It’s a difficult time to be creative, as on the one hand I finally have some time to pursue some artsy pursuits, but my mind is rather foggy and preoccupied; not the best environment for fomenting ideas. However, I cleaned my house (well, the bits that matter) yesterday and I finished the blue tit I have had languishing in my box of drawings for about 6 months:

I have another painting of a blue tit below, but although it’s a classic pose, I did this fairly early on in my bird painting and I don’t like a ‘prop’ any more in my paintings so I was pleased to have a similarly blue-tit-esque photo from Roger Hunt (@rmhphotographic on Instagram) to use as a resource.

I have a few illustrations on the go (I am drawing posters) and I would like to have a play with the suite of Adobe programs while my son still has his free pass!

I bought some Lino and cutters last year, and didn’t want to allow myself down that particular rabbit hole when I had so many other things outstanding, but the current situation does feel rather disconnected and I find it difficult to relate projects to real time. So, it seemed the perfect opportunity to do something new and unconnected to anything normal. It took me ages to decide on a topic, as I love linocuts and couldn’t work out if I wanted to go naive or finely detailed, and whether to do a subject which was folksy and homespun or something more sophisticated and artistic. I settled on my chickens, as I am used to drawing them and I had a nice photo of a quad of hens I reared from chicks, and then sold to my friend. They are gorgeous big brown hens (Rhode Island Red cockerel over Light Sussex hens, for those who know about these things!):

I liked the composition of this, and thought it would be a good way to practise different techniques as I have not done linocut since I attempted one at school aged about 13…

I managed to stab myself just the once – putting the Stay Home/Stay Safe thing slightly in to question – but I soon learnt how to keep my fingers out of the way!!

Here are my finished articles:

I paint the birds in gouache on printing paper, which is really unforgiving but I was given a massive roll of it by Jealous Gallery when I was just starting out and I am used to painting on it, so it worked perfectly with the printing ink. I have done a number of mono prints in the past so have the rollers and ink, and use old shelves from a fridge to load the roller. I am going to do a more scenic one next involving lapwings.

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