There has been a slight delay in the next brief for digital illustration work arriving, so today I had the perfect opportunity to finish the prints I started over a week ago . . . remember the stripes?
Well, here they are in the backgound of Version II of the night hares prints.
Silhouetted trees on an ancient hill fort . . .
and glowing sunset colours behind dancing hares . . .
I just completed printing them and got them all pegged up to dry, as the light faded away and it wasn't yet five o'clock.
There was just enough light to photograph them using the 'night' setting on the camera. As I was looking at the pictures a memory sidled into my mind - pictures I was fascinated by a long time ago . . . and there they were in a book on the shelf, a 'First Primer' with my Mum's name written neatly in the front. It's very old fashioned even for 1933 when this copy was printed, it was first printed in 1900 and the children in it are dressed in neat starched pinafores, knikerbockers and sailor collars. But it was the printing, with fractured not quite registered colours and the inky black lines printed over the top that used to fascinate me. Ideas seem to slow cook with me, sometimes for years and then pop into my mind as if from nowhere.
Not quite the end of the working day - after printing there's always the cleaning up and it's the bit I like the least. It helps that I work on my own - I hated those printmaking sessions at art college when the inked glass slabs had become a disgusting melange of every ink on the shelf. At least cleaning is now made slightly less toxic by using vegetable cooking oil, I use this vintage oil can (rescued from my Dad's workshop) to dispense squirts of sunflower oil onto the block and the glass ink-mixing slab. Ooops, just look at those messy fingers - I'll never get work as a hand model!
Robert Macfarlane – Landmarks – published 5 March
40 minutes ago