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Never stand still.

Some months I feel as though I am on a treadmill set at high speed. Work, kids, puppies, exhibitions trade fairs. The downside of having six weeks off for the summer holidays is the mountain of work to come back to in September. I have spent most of this fortnight wading through paperwork, ferrying artwork from one exhibition to another, and figuring out logistics for forthcoming trade fairs and shows.

Our new Puppy, Jazz.
 

I actually haven’t painted anything for nearly three months, and so feel I’m probably going to be pretty rusty when I pick up the brushes again in October (after the Country Life Fair on the 28/29th September, no point even attempting to get started before that circus has finished!) They have been a fantastic job of publicising it, organising a very glamorous event at the Natural History Museum, which was attended by many artists in their finery! Do come and visit me, my stand is number 219.

Printmaking at SouthHill Park

As much I would like to stand still for a few moments, it is all too easy to get stuck in a work rut, and so to that end I have signed up for a printmaking course at the fabulous Southhill Park in Bracknell.

 

I have never really done any printmaking, and the equipment and range of techniques is bewildering for a complete beginner, particularly as I seem to have joined a very experienced class! The first session was absolutely absorbing and inspiring, and while I have hardly produced any masterpieces, it has been great fun, I’ve learnt a huge amount and realised just how much more I have to learn. These were my first two attempts – simple monoprints, working with etching ink onto acetate.

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Shepherd linocut

Shepherd

I love this wistful old fashioned image of a shepherd, his dog, and some feisty sheep. This lino cut was based on some photos taken in Scotland, of Angus, the gamekeeper, shooing away some sheep, with his none too helpful Labrador.
I’ve painted Angus before, a few years ago now, he has a well lived in face.

After many frustrating hours, I bought a book on lino cutting, and had a bit of light bulb moment – less ‘eureka’ and more ‘DUH!’ So that’s how you do it. Multiple plate lino cuts to follow (ie: more than one colour, as the plate for each colour has to be carved on a separate plate.) This one of angus is a cheats version, as I’ve just filled in the colour digitally, but in my next spare moment I’m going to carve a couple of colour plates for it.

Gus & Torro

I finished this painting for my brother, as a gift for him and his new wife, Karen. The dogs, Gus and Torro, were fantastic to paint, such characters, and such a great contrast between them, Gus is wonderfully elegant, and mannered, and Torro, well, Torro is not. Can you tell which is which?!

The commission for June is taking shape, I have a rough composition in charcoal down on paper, and it is throwing up quite a few challenges.

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Linocuts

Been a while since I posted, but hopefully will be more regular from now on.
I have been experimenting with linocuts recently, and have produced four images that are working well. They are going to be part of a series of british mammals. So far we have Hare, Fox, Squirrel and Badger.
Each one will be a limited edition of ten. I’m really enjoying this medium, although it is very time consuming, being able to produce small editions makes them more affordable than a one off work. So they are priced at £125 framed, and on sale through my website. www.zuccazu.com