Chasing my Tail – 18 Feb 19

Week three & four, not too unlike week one & two, appear to have merged into each other again. My plan to write weekly blogs as I did in semester one seem to be turning into fortnightly ones. I have really struggled to motivate myself consistently enough to really get going, despite many a plan, idea and the odd breakthrough! I have just been feeling so exhausted, like all the time?! Maybe it’s that I am still recovering from ‘January’ or final year stress, as the reality hits? Maybe it’s physical, like a virus looming or something? I am not sure, but looking into it. Anyway, despite my lack of weekly blog posting, I have been very busy…

First up, the gallery in Machynlleth where I exhibit my work let me know that they were running out of stock, so new work had to be selected and framed up ready for delivery pronto.

New work ready for delivery to Oriel Seren Gallery.
New work ready for delivery to Oriel Seren Gallery.
Little woodcut penguin greeting cards.
Little woodcut penguin greeting cards.

Whilst waiting for my tutorial with CW I realised that I hadn’t really been out with my camera much lately, that I had neglected that side of things due to my other work stresses and obligations, including an ongoing obsession with the wet on wet cyanotype process using found objects etc. So, I am making a concerted effort to try capture what’s going on around me more, to create a body of photographs that can be used in my work.

An old favorite is of course the School of Art building, this was whilst I was waiting for my tutorial;

Back into the swing of it.
Back into the swing of it.

During the periods of, what I am now calling ‘productive procrastination’ I did manage to carve a new little linocut design titled ‘Whippet Love’. I used it as an opportunity to try out Cranfields’ gold relief ink and oh my is it lush! Bit of a faff to clean it but a dream to use. Cranfield website- https://www.cranfield-colours.co.uk/ Although I actually bought mine from a small independent supplier www.handprinted.co.uk Lovely lady running it, fast delivery, personal touch of sweets with your package, nice.

Linocut. WIP
Linocut. WIP
Whippet Love - Linocut
Whippet Love – Linocut. Trying out my new ‘Cranfield’ gold relief ink!

In the studio;

I finally had everything I needed; the raw chemistry, paper, kitchen cupboard items and full sunshine… so the perfect opportunity to have a fun day of cyanotype experimentation, with interesting and pleasing results.

Wet on wet cyanotype experiments out in the sun
Wet on wet cyanotype experiments out in the sun.
Wet on wet cyanotype experiments out in the sun
Wet on wet cyanotype experiments out in the sun.
Wet on wet cyanotype experiments out in the sun
Wet on wet cyanotype experiments out in the sun with a few traditional mini ones too.

The process involved;

Mixing up the raw chemicals to produce the light sensitive solution, this was then painted onto dry ‘Hahnemuhle’ paper in a circled area, then I sprinkled some; dry coffee granules, dry washing powder, dry bicarb of soda, dry turmeric, dry paprika and a few drops of undiluted white vinegar. Laid down various leaves and feathers etc, covered in cling film and finally clipped on the glass sheet on the top.

They were then put out in full sun for 4hr 15m being checked at one hourly intervals.

The results are in!
The results are in!

What I found interesting about this experiment was how using such fresh chemicals seemed to make a difference on the depth of blues created.. and the lack of ‘run’ when painting onto dry paper rather than pre-soaked. So many variants can make a difference.

All in all an interesting result! I really am happy with the circular imagery, really did feel like I was happily lost in my very own cyanotype universe.

What’s next?

I will continue creating wet on wet cyanotypes mixing things up a little, for example I would like to experiment with diluting the ingredients, seeing what happens there. I also want to try double exposures using both foliage and photographic imagery. I will also explore how to present my work, the space around each one etc. Also consider what I am trying to communicate through these works.

Of course my Art history essay is continuing in the background, albeit slowly.

I seem to be trying to get myself organised whilst running, mostly chasing my tail!! Here’s hoping I catch it soon! 😉