Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Painting a Mad Hatter Tiger

I decided to have a go at filming myself while painting, it was my first time so I was a bit nervous! I treated myself to a tripod for my camera and thought I'd have a go with one of my favourite subjects, a tiger.



I managed to attach my camera to a chair to keep it steady. I did discover the camera was in the way quite a lot and also my hand kept blocking the view as I was painting, so next time I might set it up a bit differently,  but in the end it wasn't too bad. I also knocked the camera a couple of times but luckily it isn't too noticable in the finished version of the video! 




I've speeded up the video and made over an hour of painting into just over a minute, wish I could always paint that fast!


Here's the finished painting:
Mad Hatter Tiger - Acrylic Painting
I've also made it into a greeting card:


Mad Hatter Tiger - Greeting Card
And a badge set:


Steampunk Tigers - Badge Set
So I have tigers everywhere!

I'm looking forward to another foray into filming soon!

Clare xx

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Art Exhibitions


In these weird times the way we exhibit artwork has changed an awful lot. I have just entered three online exhibitions (keep your fingers crossed!) and thought I'd have a look back at some of my recent exhibitions.

I started off the year really well by managing to get one of my collagraph prints "Tiger Relax" accepted into a very difficult exhibition to get into, the RBSA (Royal Birmingham Society of Artists) Open exhibition. 



This exhibition opened in March and luckily I managed to see it before lockdown happened and the gallery closed. Sadly I didn't get to wear my posh frock as the closing party was cancelled! The exhibition is actually still on at the gallery, as it couldn't be taken down, and I'm hoping the building ghosts are enjoying their exclusive exhibition at the moment!

My favourite exhibition of last year had to be the Wolverhampton Society of Artists Centenary exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery in December. I was very shocked to win first prize in the Selection Panel Choice and got to meet the Mayor of Wolverhampton who presented me with my certificate!


I also exhibited another couple of times at the RBSA last year. Back in March 2019 for the Open All Media exhibtion, where I exhibited an oil painting for the very first time!



And in July 2019 I exhibited my collagraph print "Tiger Feet" in the annual Friends exhibition and even got to do a 5 minute talk about how I make my collagraph printing plates!

I really have had a busy few years of exhibitions and hopefully soon we will be able to exhibit properly in real life again!

Clare xx



Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Tiger Oil Painting


A few months ago I treated myself to a new camera and took it to Dudley Zoo to try it out and get some interesting animal shots. The male tiger Joao likes to pose and I got some really good shots of him ready to be made into some artwork.



While on lockdown I thought I would try a different painting medium - oil paints. I haven't done an oil painting for ages as I loose my patience with it as it takes a long time to dry so I tend to use acrylic paint more but I thought as I have plenty of time I would give it a go again!

I took a few photos while I was painting. Here's the very first layer, I just like to cover the whole canvas with thinned down paint and just establish as much of the image as I can very loosely. 



A few layers in and I'm just trying to establish a bit more detail but also I like to get a palette knife out and scrape the paint off again so you can see some of the other layers. I can't help it with oil paint I love scraping at it and the interesting marks the palette knife makes.



The finished painting. I've darkened down the background and added a bit more detail but still tried to keep the expressiveness of the marks of the paint.



In the end I could only really manage painting this tiger in small 10 minute chunks so I'm very pleased with how it came out. Will have to try another oil painting soon too!

Clare xx

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Tigers & Mucky Bottoms!

Normally if I'm printing more than one colour I try and add all my colours onto one collagraph printing plate and print it in one go, as its a lot easier! I decided to challenge myself and try out a different method involving two printing plates and a mucky bottom! I thought I would depict my favourite subject, a tiger.



Here are the two printing plates side by side. One is very much like my normal collagraph printing plate with lots of detail and tone, the other is a bit more abstract and will be used for background of the image.



I started by inking up the more abstract plate for the background with a lovely vibrant orange ink. (apologies for the blurriness of this image, trying to take the photo left handed and not succeeding very well!)



The background plate is inked and then wiped so that the rougher areas of the printing plate hold more ink and the smoother areas hold less ink and will therefore print lighter. It is ready to be printed. 



But first I need to get the main printing plate ready to print as I will be printing them almost at the same time. I've had to completely clean up everything first, getting rid of any orange ink, newspaper, gloves etc so I don't contaminate this plate with any orange ink. The printing pate is then covered in blue/black ink and then wiped with newspaper and tissue paper. 



The main printing plate ready to be printed.



Firstly the background printing plate is placed onto the printing press onto a clean scrap piece of paper and a slightly dampened piece of printing paper is put on top, with the blanket on top of this. This is then run under the rollers so that it prints onto the slightly dampened paper. The paper is then peeled back and very carefully trapped under the rollers so that it doesn't move and the printing plate is removed.



This leaves behind an imprint of where the printing plate was on the scrap paper, its mucky bottom! 



I can then place the main printing plate on top of this mucky bottom (making sure I put it the right way up!) aligning exactly where the first printing plate was on the scrap paper and as the slightly dampened paper was trapped in the rollers it should go back over the printing plate in exactly the same place as where the first plate was.



