Author Archives: smallwindowstudio

About smallwindowstudio

I am a printmaker and occasional painter, educated at the Batley School of Art and Bretton Hall College in West Yorkshire and Leicester Polytechnic (now De Montfort University). I worked initially as a graphic designer/illustrator before teaching in secondary and further education. I retired in 2011 and since then have concentrated on my art work. Making prints affords opportunities to create images through a range of methods which have unique qualities. There is a fascinating contrast between the preparations of an experimental plate and the precision and order required to produce a clean print. I work mostly in collagraph and drypoint using card, metal and Perspex usually acquired from the floor of the framing room, purchased at little cost as printer’s offcuts, or from DIY stores. These simple materials allow the use of traditional practice, for example using etching tools and scalpels to incise images and also the creation of texture through abrasive sandpaper, collage and the application of carborundum and chine colle. Some of my work is produced from plates which are a combination of one of more of these methods or multiple over-printed plates. Not all my prints are flat; I have been experimenting with simple folded artist’s books which bring particular challenges in preparing plates that print in the correct orientation for the folds. My work has always been influenced by an unwavering belief in the importance of observation and drawing and almost always starts with something I have seen. My source of inspiration is constantly the ‘things around me’. My main home is in Lincolnshire, with its living skies, where the seasons are always apparent in the farmers’ fields. I also have a home in North Yorkshire, which provides a contrasting stimulus in the rugged coastline, isolated communities with tumbling houses, and the wild moorland. The endless possibilities and challenges provided by printmaking keeps everything alive and fresh.

October

Sahmain greetings

Winter is creeping in, a bit of respite from the increasingly early dark nights are the light mornings and our 21st wedding anniversary.

From the Small Window Garden

Everything has shed or is shedding leaves – the colours are glorious and the birds are still chirping away. We have three of four Blackbirds, some Jackdaws, Robins, Sparrows, Collared Doves and Wood Pigeons mostly. Here are three ‘views’ mostly located in the veg plot/fruit section. Watercolour and Inktense on Langton 300gsm.

Blueberry Bush

Frog Pond and Compost Bin!

Plum Tree

It has been a quiet month really, I made a new set of cards on an Autumn theme and started work on my ‘Sand Etchings’ from photographs by the talented Hilary Robinson over there in New Zealand. I intend to actually etch them, these are the watercolour preparatory sketches.

Autumn Cards

Sand Etchings

A major bit of excitement was the Whitby Art Society on our drawing Fun Day. Lots of talented young artist and parents visited us at Pannett Park. There were a variety of activities for them to experience. I made folded books on a Haunted House and Haunted Forest theme. I also bought some brilliant plain card cut out figures (15 for £1!) from Wilko’s, which were quickly transformed into Pumpkin People, Dracula, Vampire Mermaids etc. It was an exhausting day – I couldn’t do this for a week anymore!!

My examples

Young Artists

Going to take the Edgelands exhibition down tonight – it has been very well received with some sales too.

Submitted three pieces for the Ferens 2020 Open – waiting to hear.

September

Autumn – my favourite season. I think it must be something to do with being a teacher all these years but it always feels like my new year. The garden outside small window studio is partly dishevelled and partly valiantly still blooming. Nearest to me is the vegetable and fruit area, the fruit is finished and the raspberry canes are ready to crop and the new ones are ready to be tied up. The rhubarb is still emerging but it is also ready to rest. The plum tree provided, for the first time in six years, a small crop – I am busy feeding and lightly pruning!

Inside the studio and print workshop the Edgelands project is finished and Ron and I spent this morning at the Gallery @ Salt hanging the pieces. We are so relived how well it looks. It is an odd way of working but it suits us, where we agree a theme then each of us gets busy in our separate studios. The brilliance of social media means we share our work amongst ourselves and also our many mutual Bretton Hall friends – who are a great support. Pat – Ron’s wife provided a much needed steadying influence and surpassed herself ensuring all were correctly spaced – down to 1mm!! We are now planning our ‘Meet the Artists’ day 11-3 on Saturday 12th October 2019.

Here it is

RON

JAN

The last piece to be completed for Edgelands was a multiple fold Artist’s Book based on my fascination for the glowing stacks on and around the Humber bank.

