Thursday, 6 April 2017

100 Ammonites Project - an introduction to the online exhibition

Ammonite no.1 and no.100   etching and etching and mixed media 6x8cm   ©2016Lisa Le Quelenec

This project started on a print making course at Arts University Bournemouth tutored by Jan Bullas where I made a tiny etching plate of an ammonite. I hadn’t done any etching since my foundation course in Art & Design at Falmouth College of Arts many, many years before but had been hankering for a long time to return to experimenting with printmaking. During the course, I tried different printmaking methods including monoprints, lino cuts, collagraphs, drypoint and etching. It was etching and drypoint that really got me hooked.

From March to November 2016 I experimented printing an edition of 100 prints from this small plate. As time went by I could see more and more possibilities to explore. I did set myself a few rules and boundaries to work within;

  • All prints have been made on the same size paper 6x8inch Snowdon printing paper 140lb
  • All prints have been made using water-soluble printing ink
  • When using mixed media and chine collé I allowed myself to work outside of the confines of the plate and into the paper borders.

Prints No.1 to 50 are straight etching prints, what you see is the result of the ink being passed through the press with no further additions made. After the first 50 I started to use chine collé and from print No. 63 both chine collé and/or mixed media was used for further experiment in variation.

Ammonite no.32 with the zinc etching plate on the right   ©2016Lisa Le Quelenec

Whilst 100 variations did at first feel like a huge undertaking I was soon caught up in the excitement of the project and felt the pressure of time running out by the time that I was getting to the last 30 or so.

Ammonite   photograph   ©2016Lisa Le Quelenec

As I worked I was thinking about the parallels of fossil hunting, choosing a rock, splitting it open to reveal the fossil, not knowing for sure what would be revealed - the excitement and anticipation at finding a perfect specimen. All similarities with each stage of making a print. Experience makes the result more predictable but there will always be an element of surprise when the paper is pulled back to reveal the image. I think this is why I have fallen in love with printmaking and there will be much more in my future.

To view the exhibition click on the tab at the top or click on the link

I hope that you enjoy visiting the 'exhibition' and looking at how the image evolved.

The prints are available at seasidestudiosuk on Etsy.

Cards, notebooks and accessories of selected prints are available at Redbubble here.

A catalogue for the exhibition of all 100 prints is available from blurb here;

 100 ammonites Etching and mixed media in a variable edition


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

100 ammonites virtual exhibition - a sneaky peek!

Exhibition opens 6th April 2017....

100 ammonites project a sneaky peek ©2017LisaLeQuelenec

I hope you will join me here next week.

Monday, 20 March 2017

A trip to Jersey

Snaps from a quick break in Jersey   ©2017LisaLeQuelenec

There is nothing like taking a break from a big project and coming back refreshed. A quick trip to Jersey has done this for me and now I am ready for the home run of finishing up the loose ends. I can't wait to share this one with you.

I have competition for finding treasure on the beach now as someone has started his own collection ;o)  . New wellies were put to the test as we explored the rockpools at Green Island finding shrimp, crabs, a blenny and tickling sea anenomes. Holes were dug, castles built and destroyed; shells, stones, seaglass and seaweed collected - that was just me.... I didn't do any sketching at all and only opened a sketchbook to press some seaweed inbetween the pages. As a result I have a lovely damp, beach smelling sketchbook - ah well inspiration takes many forms....

Now back to work.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Gathering storm sketchbook pages

Storms Doris and Ewan whilst wet and windy passed us by in February without too much damage down here. I don't think they were quite so lucky further north unfortunately.

The following are a couple of sketchbook snippets from the wild weather last week playing with tone and markmaking which seems to be a theme developing in my work recently. I am working on finishing a rather large project which is occupying rather a lot of time at the moment and so sketchbook work has been a little distraction whilst taking a break.

Sketchbook snippet - across the marsh   watercolour 12x12cm approx   ©2017LisaLeQuelenec

February storm   watercolour in a6 sketchbook   ©2017LisaLeQuelenec

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Deeper through the forest

Deeper through the Forest   mixed media diptych  19x28cm each   ©2017Lisa Le Quelenec

Thinking about hard and soft, lost and found edges using pencil, oil pastel resist, watersoluble pencils, inks, and new to me pigments from Daniel Smith - sodalite genuine and lunar black. These two are fast becoming favourite colours. I love, love, love the soft inky denim of the sodalite.

I might leave this as it is or work into it again at a later may even be the starting point for something else. The half term week has thrown me off kilter a bit. It's funny how just a few days off work can make you lose your thread. For now back to sketchbooks to find myself again I think.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

If you go down to the woods today.... monoprint and mixed media via a digital sketchbook

Birch Study III   monoprint and mixed media   ©2017LisaLeQuelenec

Sometimes I like to experiment digitally with images - it can be a quick way of trying different crops of an image without commiting to changing physically a piece of work. I like how I can change tones and colours in seconds and so can be a useful tool to progress a project.

I scanned one of the birch tree monoprint and mixed media pieces from the last post, cropped it, changed the tones and then started to adjust the colouring. I rather like the warmer version and also the darker more moody version that came last. I chose the last idea to explore first wanting to go deeper into indigo with a bigger contrast in the tonal range for more drama.

Birch Study III digital sketchbook experiment page  ©2017LisaLeQuelenec

birch sketchbook sample ©2017LisaLeQuelenec

This is a small sample that I made using a scrap from a failed print and adding washes of watercolour in varying strengths. The oilbased printing ink resists the watercolour in unusual ways giving nice textural effects - something I want to use to my advantage although difficult to control.

