I’m pleased to say that it was indeed third time lucky for my ‘head’ print which I have decided to call Bliss.
This image is the result of emerging from the workshop, which is almost windowless, one day earlier this year and sitting on a chair in the courtyard facing the sun with my eyes closed as you do…but that is not to say in any way that it is a self-portrait! It’s just that moment of bliss when you feel the sun doing you good.
I’m taking part in a group exhibition at the end of September and I’m trying to produce lots of new work in different subject areas to show. I figure that as I am showing with two other artists whose work is quite different from mine that this is a good time to test new things and I’m hoping that my style is strong enough for the work to look good as a group and not simply a mish-mash of ideas! For many years I just worked with the nude; now I am exploring heads (my figures don’t have heads and my heads don’t have figures), landscapes, and tools among other things. Weirdly, I have also started to combine nudes with tools… Fingers crossed it all works out.
I’m going through an experimental phase at the moment trying out new subjects, sizes, and colours, and it doesn’t always go smoothly. I’m on the third version of an engraving of a head (a new thing for me so I’m less sure of my footing) and hoping this one will make it as far as the Albion! I started out thinking I would like to make a smaller engraving than usual – my nudes are usually either 6 x 6 inches or 6 x 8 inches – but then wasn’t happy with the size so abandoned that block. Then I started a bigger version but decided I wasn’t happy with a couple of the lines and eventually abandoned that one too. If it’s not right it’s just not right. Version three is further along but there’s still plenty to do before I try a proof – I hate to go back to an engraving after the block has been inked up – it is so much harder to judge the lines; I generally work on the basis of getting it right first time. I can only think of one block that I binned after proofing, and truth be told, I probably knew that that one was rubbish beforehand. My current struggle is all the more frustrating when the design probably took me about two minutes to draw – mind you, that was also unusual!