Northtown in colour

I've finished cutting my latest woodcut, 'Northtown' and have pulled a few proofs.  I like it in black and white, but have also been experimenting with hand-tinting.  I'm reasonably happy with the result here but need to find a way to avoid streaks in the grey hills.  Printing this block is a challenge as its at the maximum length the press can cope with. Also there are many fine lines that can fill in easily so inking-up must be done very carefully.

March Leaves

Well putative leaves really, in a budding grove.  Today I've been enthralled by the exquisite tracery of the twigs against the dark river, the bright sky and as shadows on beech bark.

The hedge along Salem Field is even more depleted now as further drastic cutting has been done by the archery club. Feels like a set-back for my project to document the seasons in this tiny patch of land but I'll persevere for the time being and see what happens.

Woodcut Townscape - Northtown

Work in progress on another commission from Pennine Prospects, a woodcut of an archetypal northern town in the southern pennines - so, the town hall is based on Todmorden's, the co-op on Delph's, weavers cottages from Hebden Bridge, Saddleworth viaduct and so on.

Drawing up on the moor

There's nothing better for sorting the sheep from the goats or whatever that saying is, than a drawing trip up  Oxenhope Moor on a freezing March morning.  It might have been sunny but the wind seemed to come straight from Siberia as me and my friend Vikki got off our little local bus in the middle of nowhere high above Crimsworth Dean.

The solution -  hunkering down behind a dry-stone wall and working quickly for as long as the warming sun stayed out.  An opportunity to continue my obsession with the swirling moor grass, and for Vikki to show how its done with panache in her cheery red coat. Thats not a spelling mistake by the way - cherry red is an altogether different colour!

February leaves - the new and the old

Confusing I know, since its now March, but laser-cutting mania has prevented me from uploading anything new on another strand of work which involves documenting the natural growth cycle on a very small stretch of Hebden Water, alongside Salem Field.

Vile weather and various jobs kept me away from the river for a few weeks until the end of February so I was expecting a few changes, but not expecting to see that most of the shrubs and young trees I'd photographed and drawn in January had been chopped down!

I know its all been done with the best of intentions and in the name of tidying up the riverside walk by the archery field, but the amount of clearing seems a bit extreme.  Admittedly, the hedge laying looks well done and there will be loads of new growth very soon, but still it was a shock and I'm annoyed I never got to see the final demise of most of my old tortured leaves.

Not all the trees are gone of course, and its great to spot the first beginnings of Spring growth including tiny green leaves at last.

Tree House Book

Here's a couple more pictures of Tree House in progress. I really love the way the pages react to a raking light and can't resist trying to capture the effect on camera, although it always seems to be when its late and I'm tired, so not the best photos.

Folding the concertina is a bit tricky, as there's so much negative space in relation to the page 'frame'.
Maybe I should have made the borders wider... but actually I like the element of fragility and everything is fine so long as I don't get distracted whilst folding.

I haven't decided what to do about the cover yet - whether to have holes in it or not.

Tree House book is growing

Another session of laser-cutting at Huddersfield Uni yesterday.  Making the cutting template in Illustrator on Sunday night nearly drove me mad - all those branches - aagh.  The technician asked me if I suffered from OCD - cheek!

I was hoping to cut quite a few of these, but something was wrong with my file and the laser started recutting over already cut lines so I had to call it a day until I can sort my template.  I think I may have forgotten to flatten my layers in Illustrator, thus confusing the tiny mind of the mighty laser-cutter.  All very annoying because I now have to wait two weeks for another available booking.