What’s in a title?


This print is a departure in more ways than one for me: apart from using a new colour for one edition, it is the first print I have published which is part white line and part black line. It has also had the longest gestation of any work I have done—it has taken me approximately twenty years from first inspiration to fruition. I was immediately struck by the subject’s looks and knew I wanted to portray her somehow, but that was long before I made my first engravings. When I started engraving (on wood) I settled into doing figure studies and although I sometimes included a head on my life drawings I never included heads in my prints; I was after something else with my nudes, part of which was anonymity—although people who knew the models could often pick out who they were to my surprise. Over the years I played with different approaches and finally, in 2015, I was ready to make my first cut into the lino. As well as her beauty, the thing I wanted to portray was the interesting ethnic mix of the subject: part Afghan, part Australian Aboriginal, and part Scottish.

I usually mull over different possibilities for titles while I am working on a print. I consider Untitled to be a complete no no—sheer laziness. I think you should look at the image first and only then search for the title to see if it adds anything to your experience of the work, but a title there should be—however difficult it may be to think of one! It has to be said I have been known to delegate this job. Perhaps I should have a competition to name a print one day…? There’s a thought. If ever I get really stuck I may do that. The title for this image was particularly important to me and I’m pleased with how both the image and the naming has turned out. I hope other people will like her too. This print is called Nothing is Black and White.

Colours and editions

Carly 72dpi web

I have recently introduced Quinacridone to the fairly limited palette of colours I tend to use. I’m not sure how this colour will look on your screen but in reality it is the most beautiful rich brown with a real depth to it. Depending on the lighting it can turn towards maroon, purple, or black. I have had it pinned up here for reflection, as I usually do with new work,  and the more I look at it the more I like it. I might have to do a version of Bliss in this colour… I generally do more than one colour version of an image; frequently I do a black version and a colour version—but I haven’t yet done the flowers or tools in black. In fact I have printed far less in black generally in the past year or two; I seem to be enjoying the richness and boldness of colours.