Swimming Lessons with The Medusa

I began writing this post two weeks ago and it was supposed to recount the tales of one week of mystery and mayhem in the Wood household. However, one week has quickly become Two !

Week one began frantically finishing off a lino-cut that I’d been working on for the last couple of days. Tuesday 4th March marked the first Tuesday of the month, therefore my monthly day of printmaking at Omega Printmakers and I needed something new to print from.


The composite image is composed of two superimposed life drawings and is the start of a series of figurative prints that I will have for sale at ArtSpace Open Studios on 28th and 29th June from 1.30 – 4.30 daily. I will also be showing a series of wood engravings, charcoal life drawings and historical and contemporary marine paintings in oils.



Photo of the hands of yours truly ! Many thanks to Amanda Morris for snapping this on her iphone !

Rather than wait for the Albion Press I did it my way ! If you have the right consistency of ink, a thin Japanese paper and a Burnisher you can make a print direct from a wood engraving. Here I’m holding the paper over the inked wood block and burnishing over the back of the paper. The image is clearly visible because the paper is very thin and once burnished it becomes almost completely transparent.

Once I’d got five prints of each of my two wood engravings and five of the lino cut I started packing up, cleaning rollers, palette knives, glass palette, blocks and most importantly ME !  Next I  wrapped the prints in tissue paper, followed by the painful part of the day – paying for my pleasure !  I finally scuttled off out of the building at about 16.30hrs. Before going home I had to drop into my studio which is about a 10 minute walk and for once the sun was out and no hint of rain ! I unpacked the prints from my portfolio and laid them on top of a vast pile of drawings that has accumulated over the last year ! Roll on Artspace Portsmouth Open Studios, (28th and 29th June 1.30-4.30 daily) when I’ll have to muck out my studio and have a really good tidy up !


“The Swimming Lesson” Chalk and Pastels on grey sugar paper 841x594mm. © http://www.chriswoodartist.com all rights reserved Chris N Wood 2014.

During term time, on Tuesday evenings I teach my EXPERIMENTAL LIFE DRAWING WORKSHOP at The Omega Centre – so at 6.00pm I was back at The Omega Centre, moving tables and getting out easels and A1 boards for the class that began at 7.00pm. As I mentioned this was supposed to have been about one week but somehow that became two weeks and this weeks life drawing class has been and gone too !





“The Medusa Series part 1″Chalk, charcoal and conte pastels on Snowdon Cartridge 700x500mm.© http://www.chriswoodartist.com all rights reserved Chris N Wood 11.3.14. The above is a layered drawing including several poses inspired by one of my favourite French Romantic paintings, Gericault’s Raft of Medusa. The original is a huge canvas nearly 5x7metres which hangs in the Louvre in Paris and was painted when the artist was only 27. The painting commemorates the sinking of the French frigate “The Medusa” off the coast of what’s now known as Mauritania. The hastily constructed raft started off with 147 men but after being cast adrift for 13 days only 15 survived before they were rescued. The painting was received with equal amounts of condemnation and praise but it certainly  put Gericault on the road to success.



“The Medusa Typology” ©www.chriswoodartist.com all rights reserved Chris N Wood 11.3.14. This is the first of my digital responses to the drawings created in class and it is a layered compilation of two drawings. I asked my students to look at Bernd and Hilla Betcher’s industrial typologies and consider this repetition of a shape as a structure for composing drawings. The Betchers typologies often consisted of  grids of similar photos made up of five columns wide and three deep although this did vary. They often chose to explore industrial sites and the collections or typologies featured gas tanks, blast furnaces and the like. In my drawing above you can see the brown drawing of arms which show the arm extended, relaxed or tense and the idea was to explore DYNAMICS of muscle tone and the poses featured within Gericault’s Raft.

IMG_0984“The Medusa Series : part two – unfinished” Charcoal, Candle and inks. ©www.chriswoodartist.com all rights reserved Chris N Wood 11.3.14. This was my hastily constructed typology of my kilted friend Ruairidh’s fore-arm !

IMG_0989“The Medusa Typology 2” ©www.chriswoodartist.com all rights reserved Chris N Wood 11.3.14.Charcaol, Pastel Procreate and ipad.

Finally, this was my last digital response to Tuesday’s session. In the first one I tried to be true to the palette of Gericault and the outcome is a little melancholic, whereas here the colours are optimistic !

More life drawing and other creative adventures to follow










About chriswoodartist

painter, print-maker and illustrator

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: