Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Gothic Hare

Earlier this year, I wrote briefly about visiting the "Gothic" exhibition at the British Library and ended that piece with a sketch. Its time to pick up the threads of that post and finish the story.

Here is the first sketch again:

Here is a more developed sketch, containing all the information I needed to engrave:

I make an engraving last year called Moonlit Ambling using an artificial Resingrave block and decided to do the same with this print. My work on boxwood has become even finer, especially with bookplates and so this is something of an antidote to that, forcing me to work a little more boldly.

I started with the hare. I have darkened the block with some black printing ink mixed with solvent. The light tone lets be see both my pencil lines and the engraved marks:

Next, I started to draw the Gothic arch, enjoying an opportunity to use my imagination:

I decided from the start that I would shape the block. I needed to cut the surface away quite drastically to prevent picking up ink from the edges so I reached for a saw and chisel and did the job thoroughly!

After a few days working on the engraving, it was time to pull the first proof, always an exciting time. No matter how well one thinks things are going, you never really know until you see a proof.

As it happened, I was very pleased with the result but with one reservation. There seemed just a little too much foreground. I used paper to mask off the lower edge and this confirmed my thought. More drastic action; another saw!

This time I was happy and there were just a few areas that needed a little more light and a spot of tidying up around the edges:

Here is the finished engraving. I like the almost cheeky expression. The eye was designed to put one in mind of the moon.

"A Gothic Hare" measures 190 x 85mm and is available in an edition of 125, printed in a 1902 Albion Handpress onto smooth Zerkall paper. Buy from my Etsy Store

You will be able to see this engraving at the first Hepworth Wakefield Print Fair. I will have a large selection of my engravings, hhand printed books and, as usual, I will be engraving at my table so you can see how it all happens. It would be great to see you in Yorkshire on 21st/22nd March. Admission is free. If you did want to buy from me, I should point out that I can't take credit cards so bring your chequebook or cash.

"A Gothic Hare" also features in an exciting book called "The Artful Hare" which will be available later Spring/early Summer. I have several more engravings included - and yu can see one of my hares peeping at you from the back cover. More news about this book when it is available.

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