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Monday, May 16, 2011

Seasalter relics II (• SOLD)

Seasalter relics II © Peter Gander
One of my favourite sea-fishing (and painting) spots. The concrete boulders and remnants of old breakers make excellent tables for fishing and painting stuff! Far enough away too from the madding crowd to be peaceful, close enough to The Sportsman pub, for well, a civilised pint of ale! Phil and Emma in fact, who run the renowned food lovers’ pub, recently informed me that I will be exhibiting here next November and December (2012), another good reason to get painting locally! Winsor and Newton watercolour on The Langton 300gsm (rough) paper. (• SOLD July 2011)

Seasalter relics I

Seasalter relics I © Peter Gander
Seasalter, west of Whitstable is so-named after sea salt was collected here centuries ago in large, shallow, copper pans which allowed the water to evaporate after the tide receeded, leaving the precious commodity behind. These old groynes have been left behind too, pointing their battered skeletal forms towards the isle of Sheppey, to the north-west. Winsor & Newton watercolour on The Langton 300gsm (rough) paper.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Reculver rocks I

Reculver rocks I © Peter Gander
Probably breaking at least two artistic rules in the book, this composition is split dead in half and also has a focal point right in the centre, but rules are made to be broken and it seems to work fine, nonetheless. (I’ve just noticed that the previous painting also broke said rules). A sunnier version than ‘Reculver rocks II’, but the same ‘dryish brush on rough paper’ effect for the rocks. Winsor and Newton watercolour on The Langton 300gsm (rough) paper.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Reculver rocks II

Reculver rocks II © Peter Gander
Just east of Herne Bay where I live are the impressive Reculver towers, a 12th century monastic ruin, visible for miles around. The towers are viewed through gaps in and mirrored by, equally rugged rocks which protect the shore from erosion, the ruin is also high up on a concrete apron defending it from the sea, which used to be some miles away. There are visible linear gouge marks on the rocks, I presume from when they were quarried. Winsor & Newton watercolour on The Langton 300gsm (rough) paper.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The final print, hand-coloured

Black print, hand-coloured and float-framed
The above photo shows the final print as it will appear in the show, hand-coloured in watercolour (the black is essentially oil-based for this purpose, or it will run), numbered, signed and framed in a float frame, i.e the print is sandwiched between two sheets of glass, a distance from the frame’s edge.

‘I love Whitstable’ linocut, (work-in-progress)

Chopping down the lino
All inked up and ready for my roller press...
Happy with the rubbing and looking at the linocut block via a mirror, I am ready to slip it under the press into its registration blocks.

‘I love Whitstable’ linocut, (work-in-progress)

The image flipped, tracing the oyster 'heart' onto the battleship grey lino
Now everything’s drawn to size for transferring to the battleship grey lino, I flip the tracing paper and pencil over the image. I have used brown lino in the past but you can’t beat battleship grey for seeing pencil lines.

Carving the fiddly Tabasco lettering
But to get a really representative line, I use a bold permanent pen to draw in the line (as shown) so that I have  a truer version of what is possible when it is cut. In other words, there’s no point in drawing a fine line when the smallest cutting blade won’t be able to cope with it.

‘I love Whitstable’ linocut, (work-in-progress)

The width of the pen represents a realistic thickness of manageable cut
Cutting the outer line first, for precisions’ sake
Digging out the rest...
I left the oysters free-form, or without an outline, as I don’t like quite everything to be battened down
It’s all carved.
Taking a rubbing
A great tip to see if your linocut is looking good is to use a soft pencil and try a rubbing, albeit back-to-front. It is a handy measure of progress and changes can be rectified before you waste time with a first proof.

