Thursday 28 January 2016

Another storm in watercolour
Horizon shine   watercolour on paper 18x18cm   ©2016Lisa Le Quelenec

This very wet and wild winter has been inspiration for some more stormy watercolours. I used Arches rough paper for this one a complete change to the hot press I usually use. I liked the way I could scrub the pigment into the pits of the paper staining it and then blot off the peaks of the texture. I was trying to capture all the beautiful colours in this particular storm and the way they all sparkled. The sky at the horizon was a very warm and dirty yellow which was exquisitely set off by the turquoise sliver of sea.

Thursday 21 January 2016

Sea Urchin - solar etching
Urchin - A/P1   solar etching   21x15cm   ©2016Lisa Le Quelenec

Having signed up for a second term of printmaking at the Arts University Bournemouth last year I was very excited to learn that we would have the opportunity to try our hand at solar etching. This technique appeals to me as there is no acid involved and so is something safer for me to do at home whilst I have an inquisitive toddler roaming around.

Solar etching uses a light sensitive polymer coated plate to transfer an image from a clear film. The image could be a photograph or drawing photocopied onto acetate or something made directly onto a transparent sheet. I chose to work directly and so onto a piece of plastic I drew with alcohol based drawing pens making a variety of marks and building up the density to get a good variation of tone.
Urchin   drawing on acetate   ©2016Lisa Le Quelenec

Once this was complete the plate was first prepared using an 'aquatint' sheet ( a sheet of film that has a very, very fine and even tone, digitally print and so dotted surface). Laying the plate onto this sheet and exposing it in a lightbox meant that I would get a more subtle variation in tones from my plate when I processed my drawing. Next the drawing is placed on the lightbox with the plate on top and exposed. Moving quickly so as not to over expose the plate to too much extra light it was placed in a bath of warm water to wash off the light sensitive coating using a soft brush. (You know that the coating is fully removed when the plate no longer feels slimy to touch.) The final stage in plate preparation is to give the plate a further exposure in the lightbox to 'harden' off. Once this has been done the plate is ready to be inked up and run through the press in the same way a traditional etching plate. The plates are very strong and a fairly large edition can be achieved without loss of image quality.

(The timings of exposure vary from lightbox to lightbox but this process can also be done using direct sunlight but as the strength of light isn't as controlled the results can be harder to predict so I am told.) Roll on summer as I am seeing this process featuring again in my future. I would like to experiment with using different materials to do the drawing with for a wider variety of marks maybe chinagraph pencils, ink/paint applied with brushes.... also using photocopies of paintings and drawings perhaps?
Urchin drawing, plate and print ©2016Lisa Le Quelenec

For now I am experimenting with inking up the plate and seeing what I can do with it. Different ways of manipulating the ink on the plate are giving exciting results. The centre print was inked up using a roller as if it was a relief block.

Urchin A/P 2,3&4 solar etching   21x15cm   ©2016Lisa Le Quelenec

Thursday 14 January 2016

Sketchbook pages...

Inbetween printing and working on a commission I have been working away in my sketchbooks squirreling away ideas and inspiration for later projects. Sometimes pages are just recordings of little things that have caught my attention - like the daffodils flowering during the first week of January! I'm pretty sure that hasn't happened before but we have had a very mild winter so far. A walk on the beach at Southbourne was very fruitful for ideas. The light was very dramatic as heavy showers started to roll in and the energetic tides were throwing up all sorts of treasures like these mermaid purses (a much more romantic name than fish egg case) some were smooth as silk others furry like animal skin in colours ranging from black to pale olive. Anyway here are a couple of pages...
Mermaid Purses sketchbook page ©2016Lisa Le Quelenec
Daffodils for New Year!  sketchbook page ©2016Lisa Le Quelenec

Friday 8 January 2016

Ammonite etching - three artist proofs

A very happy new year to you. I'm not sure where December went but it did and very fast!
Ammonites  3 etching proofs (centre one with prepainted tissue paper chine colle)   plate size 6x8cm ©2016Lisa Le Quelenec

The above are my very modest beginnings to the new year. Three little etchings, the first proofs from a small zinc etching plate. Ammonites fascinate me and felt like a natural progression after working with chambered nautilus' - maybe spirals are becoming a new theme for me. I certainly enjoy the challenge of drawing them. Being a stone's throw away from the Jurassic coast I am certainly in the right area. The starting point for this plate was a half inch sized ammonite found at Lyme Regis, the whole perfect form lay waiting to be picked up, perfectly intact after a mind-blowing 240 - 65 million years ago.

All three are available in my Etsy store.