This then goes through the rollers again transferring the black ink on top of the already printed orange image. The big reveal, has it worked or not?



One tiger hot off the printing press!

Then repeat many times! 

"Tiger Sit" Limited Edition Collagraph Print


Here's the finished tiger print, I'm thinking of trying it in a few different colours too!

Clare xx

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Art Studio


I thought I'd introduce you all to my art studio where I produce all my artwork and which started out in my spare room and now seems to have gradually spread all around my flat!


My lovely table-top etching press taking pride of place in my studio. It's very well used and a little bit inky, as its quite a few years old now, but has printed many tigers, hippos, cats etc and is still going strong!

Lots of inks etc being supervised by Morph and Kermit!


My desk, which I was very proud of managing to put together when I had a flatpack building frenzy when I first moved in. Including my best purchase of last year, a badge maker, which has proved incredibly popular at all of my selling events.


I was trying to keep all my artwork activities in my spare room but because the light is amazing in my living room I seem to end up painting in there instead and have gradually taken over my dining table! 

A very sneaky look at what I am working on at the moment. Two brand new collagraph printing plates, lots more work to do on them but I should be proofing them very soon. I will never learn to not leave my hot chocolate near my artwork, I've lost track of how many times I've dipped my brush in it!

Just to show that I definitely do take over everywhere - an improvised drying rack for my hand printed tote bags in my main bathroom! I also use the bath to soak my paper when I am printing so its a good job I have an en-suite shower room I can use too!

I'm house hunting at the moment so hopefully I will have a brand new studio to show you soon too!

Clare xx

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Tiger Print


Back in July last year I was in my usual place by the tiger enclosure at Dudley Zoo when the tigers suddenly started mating! The male tiger strutted off looking very proud of himself and the female rolled over onto her back and just looked very chilled and relaxed. I managed to get quite a few photos of her and knew I would have to do some artwork featuring such an unusual pose for a tiger!

I did a couple of acrylic paintings featuring the very happy tiger:
Happy Tiger - Acrylic Painting

Happy Tiger 2 - Acrylic Painting

I also had to depict her in a collagraph print too.  A collagraph print is a print created from a card plate made by adding glue, paint, enamel etc. This holds the ink in varying degrees and is then printed through the intaglio process.

Sadly the original printing plate (which took hours to make!) warped in the printing press due to some of the paint being too thick, so that one had to be binned. This is the second collagraph printing plate just finished and ready to be printed:
Lots of blue/black intaglio ink is wiped all over the printing plate.
And then wiped off again! The ink stays in the textured parts of the printing plate and wipes off the smoother parts which will print lighter or white.
The printing plate is then placed onto the intaglio press and a slightly damp piece of paper is put on top. all of this is covered with a blanket and then put through the printing press which forces the ink off the printing plate onto the paper, leaving the paper slightly embossed.
The finished collagraph print, framed and ready for exhibition.
I decided to enter her into the Wolverhampton Society of Artists new Centenary Exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery and luckily she was accepted! 



Also I was very shocked and proud to receive the first prize for the Selection Panel Choice and got to meet the Mayor of Wolverhampton who presented me with a certificate and book.

The exhibition is on until February 16th and well worth a look and you can see a very relaxed looking tiger!

Clare xx

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Drypoint Printmaking


I've had a few days off work this week so I thought I'd dig out my etching press and do a little bit of printmaking!


I decided to have a go at some drypoint printmaking as its very quick and immediate. Drypoint is where the image is scratched into the printing plate using a "drypoint" creating a line and also producing a burr, which is a rough ridge on the plate that prints a slightly ragged line, these lines hold the ink when printed and produce a rich velvety texture.


I found the drypoint needle that I was given while at university and 26 years later it still works absolutely fine! Whilst at university we used to use aluminium plates for drypoint printmaking from the commercial printers that were below us but nowadays I use Rhenalon plates which are very thin perspex sheets and as these are transparent I can put an image underneath the plate and use it as a guide while I am working on the plate.

You can just about see the scratches on the printing plate below with the image I am working on underneath.


And the printing plate scratched into and ready to be printed below. Its very hard to see some of the lines and sometimes easier to just run our nail over them to gauge the depth.

Now for the messy bit! I use the Caligo safe-wash etching ink straight from the tube as it needs to be quite thick to stay in the lines and cover the whole of the printing plate with it. 

I then wipe the printing plate with newspaper and then tissue paper to remove the surface ink but being really careful to leave the ink within the lines. Caressing the printing plate as my University tutor always used to say!



Then onto my etching press with slightly dampened paper on top of the printing plate and once under the rollers the big reveal as the paper is lifted off! 

This can be the slightly scary part as drypoint printing plates are very fragile and can only really be printed a few times as the process of going through the printing press flattens the lines and dulls the prints. I tend to do mine in editions of 6 so each print really counts.

The finished prints hot off the printing press! 
Ring Tailed Lemur & Baby - Drypoint Limited Edition Print

Tiger - Drypoint Limited Edition Print
Clare xx