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I have been working hard for the last few weeks trying to catch up with myself. My 'process' is beginning to evolve into a workable thing. I have the press up and running and boy does that feel good. I am learning fast and making up for lost time. I have managed to create some lino cuts which I am pretty happy with (is an artist ever truly happy with their work?) and which I will be submitting to L'Artishe Gallery in Swanage for their Open Printmaking Exhibition they are holding in April. As always I am running close to the deadline for submissions but I suppose thats just the way I roll.

Its a familiar theme really. The 'big show' in May at the Lighthouse looms ever closer and the amount of work still needed to be done seems to grow larger and larger as the time gets nearer. I am reaching the 'waking up at 4 in the morning in a panic' stage. Why I always leave things so late I dont know.

But I started talking about 'process'. The biggest change I have made to the way I work in the last year is that I am using sketchbooks much more. I used to travel everywhere with a camera and take thousands of photos for reference and with the intention of useing the resulting images for future work. It has taken me a long time to learn that a sketchbook is a vastly more useful resourse. And heres for why. A photograph will record pretty faithfully the scene you are looking at with great accuracy and and in a fraction of the time it takes to make a skectch. But...a photo will not record how you felt about the scene; what your 'emotional response' to the view was. What was important about the view and what you wanted to remember.

If you asked a hundred artists to take a photo of a single view you would get a hundred almost identical reproductions of that view. If you gave those artists a sketchbook and a pencil you would get a hundred very different images. You would learn a lot more about how those artists felt about what they were looking at.

I have learned in the transition that I love sketching and working in small (5x3) books with just a conte pencil limits the information you can record. If you have an impatient dog with you then that limits the imformation even more so you learn quite quickly not to dither but to crack on and record what you need to.

It means that when you get back to the studio and make work from your sketch you can use the sketch much more effectively as a record of your impression rather than being intimidated by detail. Heres an collagraph etching I made and the sketch I made it from. If I'd have thought about it at the time I would have taken a photo too to illustrate this further but hey ho.

And finally I have made a breakthough with ink transfer monoprints. Up until now I have had high hopes for the drawing potential of ink transfer. I love experimental play element of using up ink at the end of a printing sessions by laying paper onto the left over ink and drawing into it to produce one off prints (monoprints) but up til now have just ended up with a horrid mess and a feeling of befuddlment. But finally I have realised that I need to remove a lot more ink from the galss before starting and also that thin paper works much better than the quality print paper used for etching or relief printing. In fact the best results seems to be with newsprint. Hu hum. I shall be exploring the possibitlites further at length in future but here are some experimental doodles. I'm planning a series of images based around pylons and telegraph poles as (a slighlty random) element of my travelling light project which I am still exploring.

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