International Print Exchange 2018 and New York screen-print

After spending most of the summer on crutches and away from the print workshop, I got back in to the workshop in time to do a print for the annual International print exchange (IPE) run by the Greendoor print workshops in Derby. This is now the 5th time I have entered a print in to this exchange.

The print I entered was a cross section of a larger print I had completed at the beginning of the year called New York #5. New York #5 was a print I had played around with to enter the RA summer show exhibition (unfortunately, It did not make the final cut). It is a large screen-print, roughly about A1 size with 9 layers of colour. I have printed one main edition (25) and several colour variations in two print editions. It was a lot of fun printing a cityscape, the first one I have done in a long time.

The fun part about the IPE is always getting the prints that have been sent to you through the post and opening it up to see what you have received. This year there were 236 artists involved from 22 countries. I received prints from Japan, Poland, India, USA and the UK.



Wedding 2017

I didn’t blog at all last year, I guess in the craziness that was 2017 it slipped my mind.

I apologise now for the long post.

Wedding stuff

The vast majority of my creative output was directed towards my wedding, which had a very personal/home made feel about it.

One of the things I spent a lot of time doing was making the decorations for the village hall we had rented. The decorations that I made were several simple origami designs which involved creating a Constantine like model which was sewed together to create a ball like product.

To create lots of different variations I screen-printing different colours and patterns on to pieces of heavy cartridge paper before I then scored, punched, creased, folded and then finally sewed/glued the pieces to finish the product.

Although simple it was a very time consuming process and over about 4/5 months I made about 600 pieces of varying shapes sizes and colours (with a little help from my mum and a few work colleagues).

The end result was better than I could have imagined. I strung them up alongside fairy lights, criss-crossed across and around the hall to create a really special environment which I though looked super cool, and helped finish the hall off in a unique and personal way.

There were other personalised touches such as the table names which were animals which had significant meaning to me and my wife. My friend David Bunn drew illustrations of these animals which were then turned into screen-prints for table plan, table cards and thank you cards. All aspects of our wedding stationary from the save the dates, to the menus to the name place cards were designed by my wife and then screen-printed by myself to give it that handmade touch and continuity in style and look.




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International Print Exchange 2016

One of my favorite events each year is to get involved with Green Door Printmaking Studio‘s International Print Exchange (IPE).
This year my contribution was a small 2 colored screen-print entitled ‘donald’. Last week was the opening of the exhibition of 189 printmakers work from 23 different countries, so if you are in the Derby area please check it out!

One of the best things about the exchange is getting your box of prints delivered through the post and getting a variety of different prints and styles from other artists around the world. This year I got prints from Amanda Lawler (aus), Fiona Mill (uk), Harriet Brigdale (uk),Vivian Kersey (uk), Suzan Ehtiati (iran), Kheria Masoumeh (iran), Emma Jane Lawton (spain) and Penelope Stewart (canada).


Textile Pattern Print Jan 2016

I used this same pattern for the screen-printed deck chair I contributed MMU’s school of art RHS flower show stand in the summer.

I wanted to screen-print the pattern on to a length of fabric so I could use the material for some other projects I have in mind. Usually I am a paper printer foremost, so it was new experience setting up the material (a heavy cotton/satin) on to the table and registering a repeat pattern for 10-metre length print.

This time I chose a more subtle colour scheme (blue theme), using the pigment binder to thin down the colour to a very pale version of the original dark blue.

Below: pictures of setting up, progress and printing in action.

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Summer 2015: Deckchairs@ RHS flower show Tatton Park.

It has been a quiet summer for me printmaking wise, due to a sporting accident that led to surgery on my thumb. Very frustrating as it has hampered my ability to do as much printmaking as I would have liked.

One project I worked on alongside fellow colleagues from the school of art in Manchester was to create a unique deckchair design (using old disused deckchairs) for a display at the RHS flower show at Tatton Park.

I decided in my usual manner to go for something, which would ‘stand out’ which meant bold, bright and vibrant! Using a basic pattern repeated, i printed a bright red fluro ink fading in to lighter tones on to a heavy canvas, which i then attached to the deckchair frame. Check out the pics below!

a couple of links with some more info about MMU school of art @The RHS flower show.

