Japanese Woodblock, Monoprints and Tree Following

Just quick roundup of stuff, more printmaking and following a Horse Chestnut

Japanese Woodblock Printing

Over at Printdaily yesterday I wrote about my first Japanese Woodcut  made last week at an excellent days workshop with Laura Boswell, learning about cutting and printing the Japanese way. It involved cutting with knives and chisels, inking with watercolour and printing on dampened paper. All completely different from anything I have done before. It has great possibilities and in the right hands is very beautiful. With Laura’s help I made a small print of an adder which will be my next subject for Beautiful Beasts. I was absolutely delighted with the day and with how much I learned. If anyone is interested in Japanese woodblock printing I can’t recommend her highly enough. (I don’t say this lightly as I honestly see very few tutors who not only understand the mechanics of their craft, but also the “art” that it can produce when used in creative ways.)


My first little adder print, three plates and about 4 colours.  See more steps on the blog post. I shall be working more with these plates next week.

Monoprints On Beautiful Beasts I have been playing with monoprints, again fairly new to me although I made a few at college years ago on old litho plates, they were less than inspiring but I am loving these small prints using the Silk Road Horse sketch as a starting point. So far I have only used waterbased inks and only black ink.They are made with a mix of trace through and wipe out techniques. There have been many trials and not many successes but they can have a beautiful lithographic feel about them and a surprising sensitivity of line. Hopefully a few more this weekend. These are my favourites so far.

mono4-bg      mono3-bng

Mono prints A4.


Tree Following..!

My blog friend Lucy over at Loose and Leafy is following a tree this year; seeing how it develops and changes over the year. Lovely idea Lucy. She has invited people to join her and I am definitely in. I am already doing some work on Willows this year and wanted a bit of a contrast so am opting for a Horse Chestnut.

It will be a once a month report but a great excuse for some tree sketching and observation. At their best they are magnificent trees in every season.  There are several scattered around the village. One I can see from our front window. It’s where the rooks roost and I am very fond of rooks. It will be fascinating exploring these lovely trees. I am rather wondering where the time will come from to do this… but hey…it’s what I love to do so I am sure I will fit it in!

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  1. I'm so pleased you'll be Tree Following with drawings. A truly different perspective from those of us who only use photographs for illustrations. I've decided (unilaterally!) to put a Linky box on the blog on the 7th of ever month (beginning March) and leaving it open for one week each time. Hopefully, the beginning of the month is easy to remember and will mean if we want to compare the progress of all our trees through the year we will be able to. The times they 'do' different things can be wildly different depending on what kind of tree and where it is growing. Hopefully, it will be a really interesting project – and I'm so glad you will be joining in.

  2. I really LOVE the 'follow a tree' idea. I will make it my mission to identify a suitable specimen this weekend. I have a very amateur (and rather neglected) wildlife blog based on this area of Normandy (about 250 miles south of Weymouth) and I think focussing on one tree through the seasons is a great project. 🙂

  3. Hi there Lucy and Normandie. Looking forward to the tree project and, Normandie, I am sure it would be nice to know about a French tree!
    Which one???? As an artist I can't help but think of Monet's beautiful poplars from the Epte…

  4. Hello both – tree is chosen: a rather majestic Sweet chestnut – Castanea sativa – which grows at the end of our drive. Link will be mailed to you, Lucy.

    Valerie, I love trees. And I love Monet's poplars (and his sky) over the river Epte. However, birches are probably my favourite… especially the cultivars like the luminous jacquemontii. I imagine them flitting through the shadows on a moonless night.

    But then, I love oaks too… they're a whole ecosystem in one plant… I just love trees.

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