WOODCUT WORKSHOP IN HARTLAND.

I spent a long, and thoroughly enjoyable day in Hartland Village with Adrian & Clea Beasley on a woodcut print workshop arranged by the wonderful Merlyn Chesterman RE. We spent time cutting woodcut print blocks, then inking and printed them. It was amazing how accessible this media is. With sharp gouges and blades we created woodblock prints from loosely drawn images. The magic happened when finally we inked the woodcuts, laid the paper down, and with a ball bearing baren impressed the paper onto the inked block. There is something quite magical about lifting the paper and seeing your image printed crisply onto paper for the first time!

Above is a quick image of mine of a wind blown tree. To the right is a monochrome image with the initial cut at the bottom and a more refined image at the top. Due to the lack of close observation of the tree I thought to myself it was slightly disappointing, but I was learning fast, after all it was my first image. To the left, Merlyn suggested that I create another block to make the image two tone composition, so with a graduated grey/blue background the image was greatly improved and the final print can be seen at the top of this post. The two matching blocks can be seen in the left hand picture.

Above are a mixture of today’s offerings and for our first attempts I’m rather impressed. I thought that my friend Adrian Beasley’s image, next to my tree was very strong with it’s powerful movement.

CROYDE BAY PUMPING.

Continuing on with the sunny weather we decided to have a meal at The Thatch in Croyde Village followed by a walk down to the beach. The waves were working so we watched surfers enjoying a clean winter wave from a grassy outcrop. I never take living in this part of the world for granted, in North Devon you’re never far from either a world class beach, dramatic coastline or the picturesque views of Exmoor. That reminds me, I must get my long board out this year after a long lay off due to injuries! Al

WINTER ON THE MARSH.

After the rains of the New Year the weather finally broke so I decided to make the most of the day and cycle along the Tarka Trail into Braunton, across the Marsh, down the Old American Road to Crow Point and then return home along the Tarka Trail. The air was warm and there was a kind of stone cold neon cheap light across the Estuary which made the whole trip so worthwhile. Above is one of my favourite Linhays on the Marsh which I’ve painted on several occurrences. Al

Above left, a view out across the Taw Estuary to Fremington. Above right, the beach at Crow Point looking towards Appledore & Instow.

BLACKPOOL MILL COTTAGE.

This is an image of mine of the famous Blackpool Mill Cottage on the North Devon Coast. It’s a the end of a wonderful walk from Hartland Abbey, but can also be reached along the coast from Hartland Quay. This cottage has appeared in a few films such as the BBC production as Barton Cottage in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, in Rosamund Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers, and the 2016 location for The Lanyon in BBC’s The Night Manager starring Tom Hiddleston.  On warm summer days the pebble beach here is a welcome reward for the walk, there is a cool waterfall to plunge into and rockpools to explore.

A LOOK BACK AT 2021.

Well this year has been quite an ordeal both on a personal as well as a professional level. As a family we’ve experienced more tragedies than any family should, in my professional life I’ve also experienced great sadness over the year.
Due to this blasted Covid situation I’ve not exhibited due to lack of heart, purpose and commitment; finally after applying I managed to be selected for the Burton Gallery’s Christmas Show. Looking back over some of my recent compositions I can see real progress and growth, at least I now believe I’m going in the right direction with regard to painting and artistic confidence.
A highlight of the year has been walking the South West Coast Path from Ilfracombe to Combe Martin and on a warm, idyllic summer’s day managed to sketch Broadsands Beach; the finished painting is at the top of this post. Another highlight was walking the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall where I’ve managed to paint a few images of the wonderful storms and light experienced there, these have now been successfully sold.
I’ve a few projects already lined up for 2022 including a reunion of the Black Arts with an organised residential course. I’m looking towards a more abstract way of working and perhaps arranging a few solo exhibitions. Let’s hope 2022 is going to be a partial return to the way we used to live and love. Peace for you all in the next year! Al

BLACK ARTS.

The return of BLACK ARTS, a project I’m involved in with artists Adrian Beasley and Stephen Raff.  We create our images in black and white using Photography, the Wet Collodian process and use of Bideford Black pigment, hence the name BLACK ARTS.  We aim to undertake this three day residential experience on February 28th to the 4th March 2022.  Below is a link to the webpage with more information to follow!

https://www.black-arts.art/

https://albrownartist.com/2019/09/13/the-black-arts-in-pilton/