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Benthall Hall - a print story

During the Secret Severn Art Trail I set myself the challenge of producing a linocut print to help visitors appreciate all the work that goes into a finished reduction cut print.

I sat outside Smith York Fine Art Gallery at Fusion and cut.

It was great to meet people and talk about the process. I took my lino home in the evening and cut (always cutting), before printing the new layer each night. I print by hand and that in itself could take 2 and a half hours to print the 12 I was working on. I've been told it's been insightful and inspiring so I thought I'd share it to my website.

Here's the story of this print.

First the inspiration...

I walk my dogs around Benthall Hall, National trust property in Broseley most days. It's a beautiful old building surrounded by gorgeous trees and was on my list of inspiring things to get my head around printing.

Earlier this summer I visited the Vincent Van Gogh exhibition at the Tate 

This painting was one of my favourites Hospital at Saint Remy 1889 I love the composition and thought I could use the same idea with Benthall Hall and it's trees.

there's just so many gorgeous trees at Bethnall Hall

I began with a drawing plan, which I traced onto tracing paper...

then transferred onto the lino.

On the lino the drawing is back to front, I flip the photos I'm working from over, it helps. Looking at the drawing it's time to figure out a plan of what colours to use and how, which, where, what order etc I think this is the hardest bit,  when people see me cutting and say, "I wouldn't have the patience.." I worked out that actually my brain is so worn out by working like crazy to figure out the puzzle I need all that meditational cutting time to catch up.

The first thing to cut away is everything you want to stay white. ( the colour of the paper) White around the roof, the white grasses in the garden, the lichen on the wall.

then I printed a pale blue to begin the blue tree and sky, and a pale brown for the building and the wall.

then I cut away everything I wanted to keep of these two colours.

With the building I wanted the stones to be in this pale brown but have a darker outline around them

then I printed a darker brown and a darker blue. You start to see the building and the wall taking shape.

next I printed my first green, knowing I would be using 3 greens in total to get the effect I wanted.

loads of cutting happened before I could print the 2nd green, ooo and a cut finger.

you really start to see how the garden is building up and coming to life.

more cutting away and the third darker green brings depth to the picture and definition to the house. I've added a dark brown to the roof, chimneys and some windows and a dark grey to the wall to bring the shape of the stones out.

next I've cut away nearly everything 

and printed the tree trunks and windows black, I also put a darker blue into the blue tree and painted on some coloured leaves.

As it's a reduction cut I used the same piece of lino throughout so there's not much left and it can't be used again.

There are 10 in the edition and the printed area is 20 by22 inches

As it’s a local scene and I’ve completed it this week during the Art Trail. I’m putting these prints up unframed for just £100 each.

Please let me know if you’d like one it’s first come first served.


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