StacksGlow

I sourced some gorgeous brown paper mini carriers to put the books in – A BookinaBag I’m calling it. The string I attach the price tag to the carrier looked too white against the brown so I dyed it with a tea bag….

Ron, as usual, is streets ahead and has already devised next years project….Doors and Windows. Watch this blog.

I am pleased to say that Nick’s book arrived today – it is so exciting opening the boxes to see all the pristine books packed tightly in. Next job is to make the book mark – I have the image so it is just the type and get it to our printers. I think its really important to add a little touch like this.

Well, here’s me going for a rest and a large glass of red.

August

The summer roles on, the veg plot and fruit trees outside the small window studio window are dusty and mostly spent. A few plums on the tree still to ripen and the late raspberries are still fruiting. Around me the fields are being harvested and lots of round and oblong bales are dotted across the landscape. All looks peaceful despite the chaos caused by Boris Johnson.

It has been a month of consolidation for the Edgelands project, all the work is completed and the mammoth task of mounting and bagging the browser prints is finished. We have our set up dates and also a ‘Meet the Artists’ session booked for the middle Saturday of the exhibition. It’s all very exciting and Ron and I are now devising our 2019-20 project!

Here are some of the little gallery prints:

Dancing on the Water’s Edge

I see

Moon bounces along

Nick has written a new book – a collection of short stories or ‘Flash Fiction’ I was very proud that he asked me to provide the cover and some in text black and white illustrations. The book is called ‘Gone in a Flash’. Here is the cover picture.

Small Window Books preview

and a selection of the in text ones

The books is with the publishers now, it is very exciting.

Time goes by so quickly and ridiculously early for the Ferens exhibition next February came the email to submit.

I have worked two new pieces for this – they are monotypes

EdgyHedgerow

SaltendShimmer

The little cards continue to sell well and the last, probably, of the summer collection went off to the Dispensary

Looking forward to September – it always will mark a New Year for me – all those years in teaching.

July

I seem to have spent July picking raspberries, rhubarb and blackcurrants. They are all gathered in now and the freezer is bursting. Plums and blueberries to come.

I have tried to consolidate the work for the Edgelands project this month. I spent two days in small window studio assembling and mounting, on board, the work for the ‘little gallery’ which includes a selection of paintings, prints and monotypes. I have made a start also on mounting the browser work. All thirteen (!) of the prints for framing are now with Tina my expert at Art Frames in Barton upon Humber. As is often the case I am surprised by the amount I have completed and the range. This project took a long time to take off. I am just in the process of cataloguing it all and writing up the technical data which I find invaluable. My system is this; each plate has a sticker on the back showing the title, the edition size, paper used and inks used. I also keep this on a chart – I like belts and braces, the chart also includes a short rationale which explains the pieces. The final print came off the press in the small window print workshop this month. It is a drypoint etching based on Fylingdales Moor. Although what is there now is not as iconic as the golf balls. This landscape has been in my mind for a while but, seriously, I was unsure about committing it to paper because of the implications – I checked on Google images and there are many photographs – taken from a distance, so I figured it was ok.

Moor Edge – We Listen

I mounted up a plywood monoprint, initially for the browser but then changed my mind and included it in the framed pieces. I made it early on the Edgelands project and wasn’t sure I liked it but now I do!

Ravenscar – Sea Edge

I added some more cards to the Summer collection for sale at the Dispensary in Whitby.

Cards

I am pleased to be taking part in the Caistor Arts weekend at the end of August and have submitted three pieces. A bit of good news also – Reuben has sold one of the chapbooks, we are delighted.

The sales of Nick’s book are going well and he has a second one ready for publication which he has asked me to illustrate so I am about to start the preparatory sketches. Its quite tricky because the stories often have a sting in the tail at the and so the illustration can’t give it away. Feels good to doing something different, they are black and white pen and ink drawings.