If you go down to the woods today...   monoprint and mixed media   ©2017LisaLeQuelenec

The above image is the result of the experiment so far. On top of the monoprint I have used drawing ink, coloured pencils and watercolour. The surface qualities and textures of the materials resisting each other are producing some lovely marks. I think my next step is to return to my sketchbook and work through some composition thumbnails maybe also to see how some of these marks can be translated into pure paint. Fun and messy times ahead I think...

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Birch tree monoprints and mixed media with a dash of freezing fog

A few days of thick freezing fog the other week has inspired a different avenue to explore. I don't ever remember seeing such thick and persistant freezing fog before. It has caused quite a bit of disruption to travel but has had an element of surprising beauty to it. The little one was fascinated by the 'crunchy' sparkles on the spider webs on the way to preschool. Simple looming silhouettes and subtle greys have inspired a very different feel to the series.
A Progression of monoprints and monoprint mixed media pieces - Birch Study I & II ( last two images) ©2017LisaLeQuelenec

The two mixed media pieces at the bottom have been made by using ghost prints. (a second print made from the printing plate from which a print has already been taken. Due to there being only residual ink left on the printing plate the second print is much more subtle.) As you can see from these two I was lucky enough to get two ghost prints the one on the right was the first to be taken.

I often prefer the ghost prints as I like the subtlety and delicate textures and they are often interesting to work into with other media. I think my next stage may be to take scans of these two and then play digitally with them and see what happens. 'Birch Study I & II' are available as reproductions at Redbubble here.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Find me on Folksy!

It has been a busy week! I have opened a new shop on Folksy. an online marketplace solely for artists and designers based in the UK. (If you are from outside of the UK you can still order from sellers on Folksy as most will ship internationally.) I have been busy updating my Redbubble site and have some of the notebooks from there available on Folksy. Also available are paintings and prints and I  will be adding to the collections over the coming weeks.

notebooks by lisa le quelenec at Redbubble
Notebooks available at and

Also on Redbubble and now via Folksy  are scarves. Now the weather is colder it's nice to have something to layer up and snuggle into.

They are made from microfiber polyester with a slightly transparent effect. The print is visible on both the front and reverse and measure 140cm square (55inch approx). The fabric has a lovely drape to it and the size means that it could just as easily be used as a beach/pool cover up as a scarf. The designs are repeat patterns made using motifs from my prints and paintings.

Scarves available at redbubble by lisa le quelenec
Scarves available at

Now all the excitment of getting a new store together is over I am back to working on my birch tree monoprints....

Thursday, 19 January 2017

monoprinting birch trees

Night Watchmen  monoprint 15x21cm  ©2017LisaLeQuelenec
The first monoprint of the year! I have been really enjoying markmaking with monoprint recently experimenting with a combination of applying ink and different tools to take the ink off and draw into it. Birch trees are a favourite winter subject and feel a good fit for these first pieces.

Initially I rolled a layer of ink mixed with extender for a little transparency onto the plate before wiping off some trunk shapes. Then applying ink with a stiff brush I added the trunk markings in. The rough grassy floor was fun! I added a little more ink and scratched into it with sharpened sticks, a supersharp pencil point and toothpicks.

I wanted a really sharp and bright white moon so cut a paper stencil for this. The thickness of the paper has meant a darker edge to the ink surrounding the moon but I quite like this as it adds to the contrast and I think it needed something hard amongst all the lost and found edges through the rest of the image.

This image is available as a reproduction and stationery on my Redbubble site

It is also available here on Fine Art America.

I managed a ghost print (running the plate with leftover ink again through the press with some slightly damper paper) only adding a little extra ink to the trunk markings and lower corner of grass.  Once the print had dried I worked into it with watercolour and coloured pencil introducing some colour and neutralising some of the harder darks adding more form into the trunks. I liked the way the pencil picked up the texture of the inks where it had printed thicker in some areas. I think this is an avenue well worth exploring - a big adventure for the start of the year - the results could be very exciting... ©2017LisaLeQuelenec
Night Watchmen   monoprint and mixed media 15x21cm ©2017LisaLeQuelenec

Night Watchmen detail   ©2017LisaLeQuelenec

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Pine cone - a drypoint

seaside studios blog
Pine cone   drypoint etching print   ©2016Lisa Le Quelenec

I have been working on a set of new monoprints of winter birch trees and am impatiently waiting for the ink to dry so I can work into them and experiment with combining other media. My fingers are itching to get going but It will be another few days yet....

In the meantime here is a small drypoint pine cone that I finished last year and have just put for sale in my Etsy store SeasidestudiosUK.

I am so lucky to be so close to the sea and near the New Forest - it really is the best of both worlds.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Inspiration for 2017

Happy New Year!

We are five days in and plans are afoot for a busy and experimental year. Exciting times are ahead as I have gained time to work now that my little guy has more time at pre-school and I am planning on packing a lot in. I would like to focus this year on markmaking and texture and to be a bit more experimental. Ideas that were sown during printmaking experiments are perculating and although I am unsure quite how they will unfold I think a little more mixing of media may lie in my future.

I have started a project with a series of collages that include printed, drawn and painted elements and words of wisdom and bon mots that I have collected over the years - usually scribbled in sketchbooks and the margins of books. I feel the need for a bit of positive inspiration and good humour after the extremes of 2016 which I confess left me feeling a little dazed and rather powerless.

Anyway, I started with one of my favourite quotes which always makes me smile....

From the Inspirational Quotes series ©2017LisaLeQuelenec

The series is available in various formats as reproduction prints and stationery from Redbubble here and I hope to add to it throughout the year.

From the Inspirational Quotes series ©2017LisaLeQuelenec ©2017LisaLeQuelenec
Notebook from the Inspirational Quotes series ©2017LisaLeQuelenec