Easter Egg Alternatives

We at Lawrence’s truly believe in using sustainable alternatives whenever we can, and with Easter approaching, we need to talk about eggs! While it is lovely to keep traditions going, it seems like an awful waste to use real egg shells for Easter decoration (unless you are baking a cake). To keep with the holiday spirit but also stay true to our environmentally conscious philosophy, we put together a few creative but sustainable craft ideas for Easter.


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Paper Roses – A Craft Idea for Mother’s Day


Mother’s Day is just around the corner and what’s better to honour Mum than with a handmade present?

Join us on our latest craft adventure – this time we are making a bouquet of paper roses! Grab your coloured paper and sharpen your scissors because this easy, kid-friendly project will put cut flowers to shame and make Mums smile.
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Starting Out in Watercolours

Welcome to our new series, ‘Starting out in…’, where each time we will cover a different art form and give advice about the materials you need to begin your journey with. This post is all about watercolours, but it’s more than just a buyer’s guide! We are giving away a QOR trial and sample pack to two of our lucky readers – stay tuned for more details below!

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NEW – Japanese Vinyl Now In Stock

If you are looking for a smoother alternative to lino or softcut printing blocks, you have come to the right place. We at Lawrence’s are now stocking Japanese Vinyl in a variety of sizes for all your printmaking needs. Watch printmaker Hannah Forward try out this new material, sharing her art-in-progress and her observations on the Japanese Vinyl.

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‘The only rule is there are no rules’ an Interview with artist Jim Anderson

Jim Anderson - making paper

We had the pleasure to meet and chat with artist Jim Anderson, maker of prints, mosaics and hand-made paper. His ecological and environmentally friendly approach is something that we at Lawrence value very highly. Read on for our interview with Jim and get inspired by his beautifully colourful art.  Continue reading

Printing Ink Month – Inspiration

Passing Through, Collagraph by Hester Cox

This month is printing ink month, and to inspire our readers we have contacted a few professional printmakers to get some insight and for examples of collagraph, etching, linocut, monotype, screen printing and solarplate etching.

Featured artists: Hester Cox, Gail Brodholt, Ian Brown and Owain Kirby Continue reading

Interview with Hannah Forward Printmaker & Illustrator

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Tell us a bit about your artistic background and education

I studied Graphic Design at Brighton University, then became an illustrator kind of by accident – an illustrator friend passed on a commission to me when she didn’t have the time to do it. It was for a charity so I didn’t get paid, but it gave me a lot of confidence as they loved what I did for them. I did a few more illustration commissions but generally found the experience quite terrifying – the tight time pressures and having to meet the expectations of a client just wasn’t for me. I landed at Lawrence’s about 5 years ago, and through working here I’ve discovered printmaking. I now have my own fully-stocked printmaking studio, where I can experiment and create whatever I want, whenever, to my heart’s content. I think my work is very informed from what I learnt about design on my BA, with the very ‘human’, hands on, lo-fi aproach of relief printmaking.

 

What is it like working for Lawrence Art Supplies?

Working here you get to know about all sorts of different art materials, perhaps in mediums you’d never considered trying before but always wanted to. This knowledge is so useful for an artist – and I think it makes you bolder about trying new things out and pushing your work further.

 

What inspires your work, generally?

Making documents or social records of current times, in order to understand them better, think about them, be fascinated by them, and in the future look back at them.

 

Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.

I spend quite a long time turning over an idea for a subject matter in my head. Once I’ve settled on it I’ll begin scribbling out composition ideas in pencil. Composition is a huge part of what inspires me to create a print – I always like it to be quite unusual, not go with the obvious. Next I’ll think about colour, and usually experiment with swatches, over-laying colours to see what new colours I can make. Once I’ve decided on composition and colour, I’ll divide the image up into about four or five separate layers of lino, each a different colour. Hopefully, if I’ve worked it out correctly, once they’re printed one on top of the other they’ll create the image I want. Usually things go differently to how you plan, but this is usually a good thing.

 

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What does your typical day in the studio entail?

I like to start early – about 9.30 – so I can start printing and get a lot done at once. I’ll stop for lunch then maybe work on another project while the prints dry, perhaps drawing up a new composition for a print idea I’ve been thinking about. About 5.30 I’ll stop for dinner then a walk. I’ll almost always have something to listen to when I’m working in the studio – music, podcasts, radio shows, audiobooks – to help get me absorbed in whatever I’m doing.

72What is your favourite colour and why? There is not one colour I do not like. Colour is so fundamental to an artist…I could never pick just one.

 

What is your favourite product and why?

The set of Japanese woodcut tools Lawrence’s sell is excellent value for a beginner and really helped set me on my road to printmaking. The Lawrence linseed oil-based relief inks are brilliant too, endless colour experimenting fun.

 

 How has your artistic knowledge helped someone else?

I’m always keen to talk to people about relief printmaking – how rewarding it is, how you don’t need expensive equipment and anyone can have a go at home. I don’t have a huge breadth of knowledge to impart yet! Only what I’ve picked up as I’ve gone along – I think that’s the way that works best for me – get an idea of what you want to create then try and figure out how you can get it to work. I’m usually quite unorthodox in my approach to things – I like to make it up as I go!

 

What inspired you to become an artist?

A life-long steely determination to be completely myself, completely free, and therefore completely happy.

 

Who is / are your favourite artists and why?

