Monday, 8 December 2014

Printing Pink Hippos!

Normally this time of year I have a sudden rush on one of my prints and then have to hurriedly reprint them to meet demand! This year it has been pink and plum hippo collagraph prints!

I thought I would take a few photos while I was printing as I always like to see behind the scenes of artwork being produced. Its quite difficult taking photos when you are a bit inky but my camera is used to being covered in ink and paint!

Printing a Pink Hippo Collagraph Print

  A Collagraph print is a print produced from a cardboard printing plate which has various textures applied to it. The more texture it has the more ink it retains so it will print darker, the smoother the surface the ink will be wiped off so it will print lighter.

I use bits of spare mountboard to make my collagraph printing plates. Heres one of my most popular ones a Hippo being inked up with pink etching ink. The whole of the printing plate is covered in a layer of ink. The reason the printing plate has a slight blue colour to it is because it was last printed with blue ink and as it is only card it retains the colour slightly.

 Here the Hippo is being wiped gently with a piece of newspaper to take the ink back off again. (My tutor at University always told me to "caress the plate"!)

Here is the printing plate wiped and ready to print on my etching press.

My lovely etching press in action. It lives on my dining room table and is quite heavy to move so we generally eat around it! I really do need a new blanket for it as I accidently printed a meerkat onto it while printing one of my bags!

The dampened paper is placed over the printing plate and then the blanket of the printing press on top and the whole thing is rolled through the press which forces the ink onto the paper and also the weight of it slightly embosses the paper.

The moment of truth when the paper is lifted off the printing plate and the image is revealed! Always a surprise as even thought you plan everything you never quite know what you will get!

The collagraph print hot of the press. You can see the image has reversed, it can be quite strange working backwards all the time but you get used to it!

A whole Pod of Hippos drying on my spare room bed!

The finished prints ready for sale!
Pink Hippo Collagraph Print

Plum Hippo Collagraph Print

Clare xx

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Exhibition Time!

My aim this year was to get my artwork out into as many exhibitions as I could. It took quite a bit of organising as some exhibitions overlapped and I had to make sure I had enough work framed and ready for each one and also remember where everything was!

My first exhibition of the year was at Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire in April and May. I had three of my favourite new Cats in Hats series of collagraph prints on display. Sherlock Kitty, Happy Kitty and Captain Jack Kitty.

 Next up was an exhibition at the Garden Tearooms at Witley Court in Worcestershire for the month of May. Since University I have been visiting this amazing ruined mansion and producing lots of artwork themed around Witley Court so it was great to be able to exhibit them all together only a few minutes away from the ruin.

East Wing Collagraph Print

Ruined Forecourt Collagraph Print

Next was the Seacourt Mini Print Exhibition in Northern Ireland in May where three of my Happy Kitty collagraph prints went on an adventure touring around Northern Ireland!

Happy Kitty Collagraph Print

Also starting in May through to August I exhibited with two other artists at the Red House Glass Cone in Stourbridge.

Trio of Artists Exhibition of 15 Collagraph Prints

We even got to be in two local newspapers!
The end of May until June I exhibited an acrylic painting at Wolverhampton Art Gallery as part of the Junction Arts Festival. The theme was Music, Art and Beer. I chose to paint my new tom cat with a bottle of Old Tom beer!

Old Tom New Tom

In July I exhibited with Staffordshire Enjoy Art at the Brewhouse Arts Centre in Burton.
Here I exhibited two oil paintings - Black Bear and Tickle Time!

 Also three collagraph prints - Play With Me! Dreamy and Sherlock Bear

In August through to October I had two collagraph prints accepted for the Cannock Chase Open Exhibition. 

Castle Panorama Collagraph Print
In October I had two pieces exhibited as part of the Art in The City week around Wolverhampton where shops, cafes, pubs etc had artwork in their windows as part of an art trail.

Dreamy Collagraph Print in the window of the Framers Gallery.
In October and November I had four pieces exhibited at the Nicholson Museum and Art Gallery in Leek Staffordshire.
I exhibited two acrylic paintings - Happy Elephant and Sleepy Tiger. Also two collagraph prints Pengiun Cat and Dreamy.

My final exhibition for the year is currently running at the Dudley Museum and Art Gallery where I am exhibiting with the Dudley Society of Artists. Its well worth a look if you are in the area and is on until January 10th 2015.

Cloister Collagraph Print

Dreamy Collagraph Print
As you can see I 've had a very busy of exhibiting, now to start planning everything for 2015!

