The range I have is equally suitable for B&Bs, guest houses, reception areas or any public facing area.
Items listed here will be for sale at retail prices, but the wider range will be available on wholesale terms. I will have a wholesale price list and line sheet available soon. If you think I can help you in the meantime, please get in touch.
This is the first of a planned series of posts about making stencils for gel printing using a digital cutter. In my case it is a Cricut Maker, but the principles are general.
Making colour separations
These stencils came out of some thoughts I had about making silk screen versions of my gel prints. I was hoping to use colour separations. This is the process by which original full-colour digital files are separated into individual colour components for four-colour process printing. Every element in the file is printed in a combination of four colours: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. This is known as CMYK in the world of commercial printing and in silk screen printing. This isn’t an original idea, of course. Anyone familiar with Matisse will almost certainly be aware of his stunning cutouts, but may not be aware that they were also published in silk screen versions.
I began with a scan from one of my prints. I created the CMYK colour separations with Paint Shop Pro (from now on PSP). Unfortunately, I no longer have access to screen beds, so this is currently not an option. In practice, I don’t think I’m fit enough any more, to spend several hours pulling ink through the screens. However, having already used scans of pen drawings to make stencils, I decided to experiment with these separations. The print I’m using here is called ‘Area 52’, available from my shop.
The image below is an example of one of the colour separations. This is from the magenta colour channel. In this form, it clearly can’t be used directly to make a stencil suitable for gel printing.
Simplifying the file
To create a version that can be cut as a stencil, it needs to be much simplified. I did this using various tools in PSP, which led to this. (More details of the process by which I did this, will be in later posts. If you can’t wait though, get in touch and I’ll try to help.)
PSP allows me to digitally recombine these simplified images, which led in turn to this image. This is closer to what you would get with screen printing, but is useful to visualise the outcome.
However, just because a file is called magenta, doesn’t mean that it has to be used that way. PSP allows me to digitally recombine the image files in any order. With four files to combine, there are 24 possible combinations, so this one below is just one. It helps to make a point though. When the stencils are cut and used to make gel prints, you have complete freedom in the colour you use.
In the real, as opposed to the digital world, there are other variables. Varying the opacity of the paint used, and varying the order in which you use the stencil, will also give different results.
Finally, just as an experiment, here is a combination image using CYMK files from two different images. I’ve included it just to make the point that once you have the stencil you have complete freedom in their use.
In many ways, this last image is analogous to making a collagraph print from multiple plates. I have experimented with this many times in the past.
A bit late but I’m part of this show. If you can’t make that we’ll also be at the Black Swan Art Boot sale in Frome, Somerset on 8th July. That’s a great place to find a huge variety of work and Frome is worth a trip anyway.
Because I couldn’t stand at the press for quite a while (see the previous post for why), I also made some small collage pieces. These have no particular theme, they are just playing with the medium.
All are available in my Etsy shop here (£25.00 each, matted to fit a 10″ x 8″ frame – see the listing for full details):
This link to an Etsy search on ‘mixed media collage’ also brings up some other items including a number from my ‘Made to Music’ series (£15 for unmatted, £30 matted – see the listing for full details – and making me realise that I’ve worked this way on several occasions.
I have another series called ‘Around Avebury’, which has yet to be added to the Etsy shop. These are all in handmade oak frames. You can find these on my Portfolio Pages.
I generally want to concentrate on my hand pulled prints in this blog, but this digital print is one of my most popular pieces. I think it captures bright, cheerful, sunny days by the sea, just like the work of Beryl Cook and Donald McGill. I’ll be adding it to my Etsy shop soon.
A collagraph print called ‘Upper Teesdale’. It is part of a series of prints evoking memories of landscapes and places experienced in the past. These formed the core of a show called ‘The Landscape of Memory’ that I self curated at the Black Swan Art Centre in Frome. It has not been produced as an edition, each print being treated as a monoprint.