Picasso, for taking on every medium and doing it completely differently. Hockney for his inventiveness.

 

What is the most valuable piece of advice anyone has given you that you still use today?

Don’t give up! Self-belief is paramount.

To see more of Hannah’s work see her website www.hannahforward.com

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An Interview with Karen Keogh

We recently interviewed artist Karen Keogh about her work and studio. Karen predominantly works with a three plate etching technique; inspired by the colours and patterns found in cities and landscapes.

Something Old Something New‘Something Old Something New’ – Three plate etching

Tell us a little bit about your artistic background and education
My artistic background is rather eclectic. I trained to teach art at Roehampton University in the early 1980’s, specialising in ceramics. I first discovered printmaking at Putney School Art. I taught ceramics at secondary school level for a few years. In the mean time I was studying printmaking at Morley College in London under the amazing Frank Connolly. I also studied at the London College of Communication.

When did you know you wanted to be and artist/printmaker?
I knew I wanted to be an artist from around the age of 11 years old after doing a week’s course in ceramics at the Chelsea Pottery in the King’s Road. My school in Twickenham had a fantastic art department, and that was where my passion developed. I was lucky to have grown up in London and visited galleries and exhibitions with my parents from an early age.

What does your typical day in the studio entail?
I share a studio with 4 other artists, a picture framer and an architect, in West Dulwich. It is a quirky building that used to be a bakery. We have wood burning stoves. It is still freezing for the first couple of hours, in the winter. I have tried fingerless gloves, but still can’t feel my fingers!

My typical day entails lighting the stove. Trying to warm my hands up! I am either drawing in preparation of making a plate, working on the plates or printing the images. I usually spend around 5 hours there daily.

I also teach art to children in my home studio, so have to be there by 3.30pm. Teaching has been an excellent way of extending my knowledge of techniques and art history. I am always on the lookout for new projects that will inspire the children. I recently visited an interesting show of African Prints at the British Museum, and the children are now making animal collagraphs for a Noah’ ark effect. Inspired by John Ndevasia Muafangejo

Karen Keogh's StudioKaren Keogh’s studio

Three plate etching, appears to be your predominant medium of choice, what is it in particular that draws you to this process?
I have been making 3 plate etchings for the last 15 years or so. Once I had mastered this technique, after my 10,000 hours, I was hooked! I can produce great depth of colour, and texture with 3 plates. The colour variations are endless. I quite often use the primary colours. I particularly like the Lawrence French 88 process colours.

I also enjoy producing painterly monotypes. I paint onto the back of a plate using oil paints thinned with white spirit. It is a spontaneous process, very different from the sometimes painstaking method of making etching plates.

First Plate and 2nd plate'St Pauls by Twilight'‘St Pauls by Twilight’ – First and second plate
'St Pauls by Twilight' ‘St Pauls by Twilight’ – third and final plate

As your subject matters are mainly landscapes and cityscapes, do you work from photographs, plein air paintings and drawings?
My landscapes are inspired by my environment. Most recently, I have been concentrating on London. I sketch and photograph my subjects. The finished image is often quite different from how I first saw it in my head. For instance my Battersea Power Station image ‘ After the rain’ was not a dark image to start with, more of a sunny day. That image was hung at last year’s Royal Academy exhibition were the image was made into to a card and a poster. The edition of 75 sold out.

What challenges (if any) do you face with your work and how do you overcome them?
There are many technical challenges working on zinc, particularly using 3 plates. I guess it is experience that helps me to overcome them. I usually make the first plate which is the key plate and the darkest. It will have the most information on. I then have to offset this image onto the second plate where I use aquatint to produce the tone. The first and second plates are then offset onto the third plate. The registration has to be perfect, which also involves lots of adjusting and filing of the plates. I love building up textures on my plates. Often I use numerous techniques on each one, including hard ground, soft ground, sugar lift, spite bite.

'After The Rain'‘After The Rain’ 

Which artists have inspired you the most and has your taste in art changed in recent years?
I have been inspired by numerous artists during my career. In the early days, Picasso –well, I still am. He was a master of all mediums. Raoul Dufy and his use of colour. I find all the Fauves inspiring. Of course David Hockney’s prints are amazing. The recent show at Dulwich Picture Gallery confirmed this. Peter Doig and his watery, icy images are wonderful.

What is the most valuable piece of advice anyone has given you that you still use today?
I have a mantra that started at Morley College, which is ‘ just one more print’. There is always time to print one more, even if there isn’t. You never know what this next one might look like. The joy of printmaking is, that you never quite know what you will end up with, even after all these years of experience. I have always felt, there is nothing like the thrill of opening the kiln or seeing what you have produced when you throw back the blankets on the press. I guess this is not quite the same if you use one plate, hence my addition to 3 plates.

Have you got any projects/ exhibitions coming up?
I will be showing some new work at the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers (RE) annual original Print show in May. I was elected a member in 2008. It will be at Bankside Gallery, next to Tate Modern. I will also have work at LOPF (London Original Print Fair) at the Royal Academy with the RE in April. Later this year I will be showing in a mixed printmaking show at Cambridge Contemporary art gallery.

Bankside Gallery BannerBankside Gallery Banner

To see more of Karen Keogh’s etchings, monotypes and paintings, visit her website
www.karen-keogh.co.uk.
Make sure you watch her brilliant video ‘A Glimpse of St Paul’s’.