I studied fine art and printmaking at Colchester School of Art in the UK and then got sucked into the world of full-time work. I continued to produce prints at odd intervals but did this purely for my own interest and did not show them to people or attempt to sell them. I was made redundant three years ago and decided to take early retirement. My first career was in university administration but I was made redundant three years ago and I decided to do printmaking more seriously. I started going to St. Barnabus Press in Cambridge and took part in "The Artists' Marquee" at Burwash Manor in Barton, an exhibition affiliated to Open Studios.
I did not start lino printing at college concentrating mainly on etching and drypoint but took it up many years later at a lino printing workshop run by Richard Bawden. I felt an affinity with the medium as soon as I started as I like the way it forces you to design and simplify.
"Woman by the Window" was the third lino print that I attempted. I started with a watercolour self portrait and I traced the outlines of the face on to the lino. The linear style then developed as I went along. It is rather a stark black and white print with all the attention and detail on the face.
Other than this print, I have always preferred to draw directly onto the lino block and use it as a piece of paper rather than tracing designs. I have always used the multiple block method of printing for colour prints rather than the reduction method (using multiple cutting and printing from the same block). The reduction method just gives me a headache in the same way that I experienced as a child from sitting eleven plus practice papers in mental arithmetic!
There is a tendency for lino cuts, from the nature of the medium, to be rather hard and linear with strong blocks of colour. I recently decided that I wanted to do some more delicate looking colour prints. I did this by using multiple blocks and overprinting colours and heavily adding extender to make the final result more translucent. I also do not completely cut away all the lino on areas where I am removing it but leave small areas to overprint and add to the layers.
Some of my recent prints have been of dragonflies and butterflies. They are evocative of those fleeting, perfect memories of Summer and the fragility of life. "Dragonfly on Bramble" is designed to resemble and pencil and watercolour sketch with the main block printed in graphite coloured ink. "Two Butterflies on a Flower" is intended to look like a watercolour painting.
I was brought up in the country and especially loved a nearby wildflower meadow. I like using wild flowers in my prints partly because I feel that we do not appreciate their beauty and because I also like the curved and sinuous lines that they enable you to make. When I am working on a print there seems to be a little voice in my head telling me to put curving lines everywhere,
I was delighted to be selected to take part in the Cambridge Original Biennale 2016 exhibition which took place at the Pitt Building in Cambridge. It was both hard work and an interesting experience and I saw some prints that I really admired.
I am currently taking part in Cambridge Open Studios with the final weekend starting tomorrow. It has been enormous fun and I have greatly enjoyed meeting people and answering their questions. I will also be taking part in Art-in-the-Church in Balsham during the weekend 26th/27th August. Various artists have been asked to take part in order to help raise money for building work on the church which is a Grade 1 listed building.