6/04/2010

Black and White and shades of grey.



Work on “The Bird with the Rainbow Tail” is progressing well and I have been taking inspiration from the world of black and white, line art and wood engraving. Most of the work for this project has been executed in pen and ink, using black line drawings as a starting point. I hope to share some of these images soon; in the meantime I would like to share with you the work of Michelle Palmer who draws onto vintage linen. Her work is very detailed and delicate and now I am the proud owner of these little beauties after winning her blog give away, thank you Michelle!


For some time now I have been promising myself that I would try my hand at wood engraving, having admired the work of such luminaries as Clare Leighton, Reynolds Stone and Eric Ravilious, for many years. Thanks to the wonders of the internet I have been able to source materials and view instructions which has enabled me to have a stab myself, in fact that is exactly what I have done, several times, those tools are sharp! I would really like to do a workshop, as it is so hard to try to teach oneself.

After several abortive attempts and many practice pieces I finally managed to produce one engraving which I will try to print, you can see my work in progress above. The wood is end grain boxwood, which is very hard and polished to a very smooth finish; it is also very expensive which makes my many mistakes even harder to bear. Now I know how difficult this craft is it has increased my appreciation for this beautiful art form.



The white foxgloves have finally flowered and are being visited by many bumblebees. I came across this wonderful wood engraving of foxgloves by Andy English, a master engraver; you can see it by following this link
Andy also has a wealth of knowledge which he has very kindly made available on his website.

17 comments:

  1. Your engraving looks wonderful! The design is so lovely--can't wait to see how it looks when printed. I've also mostly had to teach myself woodworking to make buttons and book covers, and it is quite difficult, isn't it? But also very satisfying, too.

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  2. I look forward to seeing beautiful engravings done by your hand!

    And don't you just love watching the bees spelunking in the foxgloves! The best thing.

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  3. Oh yes, your work is perfect for engraving! I will be interested to watch your progress, I've often wanted to try myself, but not enough time - and I am sure it is rather difficult...I can't wait to see how this block prints up!

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  4. Those beautiful wood engravings speak to me without words.In the far off days of my childhood. "I want" was frowned on, it must always be a request,"I would like" or "may I have". But want will out and I want to see more of those beautiful engravings. I can't imagine owning an original carved block.

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  5. I LOVE wood engravings and I KNOW you will be excellent at them...can't wait to see the results!! Love as ever, Patricia
    PS You'll be glad to know the bees are buzzing insanely in Maine....much more than the last few years I think!!

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  6. I have been hankering after trying wood engraving for a few years myself, would love to see your print! I admire Andy English also...
    I think the blocks themselves look as wonderful as the prints... I will have to try one day too!

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  7. Your woodcut looks lovely already.
    Black and white design has a sparkling and dynamic quality, midnight and diamonds, even when portraying homely things.
    I loved printmaking at art school, the satisfaction of rolling the ink on the block and pulling off a print, negative turning to positive like magic.

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  8. Marvellous! I can't wait to see the prints as the block looks so interesting. Have a lovely weekend.

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  9. Valerie, I am very interested in seeing how your wood engraving turns out. And ... also how the next ones will do. Please do not stop at one.

    Here's a bit of a personal note. I knew that my father drew very well with pen and ink and also that he admired the traditional wood engravers.

    I gave him a set of wood engraving tools. Using another of his talents he made a special box for these tools. He never made a wood engraving, and never let me now. After he died, my mom eventually sent me the box my dad made with those wood engraving tools inside.

    A strange, sad family tale. Not sure what it means. I know that I also love the wood engraving medium.

    xo

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  10. Valerie, i think there is something magical & mysterious about black & white line art, i love the old fashioned feel of it. The piece of wood engraving you have done is wonderful, did it take long? I should love to try it one day. I did etching a couple of years back and loved it. Thank you for the link to the work of andy english i have fallen in love with it!. Have a fab weekend x

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  11. There is something special about white flowers isn't there?
    As for your wood engraving - I am so envious of your drawing skills.

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  12. being an admirer of woodblock i really appreciate how hard it is. good for you to push the envelope and go after the skill on your own. the first effort your share here looks very good to me! steven

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  13. I have those same bees in my garden. Your foxglove is flowering way ahead of mine. It's beautiful. I just love black line drawings, and am always so thrilled to find them amongst the pages of books. The foxglove engraving is wonderful too. Congratulations on winning the fantastic giveaway. x

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  14. Your engraving looks so good... wow, you are off and running with this!

    Your white foxgloves are beautiful!

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  15. Good luck with the engraving Valerie. I suspect it is extremely hard to do and in such a small space. The tools look huge for such delicate work. I am a great admirer of all things wood engraved too. I met Andy English at Waterperry one year and his work is brilliant. Congrats on winning the giveaway. I have saved Michelle's blog link to peruse later. She is very talented. I love those roosters she does.

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  16. I love your wood engraving - you are excellent. I have several old books with wood engravings and I keep coming back to them to marvel. Lino is as far as I will ever get and even then just for an occasional foray.

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  17. Your engravings are beautiful! I enjoy working in black and white... a pleasant journey away from watercolor :)
    Wishing you all the best!
    Love to visit your blog, always sweet and inspiring~

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