Roquebrun, Tarn, France

I was lucky to pay a fleeting visit to this green and rocky place last week, the weather was surprisingly warm, perhaps too hot for a 3 hour trek up the Gorge D’Heric but the scenery was certainly photogenic.

Bridge over the Orb
Sunday swimming in the Orb, below the bridge in Roquebrun. I think maybe something was being cooked up on a barbecue too.
Roquebrun
The little hill town of Roquebrun with its protecting castle which has views both up and down the river Orb
Pinks
The fertile flat land that floods in winter is well used and tended, growing everything from cabbages to mulberry trees, pinks to leeks
Portager
The river Orb flows between the rows of trees in the distance.
kids
Messing about in the river
Gorge d"Heric
Gorges d’Heric. – I just happened to be passing when this guy was trying to impress his girlfriend by throwing a big boulder into the river. She honestly couldn’t have cared less!
Gorges
Afternoon sunlight just hitting the edges of the trees on our way down from the top.
splash
Trying to catch the splash as my friend throws stones into the pool.
Grey rock
most of the fallen rocks were yellow brown but this enormous one was blue grey, been there a long time judging by the smoothed contours.
River Orb
Back down by the river Orb, perfect afternoon sunlight picking up the green of the leaves.

 

Figures of Eight Sides – after more cutting into the block

I have printed from this block in a few different colour variations but I think this dark blue/black is my favourite so far. I am going to try a dull brickish red too I think. And I might do some more cutting.

I have in mind to cut some more of the shapes out, deeply enough to fit in a shape made from copper sheet. Copper is beautiful when it’s highly polished but it ages really well too, gaining depth and variation ofcolour. In fact if you heat it, the surface develops amazing tones where a flame has licked it. Details to come . . .

Figures of Eight Sides

I cut the design in plywood and printed several versions of this yesterday. I am going to make a much paler print, then make another cut block with straight cuts which I can then over print in a dark colour.

IMG_4452

The woodcut block after printing, it now needs to be washed to clear the build up of ink in the incised lines.

Tumbling Blocks Woodcut

I made this block back in my studio after the course run by Jonathan Ashworth, at The London Print Studio.

I really enjoyed the cutting part, but I have to say I find the print process more challenging. I seem to get ink in all the wrong places. I have not yet made a two colour version of this block. I may cut some more wood away and do some more prints.

I have used the block with various colours and right now I love the block itself, I have inked in the places where the wood has been cut away, the other colours are  the remains of past imprints.

Tumbling Blocks Woodcut Block

I have still not properly mastered the skill required to make a good print, there are lots of ways of pressing the paper onto the block, probably the best is by using a professional press but they are expensive. There are lots of smaller cheaper presses on the market or available for ad hoc use at various print studios.

 

The options for independent studios is to use a hard rubber roller, a barren, or the back of a spoon. These all require a certain amount of time, the spoon method takes the longest. I have discovered by watching  helpful videos on You Tube, that it is possible to lift the paper, One end at a time, to scrutinise the progress of the print, so you can go back over any inadequately pressed areas.

These prints below are not in any particular order apart from the first, which I made before cutting lines across some faces of the block.

woodcut
First Print
woodcut print
Here I didn’t pay close enough attention to how I was preparing the block and got ink where it shouldn’t have been. Also I failed to adequately press the paper in the lower right corner, hence the missing edge.
woodcut print
Here too I failed to press the paper down adequately, Of course once you’ve pulled the paper off the block, it is impossible to place it down again accurately enough to make up for mistakes.