A day in the studio

Today has been busy and varied – just the way I like it ! I got up at 08.00 am which is quite late for me but yesterday’s healthy quota of rough red wine seemed to make me sleep like the dead ! I officially “retired” last Friday and have had a streaming cold ever since. I refuse to give into colds and I refuse to retire – as I keep telling everyone – I have simply shifted focus : less teaching – more painting ! As for the cold – hopefully it will have run its course by tomorrow !

After a hasty bath, I had breakfast, consisting of two rounds of toast and peanut butter, a large mug of tea and a small glass of chilled pomegranate juice. Next I rushed around the house like a demented lemming, gathering my essentials before shooting out of the door and walking five minutes down the road to my studio. Once there, I sorted through some drawings that I was considering for my life drawing exhibition at the end of the week. This involved attacking the surface with a putty rubber to remove unwanted charcoal etc. I have an irritating habbit of not spraying completed drawings with fixative, which leads to all sorts of problems ! In addition I often draw on the reverse and leave great piles of drawings busily printing themselves to each other – not good ! Moral of story being buy fixative, use it, then archive drawings with sheet of tissue paper between each drawing.

I also did some more work on the composition of my next linocut which features the Spice Island Inn and the Still & West. This will be a two or possibly three colour print and I’ll arrange the colours so that the registration of each block isn’t vital. Normally I do reduction printing, where you carve the block (piece of lino) then print a colour from it, then you carve away some more of the block and print in a different colour, over the top of your first print so that you achieve a two colour print. This can be repeated and subsequent colours built up. The down side of reduction printing, is that your edition is limited by the number of prints taken from the first block. Once you’ve made your second series of cuts – you’re stuffed ! So printing from different blocks at least means you can carry on printing short runs. To illustrate my point – I’ll post a series of photos of the process later !

Having mapped out the basic ingredients of the composition and decided how crazy the perspective was going to be I drew over my pencil marks with a dipping pen and some black windsor & newton indian ink.  I’ll need to add more to the drawing and another trip to Spice Island is needed to take some more photos – but at least I’ve made a good start and things are underway !

The studios were busy today and there were lots of artists bustling around – not least my good friend John Green, who was moving his studio – which is no mean feat (he has as much stuff as me – possibly even more picture frames) ! I gave him a hand and made several trips up and down the main staircase and then up and down the back staircase to his new home, which is an interesting shape, bigger and with better light.

My day was also pleasantly punctuated, (interupted), by a series of my advanced life drawing students dropping off drawings for the exhibition next week and I must add that having had reservations about the volume of work, we now have plenty to choose from and it will be a great show !! I’ve got several helpers lined up for monday, which is the first of the hanging days and hopefully everything will go according to plan. My last punter arrived at 6.30 and we had a chat about the work and pricing, which is always difficult, particularly where gallery commissions have to be taken into account !

Having spent a lot of time carefully organising my studio for Open Studios in May, its now back to normal and somewhat cluttered. I really must get rid of furniture in the studio. Flat surfaces invite piles ! My studio is 20′ x 10′ (feet) and with a large drawing desk, table and workbench that doesn’t leave a lot of room to entertain in ! I have been thinking about designing a purpose built studio and 20 x 10 is the smallest I could efficiently work in. I know some people manage in much smaller spaces and I used to as well but I tend to dabble in too many things – all of which require lots of materials, tools and equipment. Ho Hum !

Well I started this post yesterday and have now been to the studio again to meet another ex student at 8.00 am and we concluded our business and I shambled off home for breakfast and to complete this blog. I was also rather distracted by my twitter account being hacked – so I wanted to get home to find out what was going on in twitterland ! The hackers seem to have got hold of my list of followers and sent them adverts. This must have been done by sending me a direct message which I stupidly clicked on and caused mayhem ! Basically the direct message said someone has been say some bad things about me and there was a link, which I must have inadvertantly clicked on ! I won’t do that again ! So be carful what you select and don’t try to open things unless you know exactly what they are.

Being inquisitive can be possitive OR negative !

About chriswoodartist

painter, print-maker and illustrator

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