Clare xx

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Cats, Cards, Calendars and Necklaces!

This is my cat Morpheus my mews!

I've done a lot of paintings of him which have been spreading recently to lots of new projects!

The paintings I like doing the most are the small square acrylic paintings of him in various hats/costumes! (Don't worry I don't really force him to wear my hats and goggles, I think he would have had my hand off if I tried!)
Happy Kitty

Pirate Kitty

Kitty Potter

Captain Jack Cat
These have been really fun to do and have proved to be very popular. So popular I started printing cards featuring my cat in hat paintings.

Steampunk Cards
When it came to the time of year to start getting my calendars printed I couldn't resist doing a Steampunk Animal Painting calendar featuring of course Morpheus the cat and friends!
Steampunk Animal Calendar 2015
Recently I have been working with Gemma from SparklesbyGem who has produced some lovely necklaces featuring my artwork and of course they had to be Morpheus with his hats! The only problem is they are so nice I don't really want to part with them!
Kitty Potter Necklace

Captain Jack Cat Necklace

Happy Kitty Necklace
I'm not sure what we are going to be doing next but of course for all this modelling he does get his commission in extra crunchies!

Clare xx

Thursday, 11 September 2014


When I did my Fine Art degree in the 90's I specialised in the printmaking technique of Etching.

One of my first etchings of the stairs in Harlech Castle, Wales.
  • Heres a basic guide to etching: Etching involves a metal plate being covered with a waxy ground which is resistant to acid. The image is then scraped though the ground with a pointed etching needle so the bare metal is exposed. The metal plate is then put into a bath of acid which bites into the exposed metal leaving grooves. The ground is then cleaned off the plate ready for printing. The plate is inked all over and then the ink wiped off the surface, leaving only the ink in the etched lines which is then put through an etching press which forces the ink into the paper.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Printing a Penguin Cat!

My new collagraph print Penguin Cat is hot off the press today!

Penguin Cat Collagraph Print
I couldn't resist putting my black and white cat Morpheus with a group of black and white penguins, he looks so happy but I don't think they are so sure of him!

Heres my collagraph printing plate before it is printed. Notice I always have to work backwards and dark to light!

Collagraph Print: Print created from a card plate made by adding glue, paint, enamel etc. This holds the ink in varying degrees and is then printed through the intaglio process.

Heres where it starts to get messy! Etching ink with a touch of extender medium is applied to the printing plate all over getting into every crevice of the plate.

The ink is then gradually wiped off and the image is starting to appear.

Final wipe with some tissue paper. The ink is retained in any areas that are textured and the smoother the area the ink is wiped off.

The collagraph printing plate ready to be printed on my little table top etching press. Slightly dampned paper is placed over the plate and then the blanket over this and then the whole lot is rolled through the press. The weight of the roller will force the ink onto the paper slightly embossing the paper.

Always the exciting bit as you never know if the print will have worked or not until you lift the paper!

The final print hot off the press!
Lots of prints waiting to dry.
Clare xx

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Tiger, Tiger

As it was Global Tiger Day yesterday I thought I'd share some of the tiger artworks I have produced over the years, I didn't quite realise there would be so many!

I will start with my favourite - Sleepy Tiger. I couldn't resist painting this little cutey fast asleep, I just want to tickle her under the chin!
Sleepy Tiger Acrylic Painting
 I think this was my first tiger painting and it has proved to be the most popular greeting card I have ever sold!
Tiger Acrylic Painting
 A really challenging painting - Tiger Roar. Trying to get that mouth and teeth to look right!
Tiger Roar Acrylic Painting  

I loved painting this one as it has such a lovely face!
Tiger Smile Acrylic Painting

Tiger Stand
 A watercolour and ink painting.
Regal Tiger Watercolour Painting
  Lots of tiger ACEOs all sold out almost as soon as I had painted them! Art Card Edition and Originals - mini pieces of art 3.5 x 2.5"

Watercolour ACEOs
 Couldn't resist a purple tiger collagraph print to go with my purple animal print collection!
Purple Tiger Collagraph Print
 A Steampunk Tiger looking rather dapper in his bowler hat and goggles!
Steampunk Tiger Acrylic Painting
 Had to try him in a top hat too!
Topper Tiger Acrylic Painting

Of course I just had to make some of the paintings into greeting cards too!
Tiger Greeting Cards
I'm sure there will be lots more tiger artworks soon as they are such beautiful creatures!

Clare xx