‘I love Whitstable’ linocut, (work-in-progress)

1) A colour rough for starters © Peter Gander
My Whitstable show is coming at the end of May and I’ve been checking out what I have ready-framed in my cabin. My ‘I love Whitstable’ linocut was one such discovery and I only touched on it last year, so here’s ‘the making of’ this print,  a work-in-progress preamble. I started with a permanent pen sketch of the idea. Whitstable is famous for its oysters and is known as Oystertown. So, adapting the familiar ‘I (heart) New York’ style, I replaced the ‘I’ with a bottle of Tabasco sauce which it is served with at the Fish Market in the harbour. The heart too, is represented by two overlapping oysters, the scene Whitstable’s pebbly beach and flanking groynes. Wishing to keep colours to a minimum, I used a limited colour palette. Here I’m adding colours to the sketch at least, in watercolour, sometimes I use bleedproof professional (Magic) marker pens or Pantone Pens. I also at this point see if I can use graduated colours, such as the pebbles colour, the small swatch of colour shown outside the image to the right. A graduated colour from a dark hue to light is very effective when it comes to a linocut, not to say economical with colours that one has available. Such colours are easily blended too on the ink roller itself thus you can achieve drama with just one ‘pass’ of the roller. Once I’m happy with the colours I produce a tighter pencil drawing to the right format and scale, bearing in mind the size of the piece and understanding that fine details just aren’t going to happen if the size is small.
2) A tighter pencil drawing ready

Sketch for ‘Whitstable smack’ linocut

Sketch, ‘Whitstable smack’ © Peter Gander
For my end-of-the-month show, a preliminary sketch for ‘Whitstable smack’, which will be a linoprint using a composite of images of all things Whitstable. A smack is the distinctive sail boat shown in the centre, these were used for bringing in the oysters. Also featured are the Crab & Winkle, (after Britain’s first passenger railway from Canterbury to Whitstable); a wind farm turbine; the Fish Market standing figure, as per my previous linocut); a Maunsell Fort (ditto); The Street (sea shingle walk, ditto), Oysters, seagulls, fishing huts, an anchor and a rope border. This sort of composition is inspired and influenced by the wonderful woodcuts of British artists Geoffrey Wales (who actually lived in nearby Margate), Eric Ravilious and the linocuts of Edward Bawden.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The white cliffs of Dover

The white cliffs of Dover © Peter Gander
Smallish painting of a grand view of Kent’s famous white cliffs of Dover. I liked the low-key colour palette. The clouds were lifted from the still-wet paper with a dry tissue for a fluffy appearance. Winsor & Newton watercolour on The Langton 300gsm rough paper.

‘Whitstable is my oyster’ (landscape) greetings card

Whitstable is my oyster (landscape) © Peter Gander
This time painted only in blue Quink Indian Ink, the lettering was hand-drawn with a bamboo dip pen for a greetings card for my upcoming end of May show.

‘Whitstable is my oyster’ (portrait) greetings card

Whitstable is my oyster (portrait) © Peter Gander
My spin on ‘The world’s your oyster’, as Whitstable is also known as ‘Oystertown’ and also ‘The Pearl of Kent’ as the town grew on its Whitstable Native Oyster industry and still does a decent trade. This small painting will appear as a greetings card at my upcoming show. Painted cloisonné style, (with a thick black outline) and Winsor & Newton watercolour on The Langton 300gsm rough paper.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Sheppey silver

Sheppey silver © Peter Gander
Again, for my exhibition at the end of May, a small painting of a view seen across the estuary from the beaches of west Whitstable, north Kent, showing the island of Sheppey, revealed here in the silvery sun, using mostly Payne’s Grey, a particular favourite colour of mine. Watercolour on The Langton paper (rough, 100% cotton). • 20 May UPDATE: Featured in The Artist magazine, July 2011.

Six Seasalter huts

Six Seasalter huts © Peter Gander
For my upcoming show at the end of May at The Horsebridge Gallery, Whitstable, this represents part of a row of beach huts (well, more dwellings as they appear much larger and sophisticated than your average beach hut) just west of Whitstable in Seasalter, named after the medieval practise of collecting sea salt from the shallow Thames estuary here in medieval times in shallow copper pans as the sea receded and the sea water evaporated. The huts line a private beach in front of a reedy grassland near the renowned Sportsman pub. Winsor & Newton watercolour on The Langton 100% cotton (forme ronde/rough) 300gsm paper.