Weekly Sketch – Shells & Creating Pattern – 28/10/2012

In my Weekly Sketch posts I will share the good and bad scribbles that I undertake…

I love shells, not only are they beautiful, and each one unique, but they are a reminder of seaside jaunts and days long gone. Here is a sketch I made of two large shells using water-colour pencils and felt-tip brush pens. I’ve kept the drawing very simple as I wanted to attempt a repeat pattern. I am a fan of pattern design and in particular the work of Jacqueline Groag, but I have never attempted pattern design before.

I imported my sketch into Photoshop and colour corrected to my satisfaction, I then isolated all the shell shapes into separate layers so that I could play around with them in different layouts. I introduced a seaweed motif; block coloured shapes and a blue background. Here is the pattern tile.

I then copied and rotated the tile to create a repeat pattern; below is a pattern detail consisting of 4 of the above tiles. I am quite pleased with this for a first effort, more playing around I think with pattern in the future.

(All works & images © Catherine Cronin)

Weekly Sketch – ‘The Don’ cactus – 16/09/2012

In my Weekly Sketch posts I will share the good and bad scribbles that I undertake…

I have been away on holiday in the Bay Of Naples (more on that later on), and so I haven’t posted any weekly sketches. All around the Bay Of Naples cacti and succulents grow splendid and huge, they are a treat to see. I have only seen comparable specimens in Kew Gardens glasshouses. On coming home I decided that I wanted my own little catus, a reminder of my trip. So here is a drawing of ‘The Don’.

So for this drawing, I thought I’d draw on red textured paper as the cactus pot featured red glaze. I normally always draw on white paper, so this was a bit of an experiment. I started off drawing the form with felt-tip brush pens, immediately though I realised I couldn’t carry out the whole picture in this medium as all the light colours just turned dark on the page. So the felt-tip pens were used to draw the form and for the darker areas. For the greens and yellows I used watercolour pencil which sits on top of the red paper. The red paper is textured and so when the watercolour pencil is used dry it lets spots of red paper show through. The blue background is oil pastel as I wanted a good depth of blue.
I must say I am not overly pleased with the result, the watercolour when used wet became blotchy on the catus, whereas I would have preferred more definition of form.

(© Catherine Cronin)

Hand Colouring Linocut Prints

Hello, I have been hand colouring my pomegranate ‘Alhambra IV’ and ‘Peru Flying Bird’ linocut prints. Here are some pictures of them hanging to dry. In case you’re wondering I hang them via magnets on my metal shelves; a great space-saving idea for anyone with little room to work in.

Why hand colour prints? Why not print all the colours? My answer is that I always use any technique to get the desired result. I like the way that drawing ink sinks into the paper whereas the oil based printing ink sits slightly on the paper. The oil based printing ink is printed densely whereas the drawing ink has some translucency, I like the visual contrast. Unfortunately you cannot see this subtlety of surface in these photograph. Also I like the way that each print is even more slightly different, as well as the print impression being varied – the way the colouring is applied differs slightly too.

(All images and works under copyright © Catherine Cronin)

Peru Flying Bird linocut – printing the lino

Yesterday I was printing my ‘Peru Flying Bird’ linocut which is an accompanying print to my ‘Peru Big Cat’; both inspired by the designs and symbols on a Peruvian textile that I bought in the USA years ago.

As you can see I have used a multiple colour roll method for inking up, where you roll more than one colour onto the roller. In this case an orange stripe in the middle with blue either side. I have encountered some difficulty with this method, where the blue ink soon bleeds into the orange ink too much, resulting in the pure orange stripe becoming narrower the more times you apply the ink to your lino. The only satisfactory way I have solved this is by starting afresh with new ink after 10 prints, so not the most efficient method. Perhaps other printmakers out there have some advice on this issue?

I am pleased with the resulting prints; but will probably hand ink half the edition of this print as I have already done with ‘Peru Big Cat’. I like the way that drawing ink sinks into the paper whereas the oil based printing ink sits slightly on the paper, I like the visual contrast.

(All images and works under copyright © Catherine Cronin)

Print Day In May event

I have just participated in my first ever Print Day In May; a great global event that brings together printmakers worldwide to print on the first saturday in May.



Even though I was printing home alone, it was lovely to think that I was part of this worldwide event and in fact was keeping very good company. I have just finished printing my linocut ‘Peru Big Cat’ inspired by the designs and symbols on a Peruvian textile that I bought in the USA years ago.

(All images and works under copyright © Catherine Cronin)

I see Alhambra – 4 editioned prints

I am still finalising the design for my ‘I see Alhambra’ book; meanwhile I decided to edition 4 of the prints from the book. The book comprises of single colour linocuts, which compliment each other through form and colour. Yet I could envision 4 of these prints with added colour, making a mini print statement on their own. These prints are inspired by the decorative moulded plaster casts that adorn the Alhambra; in situ these casts are white, some retain traces of the original bright colours that once sang out from the walls. My prints are concentrating on specific details taken from walls of casts; taking forms that I find compelling, I have redrawn and colourised these images, trying to capture an echo of how these decorative casts might once have looked, making prints that delight the eye and mind.


Here are some photographs of the first proofs, prints drying, and a close up on the first editioned prints.

(All images and works under copyright © Catherine Cronin)