I spent most of 2016 working on drawings and prints. The series of drawings is all roughed out and I am at the time consuming stage of building up the darks and lights on each with much layering, using an HB pencil. As this process is not taxing on the brain I usually do it in the evenings in the more social environment of the living room, while simultaneously listening to an audio book. Progress has been slowed recently as I have been manufacturing my supply of Christmas cards for 2017 in the evenings. This is a job I do in January. I know it is a bit pre-emptive, but then I can forget about it rather than be frazzled in October when life is busy and I still have my cards to make. I also know that I could buy the cards or just send emails, but I am stubborn and like the personal touch of the cards, so the January tradition continues.
I have found it impossible to incorporate the main theme of my artwork (ie: details in nature and specifically at the moment, the nature of the leaf) into the cards, so they have traditional Christmassy motifs but incorporate techniques I use in my art eg: collage and lots of mainly fiddly cutting (see below).
I did use a technique from long ago in one version of the cards this year ie: torn paper patterns. Back then I used to scrape paint down sheets of used paper (mostly reports from the office) to create harmonious patterns, and then collage on the torn strips, sometimes in interwoven patterns. Now I am just tearing and collaging Christmas paper strips, but the principle is the same.
On the printing front, progress has been more sustained. In addition to continuing with my 8 multi-stage plates I have printed out some single colour linocuts of the internal structure of leaves and experimented with adding collage and watercolour to them for a bit of variety. The results are quite abstract as the colours are not realistic but I don’t think that matters (see below).
However, that was 2016 and now, with an exhibition looming in 2017, it really is time to get on with some painting.