Sunday, March 29, 2020

"so is hope"

©2020 Barry Smith - Section of a poster on hope
There have been many steps in the creation of this poster - much waiting for ink to dry and for paper to flatten; but today we got to print the words - "fear is real ... so is hope".

This poster was created to reflect what a lot of us feel at the moment - fear; and yet we need to balance that deep and at times dark fear with the bright light and promise of hope. It also reflects words or encouragement stencilled on a crumbling distressed urban wall.

Yesterday, with Fiona's help, I chose and set the type for the words. We chose letters from the wood type draws we refer to as our random and orphan letters - not a full set of any font. We chose to use these because we wanted the words "fear is real" to be like a ransom note - sister overtones. We chose to use the large Italian type for the word "hope" so that it would dominate and be strong.

The typewas set on the bed of the larger proofing press and the letters were held in place with strong magnets. It was left yesterday because there was not the time to print.

©2020 Barry Smith - Testing various fonts
©2020 Barry Smith - Couple of trays of wooden type to chose from
©2020 Barry Smith - Final choice set on the proofing press bed - ready for ink
Today I printed - whilst I say I it really is about we. I chose the colours; but when printing an A3 poster with lots of ink and pressure it does require a couple of sets of hands. After a few proofing runs we were ready to print.

©2020 Barry Smith - Proofing on plain paper - you can see the r and i need to be built up
©2020 Barry Smith - Testing how it would print on canvass
I was hoping for three quality prints on the five collagraphs I had printed; and in the end we got 4 really good prints and one good one - not bad given I was using large type and the fact that the Italian type is higher than the other wood type.

©2020 Barry Smith - I was pleased with this outcome
©2020 Barry Smith - A table of prints and proofs
©2020 Barry Smith - Series of five posters
©2020 Barry Smith - Detail - fear
©2020 Barry Smith - Detail - hope - love that burnished gold ink!!!
The posters will now dry for a few more days before being put under weights again. The will be marked with the Deckled Edge Press chop and editions as these posters will be for sale. Though I suspect a couple of the proofs will be gifted.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Hold fast to hope

©2020 Barry Smith - Hold fast to hope - peace and the beauty of one of our roses
I have been in the letterpress studio. as you can see. I used time to sort and number some collagraph prints from an early series called Urban Elements. I hope to get these mounted and maybe framed in the future.

Having got that task sorted and because the background collagraph prints to my A3 poster were not dry I decided to print a post card. Given the current times I thought a message of hope was appropriate to send out into the ether. Hope is so important at the moment. And whilst it is not a strategy without it what does the future look like.

I printed 20 in all - two were really just proofs. A few process photos follow.

©2020 Barry Smith - Type locked up in the chase and proofed with duplicating paper
©2020 Barry Smith - Post cards in the drying rack
©2020 Barry Smith - Couple of rough proofs to double check registration
There are 18 to send.

©2020 Barry Smith - Hope and peace 
©2020 Barry Smith - Eighteen cards for the ether
©2020 Barry Smith

If you want one let me know and I'll post it to you 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Colour and clear droplets in challenging times

©2020 Barry Smith - One of G's orchids in the orchid house
I got my morning walk in today; though I did get rained upon. I knew it was a bit suspect when looking over the valley it was grey and full of cloud.

©2020 Barry Smith  - Dark and threatening early morning in the valley
Still there is much beauty to behold. My eye was of course drawn to droplets.

©2020 Barry Smith  - Droplet on orchid
©2020 Barry Smith  - Droplet on a cluster of yet unfurled micro orchids
©2020 Barry Smith  - Droplet and micro web on crucifix orchid leaf
But also the beauty of blossoms.

©2020 Barry Smith  - Strong variegated colours of another of G's orchids
©2020 Barry Smith  - Wild rocket blossom - bees love it
©2020 Barry Smith  - Delicate new camellia
©2020 Barry Smith  - A bouquet of white crucifix orchids unfurling
And how about the rich growth in the autumn veggie garden.

©2020 Barry Smith  - The autumn veggies are looking good - we have even been able to harvest some of the small leaves of the rocket and spinach - tomatoes are self seeding again!!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Collagraph backgrounds

©2020 Barry Smith - Collagraph background - bit industrial and a bit like a weathered wall - not sure if I will run it horizontal or vertical - the plan was vertical with the structured section at the bottom.
On Saturday I tried my hand at printing the collagraph board I had started on Friday. I intend to overprint the backgrounds with fairly large wood type. This is the first time I have done an A3 collagraph. I wasn't even sure how I would apply the printing ink to the plate given the size. In the past the biggest collagraph I had printed was smaller than A4. Still it is all about learning.

A few of the process shorts follow.

©2020 Barry Smith - Printing ink was applied to the plate using tarlatan cloth and small rubber rollers - the 180 GSM A3 paper was dampened with a spray and 'dried' using a sponge
©2020 Barry Smith - Etching press being used for the first time in our new studio
©2020 Barry Smith - Seven prints - some better than others
©2020 Barry Smith - Ink on canvas
©2020 Barry Smith - Just another view of the prints
Once dry I will put the prints under weights for a week or so before doing the letterpress on them. I'm hoping for an edition of 5. I really should have used a heavier paper; but given it was my first go at an A3 collagraph print I thought I'd just use a lighter weight.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Inspiration and the beginning of execution

©2020 Barry Smith - Collagraph prints from my earlier urban series.
I have decided to do a series of A3 posters that, in general terms, reflect messages posted or grafitti on walls. I want to do letterpress over collagraph prints that are based on worn urban walls. The inspiration for this came from collagraphs that I did a few years ago that I referred to as an industrial-urban series. The opening photo is of some of those earlier prints.

The planning started with a cup of coffee and a Tim Tam whilst reading some books on poster prints.

©2020 Barry Smith  - Table and chairs in our new letterpress studio
©2020 Barry Smith  - Inspiration
The text of my first poster will focus on hope in dark times.

©2020 Barry Smith  - Fiona is trying to teach me the good habit of documenting what I do
The collagraph will be based on a photo I took in 2013 with my iPhone.

©2020 Barry Smith  - Love the textures and colours
A few of the process photos follow.

©2020 Barry Smith  - Building up the collagraph
©2020 Barry Smith  - Shellacing the base board - flaky shellac gives extra texture  and I'm trying to get shellac along the edges of the card to create shadows
©2020 Barry Smith  - You can see I have used braille paper to give an added industrial texture
There is still a long way to go with this; but we will see how it progresses and then prints.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Bookending the day with valley views

©2020 Barry Smith - Offering the colours of the autumn-winter dawns ahead
It was a beautiful cool morning to walk this morning; but one truly knows that it autumn - even with a hint of winter.

The light has changed - I think we will soon get amazing pink and apricot colours in the valley at dawn - the photo below shows the promise of that.

©2020 Barry Smith - Early dawn light
The spring and summer blossoms seem to be have gone quiet quickly; but there are a few hardy blossoms about.

©2020 Barry Smith - The roses are all but finished
©2020 Barry Smith - Weed flowers remain strong
©2020 Barry Smith - Beautiful form and colours
©2020 Barry Smith - But also beauty in white
 ©2020 Barry Smith _ Love that aberrant stripe
©2020 Barry Smith - Deep red holding the morning sun
The day ended with a softening light.

©2020 Barry Smith - Sinking sunlight caressing the tops of the trees