Happy Summer amongst the mad weather,

June

HAPPY LITHA

Very please to have two pieces accepted for the Print Open – one of which is the chapbook. The chapbook has generated a lot of interest, not just from Bretton Hall friends but across a much wider spectrum. Clara B Jones an American author and critic wrote a brilliant review; here is an extract:

REVIEW BY CLARA B. JONES

“There was earth inside them, and they dug.” Paul Celan
I regularly peruse Entropy Magazine‘s feature, Where To Submit, and have noticed that a few journals are dedicated exclusively to collaborative writing; and, in the domain of experimental literature, hybrid work—often between writers and visual artists—is not uncommon. Collaboration is difficult, even between the best of friends. There are always issues of coordination and control, not to mention the inevitable conflicts of egos. I collaborated with a colleague once—on a major writing project, and it was the worst experience of my 40-year professional life. Notwithstanding others’ experiences, Reuben Woolley and Jan Stead have produced a joint effort that has yielded outstanding results. water, the pamphlet under review, is a visually stunning creative work showcasing the noteworthy talents of two artists—one a poet, one a printmaker and painter.

So all in all June has felt good – the rain has finally stopped and the sun is out!

Outside the small window studio window the birds are going crazy in the bird bath and on the feeding tables. We have had a very young blackbird hopping about for around a week which didn’t seem to be able to fly – it finally found its way into the veg plot which is fenced off so was lightly less vulnerable. Eventually it started pulling worms out and fly up to the raspberry cane frame- yesterday he was off on his own. Feeling thankful.

I added to the summer card collection, which are still selling well.

I am steadily working on Edgelands and have completed two more prints and some paintings for the little gallery.

Humber Edge – Towards the South Bank

This is a collagraph with carborundum in a varied edition of 10

Wold Edge – Storm over Caistor

This is a drypoint in an edition of 10

Four small watercolours for the little gallery.

The first two are part of a series within the series – the depict Worlds within Nature, for example these are based on little rock pools, the ones on the drawing board at the moment are tree roots.

These are edges of the natural world – field and moor

I always surprise myself when I take stock at the end of the month when I see what has emerged. In addition to the art stuff small window books is up and running with Nick’s first book of short stories under our own ‘label’ it is a great achievement and on sale at the Ropewalk Barton upon Humber and The Dispensary – Whitby.

Life in the Shires -Tall Tales from the Humber to the Esk

This is the font cover illustration

See you in July.

May

The chap book with Reuben is finally finished – well three of the edition of ten are stitched – 1/10 has be submitted to the Print Open at the Ropewalk, 2/10 is here in small window studio and 3/10 is winging its way to Española for himself. The stitching was the hardest part – getting the holes lined up and not tangling the linen thread. I have had angst over this bit since the project started but I am relived to find it all worked – as my old da would have said ‘measure twice and cut once!’. I made the front cover with my hand stencil set accompanied by a water like flourish in inktense crayon.

water

stitching

stitching

inner

Edgelands is progressing well, at last, I painted four watercolours for the ‘little gallery’ and reworked one of the etchings and made two collagraphs. I got inspiration looking at industrialscapes on the edge of the Humber and The Wolds

StackGlow Hedgerow2, Edge of Market Weighton, Edge of the River and Moonwood

Fimber Edge – The Pathway

Humber Edge – Towards Saltend

Wolds Edge – Melton Ross Quarry

Lovely views of the garden at this time of year from the window of small window studio. A lot of green, new growth and birdsong. Feeling inspired as we head towards June.

April

This has been a good month creative wise and for the garden outside the small window studio window. Beautiful weather is always inspiring – coupled with quite a few rainstorms and some hailstones. The plum tree has finally blossomed-after 6years so looking forward to that fruit. The rhubarb is coming on at a pace as are the raspberries. I needed this calming view as the date of the demo drew near. I spent a great deal of time preparing and it took a day to box everything up ready to move up to Whitby. I had a great evening though, with many positive comments and great engagement from the audience.

The pieces turned out well considering the ‘pressure’ and speed you have to work at. I didn’t manage to finish everything I had prepared but I did provide a three pager of the techniques for artists to follow up. I enjoyed it but I am really glad its over.

I made a Spring card collection for The Dispensary and three alternative cards commissioned as a Wedding Gift Thank You Card for dear friends.

btr

I made good progress with Edgelands; I have three finished prints and one ‘experimental’ piece which still needs a bit of work.

Castleton Moor – Edge Grows

Humber Edge – Moon Rolls Down

Humber Edge – Moon Reeds

Fimber – Path

I am also making progress on the chapbook with Reuben – I have finally figured out how to stitch it all together – I am just waiting for the Introduction pages back from Reuben – they have gone to Spain for signing – it is all very exciting.