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Alone ...

This photograph was taken a year ago probably to the day when as a family we were in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland...I would like to say it was a tradition but this year we haven't gone as the icy blasts and the closed signs on all cafes and museums have made us give it a miss this year!!

Dalbeattie Forest is where I took this photograph and I always had it in my mind to 'immortalise' it in lino however I have just completed it last week. The thing about this photo that resonates with me is that you get a sense of the enormity of the forest but also a sense that you you are the only people there and intense solitude and calm. Hence the Alone series...

My main focus for my piece was the tall trees at the front and I initially thought that it would be these that created the most impact in the final piece. As I went through the process it was the sky and the background trees created on 2 separate blocks that create impact.

By analysing the image I decided how to transfer the image to an illustration. I picked out 3 sections that I would see as being in 3 different colours. I was initially thinking that it would be in very bold colours with black tall trees over laid.

I then transferred the image to the lino - I used vinyl lino for this as I wanted a really clear image that I could get spindly branches with. I tend to use hessian backed lino if I want an image that is less clear and has some movement in it. (See 'Wheat Anther' on instagram- soon to be listed in my shop).

Then I carved a block where both background trees and sky were on the same block however the final composition of the image was not what I imagined so it needed a bit of a rethink. I was unsure as to whether leave the shadows of the images or cut out the details. (See the purple and blue inked up lino block).

At this stage I wasn't sure about the images I had carved but went ahead to overlay the tall trees - this can be seen in the image below along with the inked up tree block. I couldn't work out whether it was block or the colours that were bothering me so I drew and cut a different lower tree block which meant that I now had 3 blocks to register accurately in the final piece.

First attempt at final piece!
Inked up lino block - first attempt!

After much deliberation I knew I had to commit to creating a new block...this was actually a bit of a steep learning curve for me as all my work previously had actually turned out roughly as I had predicted and the image that was printed was ok and presentable.

I will let you know that I had a bit of a casting the roller aside when I couldn't get the registration right ...and we had a bit of extra paper for kindling for the fire!

'Alone'

So the third block was made by carving out the image of the trees and leaving the background inked. As I print of all my work by hand with the help of my trusty but very squeaky brayer I found it really tricky to be accurate with the registration of all three blocks...and as I mentioned before this is where I got slightly frustrated !!!

In the end I have produced a 3 of 3 of 'Alone' which is all three blocks together in various shades of grey. The trees at the front appear black however I never print in black but an indigo as i feel it gives a warmer image!

I then played around with sky and the background trees and overlayed to create a an image called 'Alone Too' ...I got 10 of these!!

'Alone Too'

The trees that I had carved as a result of a mistake and failure of the original image were growing on me and I had a idea to print multiple ones of the same image but in differing shades of green and call it 'Alone Together'.

The originals are all available to buy in my shop the paper size is 500/700 mm for 'Alone' and 'Alone Together' and the image size of 'Alone Too' is 300/200 mm.

'Alone Together'