All Ready

Thats it, I'm all set now for delivering my Woodcut Printmaking course at Brooklyn Studios tomorrow and Sunday.  Everything's prepared and the new portable catalytic gas fires arrived in the nick of time to ensure a burst of heat in the studio.

I'm really looking forward to the next two days, seeing what everyone does with their piece of wood.  Woodcut is such a beautifully simple process but the results are often stunning.

Here are some of my tools - new ones made in Switzerland by Pfeil bought especially for the course and some of my tatty old favourites that I've had for years and years.

Back to black, grey and brown

Although its a relief the ice has gone and moving around requires a lot less concentration, the element of snow I miss most, apart from the obvious beauty, is the way it bounces light around, even in the shady places.  Suddenly everything seems surprisingly dim, especially in this misty drizzle we have here in the South Pennine hills.  Still, the trees never let you down, always some new angle to admire or familiar aspect to reconsider...

I love drawing on manila envelopes, something about the colour, texture and format. The trees are done with a reed pen I made from reeds gathered on the Vilaine estuary in South Brittany.
I suppose it would be even more appropriate to use a 'pen' made from a twig off the trees depicted - thats something to think about for later.


The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me,
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow;
The storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me:
I will not, cannot go.

Emily Bronte

Happy New Decade

A Happy New Year to all and a special welcome to Barney who was born yesterday on the cusp  of the old and new year.

Hebden Bridge and the South Pennines are still under the spell of the snow queen, just as they were at this time last year.

On new years day 2009 the wonderful winter umbellifers were coated in silvery iron filings of hoar frost, but this time they are sporting snow pom poms.