Monday, 29 July 2013

Mail Me Art - Short & Sweet

The lovely little book which accompanies the Mail Me Art - Short and Sweet project and exhibitions arrived in the post today. The exhibitions open on July 30th and August 9th (more details below). My original mail art which appears in the book and exhibitions can be purchased here. All proceeds to well deserving charities!

Mail Me Art

Mail Me Art is a fun little project that was created by Darren Di Lieto of The Little Chimp Society in late 2006. He was looking for a way to connect on a real world level with all of the brilliant and talented illustrators who had become part of his community and network. Mail art was the perfect way to accomplish this task. The Mail Me Art project has held exhibitions up and down the UK, and was published as a very nice book by HOW Books. It has also been featured or mentioned by Digital Arts, Computer Arts, Design Week and The Telegraph over the years. Mail Me Art is still going strong to this day and there seems to be no stopping it!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

iPad to Press - Sexy Peat - Photo Polymer Photogravure

After having had a few days to reflect on my time in Scotland as part of the Sexy Peat project, I can now reveal that it was a truly amazing experience. The two weeks on Lewis exploring the Peatlands and producing a healthy body of work on paper, followed by a week working at the Highland Print Studio were invigorating and have reignited my interest in the printmaking process.

But for now, I want to share the process of liberating an iPad painting from the digital format to a rich paper print using a combination of age old and modern approaches in the form of a photo polymer photogravure plate process.

Moorland Discussions - Procreate
This image was fingerpainted on the iPad in the Procreate app using a range of grey-scale tones.
The digital file was then sent to Photoshop via Dropbox, and then processed through the Nik Silver effects plugin to enhance the contrast within the image. The image was then printed onto a transparency sheet with the aid of some clever under-lighting that tricked the printer into thinking the milky transparent film was more opaque than it actually was.

Printing a transparency on a large format Epson Printer
 This transparency was then used to expose the light sensitive coating on the test plate.

 Followed by the developing of the plate in water.

 The test plate was then inked and printed

The image on the iPad screen alongside the test print
The test print looked fantastic and held an amazing amount of detail, whilst adding a rich organic feel and a certain softness to some of the tones. Following this initial success a larger plate was prepared, exposed, developed and left for several hours in daylight in order for the plate to 'bake'.

The following day the plate was inked and printed using a wonderful traditional press.

The inked plate

Looking pretty pleased and chipmunk-like, printing the first full image proof

Print and Plate

This was a wonderful process, taking a screen based digital image back into the traditional realm and liberating it from its locked in format. As John at the studio commented, Apple are set on producing devices that are virtually obsolete within two years of purchase, whereas this printing press is likely to be still printing in another 200 years time. Thoughts?

Friday, 19 July 2013

First Edition of 12 Screen Prints in the Bag - Sexy Peat

I am nearing the end of my time on Scottish soil for now as I move into the last couple of days of working at Highland Print Studio as part of the Sexy Peat project. Yesterday saw the completion of a three colour print run, with two more print editions and a photogravure plate (to be printed from an iPad painting source, in an attempt to liberate the file from the digital domain)  to be printed today. I fear I am now hooked on printmaking!


Blue and Grey

One of the Final Edition

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

First Day at the Highland Print Studio - Sexy Peat

A great first day at the Highland Print Studio in Inverness as part of the Sexy Peat Project. A really enjoyable return to screen printing after 20 years, and a test print made! Images below are of some of the process.
Beautiful view from the studio window

Working with a variety of mark-making mediums on truegrain film

Checking the opacity of the image against the window before exposing the screen
Washing out the exposed screen

Clamping the screen in place prior to printing

First test prints

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Last day on Lewis for now - Sexy Peat

So here it is. My last day on Lewis. What a fantastic experience it has been. I am really pleased with the body of work I have produced in response to the blanket bog and peat lands, and  look forward to a week in the print studio next week, wrestling with the images and making a series of prints.

The final treat for the trip was a drive out to the Shieling Village near Sgiorgarstaigh, Ness. A fantastic site with a wonderful quirky aesthetic and amazing views of the coastline. 

Friday, 12 July 2013

Drawing in the Heat - Sexy Peat

I was offered a space at An Lanntair in Stornoway today so I could spread out and work on several pieces at once. It was a fantastic space with windows around 3/4 of the circular room - great light too. Despite the heat I managed to work for a solid four hours and made a series of drawings. Some of them I am REALLY pleased with!

Hooded Crow

Watered Horse

Shieling Icarus


Three two

Horse on Shieling

Wood, Ink and Midges - Sexy Peat

Drawing continued today with further ink and Posca work on paper, followed by the cutting of a couple of wood blocks in preparation for my time at Highland Print Studio next week. I haven't cut a wood block for close to twenty years and have no idea how well the blocks will print, but they will provide a good starting point, and hopefully be a springboard to further work.

The day ended with a walk out from the Pentland Road on to the moor, where I witnessed the dreaded swarms of Scottish midges for the first time. Rather unpleasant..... luckily the company, views and beer were all good!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Sleeping Giants - Sexy Peat

Maybe the moor is full of sleeping giants......

The Gentle Moan of a Sleeping Giant
and Shieling Eagles?

Shieling Eagle from Fabric Lenny on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

A Steady Day of iPad Painting - Sexy Peat

Tuesday was a gentle day of activity, painting mostly digitally on the iPad screen whilst reflecting on the previous days trek across the moor. I have also started to read through a variety of stories and myths of the moor which have begun to influence imagery within the work. Lots of fun!

Taking Shelter Behind the Shieling

The Awakening of the Sleeping Giant

The Water Horse and the Eagle

Monday, 8 July 2013

A Walk to the Shieling - Sexy Peat

Passing through the peatlands

On Sunday I headed off across the moor to spend the night in a shieling. As part of the Sexy Peat project, Lewis based Artist Anne Campbell offered each of the artists an opportunity to spend the night in her family shieling across the moor from Bragar. We set out on Sunday lunchtime, barefoot across the moor, and reached the shieling at around 3:30. This was a magical and inspiration experience. A place of tranquility and beauty, and the lovely smell of burning peat!

Looking down to the shieling
A couple of spectacular wrecks on the moor

  I spent a lot of time drawing, sat on top of the chunky grass covered gable end of the shieling.

Some of the drawings made at the shieling

The Shieling Golem - iPad painting

Door of the shieling

Each Uisge and the Eagle - iPad painting

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Sexy Peat - more studio time

I allocated yesterday as a making day. Following the previous days walk on the moor my head was so full of images I just had to get them down on paper. Below is a selection of ink drawings from that process.

In the evening I was asked if I wanted to have a trip out on the harbor. It was a beautiful clear evening, and great to get a look at Stornoway from the water.

Today its back to the moor for an overnight stay in a shieling. More bog walking.... maybe I will try barefoot this time?