Grosvenor Museum Chester 11th Open Art Exhibition

Just a quick one, I have been successful in getting two screen-prints ‘Firemountain’ and a new piece ‘Kilimanjaro’ in to an open art exhibition at the Grosvenor Museum Chester. The show is running until the 17th of June and having visited it already, I can recommend that if you are in Chester it would defiantly be worth popping in to see. There is an interesting mixture of mediums and styles on show. For more info visit the info page here.

Below: Me having a a nosy at my ‘firemountain’ print.


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Green Door print studios International Print Exchange 2014

For the second year running, I have entered a mini print edition into the International Print Exchange. The exchange is held annually at the Green Door print studios Derby. Originally I had intended to do one of my multi-layer screen-prints, but due to time constraints I opted to make a small white-line style woodcut.

White-line style woodcuts are a slightly different way of producing a woodcut in comparison to traditional methods. Popularised by the Provincetown printmakers, white-line style is a simpler way of producing coloured woodcuts without the need to produce a separate ‘block’ for each individual colour. Instead, the woodcut is hand painted with colour before printing using the groove that has been cut away as a barrier between different plains on the block, once printed the cut away areas do not print leaving the distinct white-lines, which give this woodcut process its name.

I have done a few white line style woodcut prints in the past. Most of these prints have been an abstract style. I have an ongoing side project, which I call ‘my eyes think differently’. My approach to these pieces is very different to that of my screen prints. My screen-prints are all very deliberate and I am very calculated in what I do when it comes to designing them and printing them. The ‘my eyes think differently’ work is all very spontaneous. The designs are created almost impulsively to create an abstract construction of random shapes and marks.

For the exchange I used a little piece of plywood to do my print, and very quickly drew a design and refined it to my final drawing. Using very fine v shaped groove gouges I carved a very clean and shallow groove along my drawn lines. Once I have carved the wood cut I then apply shellac which is a type of varnish to seal the wood. I can then start to print the woodcut once the shellac is dry.

Like the providence town printers I do not use a normal printing ink, I in fact use watercolour paint. Once I settled on a selection of colours, I will begin to print the woodcut by printing each little piece of the image at a time. By applying the watercolour and quickly folding a hinged piece of paper over the ink and burnishing (rubbing) the back of the paper to transfer the colour to the paper I can build my image and colours up slowly. Getting the consistency of the watercolour right is important, if it is too watery and the ink the colour will bleed, to thick and it will dry out to quickly. Speed is the essence when doing a print like this because the watercolour will dry very quickly on the woodcut.

Unlike a normal woodcut the printing part is usually always done in one go, but a white line style cut is done over a period. For my small image, it was taking about 30mins of inking and burnishing to complete one image. The photos show the progression of adding each colour and building the image up to completion.

The IPE 2014 exchange is running from the 14th October to the 10th November @ the green door printmaking studio, the bank mill studios Derby UK. More info can be found here at the official page

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‘wheelfield’ screenprint @Green Pea Press Print Exchange June 2014

So recently, I have contributed an edition of work to the green pea press print exchange (Alabama US). I am finding the exchanges that I have entered a great way to try out some new ideas and things that have been in the back of my mind for a while. The theme for the exchange was green, and quite quickly I fitted this to an idea.

‘wheelfield’ is a screen-print which similar my tulip series. It is based on aerial images of fields that are centrally irrigated. These when flying above these fields (you may notice them when you are in a plane flying over a hot country) you will notice how round and geometric they seem to be, and how much greener they tend to be from the surrounding area.

My design is particularly geometric and deliberately has an optical effect that draws your attention and messes with your perception a little. In a way it is a tribute to some of the first screen-prints I ever made, when I had an interest in op art.

Designing this image, I had produced four different designs for the final layer of the print (the black circles) I wanted to see which design looked best in the proofs that I made. I also played around with the colours whist proofing, using colours, which reflected the theme. I printed a few different variations of colour, trying to work on getting the greens to fade in to a more yellowish/green colour. Once I was happy with the colours I had mixed, I printed my edition on fabriano tiepolo paper (size 17.5cm*17.5cm).

