More as a diversion than anything else, I decided to redraw and cut a lino print of the logo I have used for many years for my ‘Short Supply’ musical output. I did use it on the label for the one and only 7″ single I put out in the early 1990s, called “The Day The Earth Stood Still”. We (Justin – the vocalist and myself) recorded it in Rotherham at The Powder Room studios. It features cut ups from the film of the same name and a killer chorus – haha!
For some time now, I have been wanting to make a print of the magical stones to be found at the World Heritage Site of Avebury – one of the biggest stone circles in Europe. Having tried (and failed miserably) to do a collagraph print, I settled back on a lino cut. However, this time I used sponges rather than rollers to apply the inks to give it more of a textured finish. Whilst there are undoubtedly some flaws evident, I am generally very pleased with the finished result; there is a very graphic quality to the image but that reflects my drawing style, which has always ended up with quite well-defined, thick lines, even when I try not to!
For the November round of the “One of Many Postcard” initiative, I decided to take the image of the Green Man that can be seen carved at the top of one of the columns inside Rotherham Minster. The original carving has the traditional vines issuing from the mouth but I wanted to isolate (and flatten) the face. The postcard version was slightly cropped to fit the card size, but here is the full, uncropped version. The background was made using sponges rather than a roller.
I’m sure I’m not alone in saying this, but if there is a positive to come out of this current pandemic, it is the fact that so many of us have reunited with nature and begun to see what we perhaps had lost sight of. Whilst I live in the (once) Industrial North of England, in the run-down town of Rotherham, I am very fortunate to live in a part of town that is surrounded by woodlands, meadows and even a very beautiful golf course. Our daily walks took us to places we weren’t even aware existed so close to us, particularly through woodlands we have since found to be ancient. There are areas covered with oak trees and it has become so obvious why the ancient people worshipped and revered the mighty oak, and why there are so many stories and legends involving tree spirits. Oak trees in particular, abound with faces and apparently human body-parts; wildly inspirational to me as an artist spending much of my time interpreting myths, legends and the struggle of the natural world to breathe within the modern, city environment.
This was mainly completed as an exercise in lino multi-block registration, but I am pretty pleased with the outcome. The registration isn’t perfect on all of the prints, but I managed to pull off enough copies to make it worthwhile!
Having no other place to exhibit my work during lockdown (apart from online, but that doesn’t really count) I have been displaying cards showing my Green Man design, on trees and gate-posts at various places, whilst out on our daily walks. Despite being in Rotherham, we’re very fortunate to live near fields and woodlands in Wickersley, Rotherham, so the environment is, I feel, fitting for these cards. Although there is the opportunity for feedback (I put my email address on the back) no-one has been in touch – I didn’t really think they would – but at least two of them have been taken, so they are being seen. I’ll never know whether they were taken by people wanting to own the card, or by kids trashing them but either way, they are being interacted with!
This is the final result of a project I’ve had knocking around for a few weeks now. I wanted to make a bigger version of the ‘Tin Can Green Man’ model that I made last year, and have considered buying large sheets of metal. However, on revisiting the original models, I decided it would be interesting to make my own sheet of metal from a collection of discarded drinks cans. The cans were glued together in a patchwork and folded as before. The only new element, was the addition of some metal ivy leaves that were found in my shed during a clear-out. The model is about 40cm
For my next image in the ‘Shouting at The World’ series, I have combined two of the gargoyles/grotesques I found on the churches in Lincolnshire, with a Sheela-na-gig found on The Church of St Mary and St David, in Kilpeck, Herefordshire. Having spent quite a lot of time working with various images of the Green Man, I felt it was time to redress the balance somewhat and feature this ancient, scared female form which can be found, in various forms, throughout the world.
There have been some beautiful sunny days during this period of lockdown. Having used the time-lapse function on my phone whilst on a bike ride (see earlier post), I used the same function, setting the phone up on the roof of a shed in the garden and left it to record the passing of clouds for an hour. It was a relatively still, calm day with no discernible movement – the film shows otherwise! The music is ‘A Sprinkling of Clouds’ by Gong, from the album ‘You’ – a classic if ever there was one.
Still not able to get into my studio (‘Essential travel’ only rule still applies) I decided to set myself the challenge of drawing, cutting and printing an image in one day. Not only that, but decided to try my hand at a self-portrait. Having never attempted a portrait of any kind, self or otherwise, the fact that the resulting image looks vaguely human is a bonus to me! I’m told I look tired – oh well, so be it. I have gone for the negative rather than positive lines simply because of the time constraints and the difficulties of working at a small scale (15cm x 8cm) – I only have a small printing press available at home.