Friday, August 26, 2005

Slow Inch by Slow Inch

Quite a good day, today. Took the lurcher out for walks, fed the chickens, drank mugs of steaming tea and listened to England playing some magnificent cricket against the old enemy - the Aussies in the Test Match, a five day ordeal for the teams but great excitement for the listener or watcher. I engraved throughout the day, inch by inch. Things are going well for a spell but I am such a slow worker. Each of those inches seem to take an absolute age - planning the marks, choosing the tool,executing the cut and assessing the marks in terms of the form, the light, even the feel of the piece. Working towards another proof - please let it be good enough work.

The sands of time are slowly but surely running out on this project. This evening will be cutting and proofing; the night will be planning tomorrow's work. Tomorrow morning will be more cutting. Hmmmmm. Time, I think, for more tea!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Working In Dreamtime

Still feeling ill but I'm getting there. I didn't finish the block yesterday - just too much sleeping and too little engraving. I did, however, have a curious experience. At one stage, I woke up having dreamed that I was still engraving. My memory was fresh enough to go out and repeat the cuts in real life. I'm not surprised, as my work dominates my waking thoughts. Actually, there is little to do on that block before I proof and make the final adjustments.

I was feeling a little better today but this morning was taken up taking A to and from a medical appointment and getting to the bank. My head was still fuzzy but this started to clear during the afternoon and I made preparations for more engraving on the final part block. I have a detailed figure drawing and I divided it into areas of different tones. This leads to a very complex drawing but, once it is transferred to the block, the engraving work is quite fast. I have set myself the target of posting the blocks on Monday but I know that this is a huge task, given that I feel so weak and dizzy. No more engraving tonight but I will carry on working on the drawing ready to transfer it to the block tomorrow.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Back from California with wonderful memories and a virus that has hit me hard. Yesterday, I just slept on and off until the evening, when I dragged myself into the studio to engrave, with deadline looming. Up at 5:30am this morning, hoping to carry on but just collapsed into a chair and slept. I go into the studio, engrave a few minutes until I just cannot focus and then sleep some more. Looks like this will be the pattern for the rest of the day; it is really important that I finish this block today so I can work on the other part page tomorrow.

People still ask if I do this for fun!

Of course it is, but that doesn't mean that there are not stresses, particularly not wanting to let people down. I have kept my order books closed until Feb. 2006 but may take on a Christmas card later this year so that I can meet the repayments on the press.

Back to California. The highspot? Probably the big black bear that ambled across our trail in Yosemite. It stood a few feet away and watched us and then turned away (thankfully). No time to reach for my sketchbook so I shot a short video. It was big - much bigger than ones that I have seen in captivity. I feel an engraving coming on!

Off to work then. My head is still spinning a little so I will keep to simple stuff.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Californian Bird Life

Here are some Brown Pelicans Posted by Picasa
Sorry about the silence. We are making our way through California and having a fantastic time. We moved from L.A. to Santa Barbara and then to Los Osos by Morro Bay. Yesterday we had a fantastic drive along the Pacific Coastal Highway to Big Sur and then stayed at Santa Cruz. Tonight we are in Yosemite, where we will stay for three nights before swinging back to the coast and Berkeley, then San Francisco. Posted by Picasa