The edition was eight prints for the main design for the exchange, but I also printed three smaller editions of four with the excess prints I had made using the other designs, which I did not use for the main print.


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Firemountain screen-print feb/march 2014.

Background: A few years ago, I travelled to Namibia for a few weeks for one of those holidays that you will never forget. Namibia is full of amazing scenery landscapes and people. During our travels (we toured around the whole country), we drove in to the middle of nowhere to do some ‘wild’ camping at the base of the famous Brandberg Mountain. If you look of google maps at the aerial view of the Brandberg, you will understand why it is so interesting. It sticks out of the flat desert plains like a barnacle sticks of the back of a mussel shell.

It really is an impressive mountain especially when we were driving up to it, and even more so in the evening when the sunset and the light glowed and reflected of the red sandy coloured rocks giving the mountain an exaggerated orangey red colour and the sky tinges of oranges reds and pinks. The sky is something else, which is extremely beautiful in Namibia in the evenings, with there being virtually no light pollution; the clear night sky becomes a Christmas tree of twinkling stars.

Since this holiday, I have only done one piece of work based on the pictures of this trip (above and below – quiver tree 2012). The pictures I had of the Brandberg and landscape was perfect for what I wanted to achieve. Landscape is always been something that has interested me, but when it has come to screen-printing it has been something I have neglected, for some reason I have always chosen to do cityscapes rather than landscape. In the past when I did a lot, more painting it was the other way round, I preferred to paint the landscape.

Getting down to business for this print was easy, the design process was painless and I did not have too many problems coming up with my design and layers. I knew that this image would have a massive emphasis on the sky with most of the image using the gradient effect of that I have come to use to depict the sky. I wanted the colours to reflect the clear nights that we encountered, but also to help blend it in to the glowing red of the mountains. The mountains were composed of several layers built up on top of each other, the selection of colour, the mixing of colour was particularly important, and I wanted to exaggerate the reds and oranges to give a bold and vibrant feature at the bottom of the print. The stars I added were an afterthought, but were important as it reinforced the memories that I have of this particular place.

This print has taken over the beginning part of my year. Other projects that I have on the go have been put on hold whilst I have completed it. I haven’t printed too many images or variations neither, just a couple of small editions.


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Autumn Update: Mini Print Exhibition update, new Lovell prints and new works!

I’ve been very quiet on my updates recently so here a new blog on what I’ve been up to and what’s on the cards in the next few months.

Over the summer there were 2 mini print exchange exhibitions that I have entered prints into. The exhibitions have been up and running, one at ARTspace in Ontario Canada, and another at the Greendoor printmakers in Derby England. Judging by the photo albums I have seen on facebook (artspace1 artspace2 green door1) they have been a success and I hope to get down to the one in Derby before it closes. Even more excitingly I have received my print box sets back for both. I was really pleased to receive a selection of different types of prints which have been printed in a variety of methods and styles.

The mini prints that I did were always intended to be the foundation for a larger print. I have completed two variations each in an edition of 10. I completed these over the September/October period and after playing around with some colours and a few of the layers I settled on 2 colour schemes that I liked. I added a few extra layers to the sky to build up the ‘noise’ and to knock back some of the brighter colours.  I had also adjusted some of the tonal layers to be more pixelated and grainy.

It is possible that I will revisit the Lovell image at a later date and do some even larger versions in a small series of colour variations but for now I feel like I’ve worked enough on it. I have since completing these screen-prints been working on an old painting which is coming along nicely. The painting is in the ‘line’ style of two previous paintings which I have completed and will hopefully complete the trilogy. I have refined the masking tape method over time and I reckon this painting will only take me an 100hours or so of work 🙂 it is a labour of love, it’s satisfying getting very crisp lines and seeing all of the colours work together in harmony.

Another image I have been working on in my quiet times is another screen-print of a morning sunrise over Runcorn bridge. For now this project is called ‘the bridge’ and layer design is going to make it a very bold and moody piece, I haven’t yet proofed the layers but it’s going to be a lot simpler than a lot of the other screen-prints that i have done, and is going to involve building up the colours with halftones layers, I will keep you posted with some images when I have them!

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