Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Peak District Prints Part 2

In the first of these two posts, I described the creation of a pair of engravings which featured wildlife in a Peak District setting - a landscape with a very different character from the low-lying flat lands in which I live.
The third engraving follows a similar pattern.

3. A Peregrine On The Roaches

One of the most memorable events of my visit to the Peak District was to clamber up a ridge of rock called  the Roaches. They are spectacular in themselves but I was keen to see the peregrine falcons that were nesting there. I was not disappointed. Most impressive was the speed at which they approached the nest when they took over parental duties from each other.

I decided not to engrave a peregrine in flight. They have such a powerful presence when they stand and survey the landscape. That is what I wanted to attempt to capture. I started by making very rough sketches and then a more finished ink drawing.

I tightened the image by reducing the size of the drawing by cutting and pasting. It would still be one of my largest engravings on wood. Here is the final drawing:

I added a silhouette of a second peregrine in the sky and, beyond the Roaches, I drew the shape of a separate hill called Hen Cloud. I consciously suggested the shape of the rock formations in the pose of the bird.

Engraving was a lengthy process as I wanted to include much detail at every stage. I started with the eye and worked outwards:

Here is the finished block:

From the first proof, I was pleased with this image. I made a few adjustments to tidy some elements and balance light and dark and then it was done:

"A Peregrine On The Roaches" 
Wood Engraving.  Image size: 120 x 120mm
 Hand printed on Zerkall paper in an edition of 125 

4. Peak Post

I have already described the  making of the nine small blocks that make up "Peak Post". This was a way of including glimpses of the Peak District which had interested me but which, in themselves did not suggest a substantial engraving. 
I have also had a fascination with so called "Cinderella" stamps and have engraved them before. Here are some of my original sketches:

And here are most of the individual blocks:

There was not an issue with printing the individual blocks but I wanted to print all nine together as a "sheet" of stamps. This took a lot of careful preparation as I adjusted the blocks on the press:

It was worth the extra effort when, after careful adjustments of packing, inking and pressure, I was able to pull crisp impressions from the press:

"Peak Post"

Nine wood engravings printed as a group. Image size 130 x 175mm
 Hand printed on Zerkall paper in an edition of 125

I will add a reminder that the whole set of approximately forty engravings will be exhibited at many places in the Peak District during 2014 and that I will be demonstrating engraving and speaking about this experience at Gallerytop, Chatsworth Road, Rowsley, Matlock, Derbyshire. DE4 2EH on Saturday 12th April at the Private View, which runs from 12noon - 4pm.

***The two prints described here are also for sale at a pre-publication price in my Etsy store:


Sherrie York said...

Spectacular work, as always, Andy. I am particularly intrigued by the "stamps," as the format suggests adventure and travel and discovery. Just think how gorgeous a passport would be if one received a wood engraving rather than an impersonal date stamp at every checkpoint... (Hm... do you suppose this sudden association with travel means I have spring fever?)

Mathieu Hachey said...

This is impressive work!

Andy English said...

Thank you Sherrie and Mathieu