Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Peak District Prints Part 1

I was one of a dozen engravers who were invited to visit the Peak District and create wood engravings in response. I was part of a group who traveled there in early May 2013 and, over the next few months, I planned and engraved four prints. The whole set of approximately forty engravings will be exhibited at many places in the Peak District during 2014. 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.

In this first of a pair of posts, I will show the development oftwo of the engravings.

1. A Chatsworth Hedgehog

I enjoyed the grounds of Chatsworth House very much but found my inspiration in the extensive vegetable garden. I liked the sunny parkland stretching out beyond the stable block and, nearer to hand, I loved the terracotta rhubarb forcers. It was rather early for many vegetables to I decided to imagine those at a later date.

I found this composition rather difficult. No matter how I arranged vegetables and forcers, I was unhappy with the result, which lacked focus. The answer came to me as I was walking round my own village. A hedgehog! They are a favourite mammal of mine and, although I saw no sign of one during my visit, I was sure that Chatsworth must have many hedgehogs scuttling about in the twilight.

Here is a series of four preparatory drawings which show how I took a sketchy idea and developed it to the point that I could start to engrave:

The last drawing is in ink and shows how I turned the stable block to make a more symmetrical image. The leeks make a small "avenue" along which the hedgehog has been moving.

The engraving was relatively straightforward. The first proof pulled was rather flat and grey and so I had to make sure that I let enough light into the image by widening some of the engraved lines.

Here is the finished image. I was particularly pleased with this engraving after the difficulty I had at the beginning.

" A Chatsworth Hedgehog" 

Wood Engraving. Image size 104 x 70 mm 
Hand printed on Zerkall paper in an edition of 125

2. Dovedale Heron

I had seen this heron on a walk along  Dovedale the previous year and had been thinking about making an engraving so this was the perfect opportunity. There was no difficulty in this composition as I had a vivid memory of the heron perched on a dry stone wall, standing on one leg.

The heron is on of my favourite birds and I have made three engravings - one large and two tiny. I was lookng forwards to adding a forth.

Here is my original ink drawing. Having made it, I decided that I wanted to change the slope of the wall and so made the very rough sketch below it.

As usual, I made an outline drawing in ink on the block. The cuts themselves are improvised as I work.

I enjoyed engraving the stone wall. I tried to give each piece its own character, rather than use a formula throughout the wall.

It was soon time to start working on the background:

Here is the engraved block. Notice how the valley side behind the head is engraved right up to the bird.

I was happy with many aspects of the print when I pulled the first proof but it seemed a little "flat". After much thought, it occurred to me to cut a circle of light behind the head.  As soon as I took the next proof I was happy with the image. Who knows where inspiration comes from?

Here is the finished engraving:

"Dovedale Heron"

Wood Engraving.  Image size: 106 x 67mm
 Hand printed on Zerkall paper in an edition of 125

I am offering a special pre-publication price on these two engravings. They can be purchased at this price exclusively from my Etsy store:


Celia Hart said...

What a lovely project Andy, I love the hedgehog print.

dawn said...

Your work is so amazing it knocks me sideways! :)

Unknown said...

Thank you so much Andy for presenting wonderful art, and really this is great work. I've fully impressed by your wonderful adventurer art.

Gray Laser Engraving