A day at a Letterpress workshop

I recently spent a day learning all about relief printing using a press – known as Letterpress.  This was the original and oldest form of printing and involves setting out your text letter by letter.  This you do upside down and back to front – confusing at first.  The type comes in all sorts of styles and sizes, the largest letters made of wood and smaller ones of metal.  There is something infinitely satisfying getting everything to fit together and then actually printing it – here is what I did (the flowers I painted on later)



The workshop was held at Mr Smith’s Letterpress in Kennington (www.smithsrules.com) and here is  Mr Smith at work:

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 17.58.49



Some of the typeface and spacers to choose from:

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 18.06.46Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 18.00.09

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A selection of tulips

A visit to Dunsborough Park in Ripley, which has the most amazing collection of tulips inspired this painting, which was completed using a restricted palette of Schmincke watercolours as an exercise for my botanical art course.  Tulips are just the most lovely things to paint – I particularly enjoy trying to capture the shiny petals.

tulips Duns2 copy

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Bracken and a dead bumblebee

I’m enjoying doing these vignettes but for a change this week I couldn’t resist adding a few insects.  My husband breeds the Emperor moths and last years chrysalises have just hatched and I found the dead bumblebee  lying in the garden.  The bracken is already rearing its ugly head.

vignettes622 copy


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Yellow Tulips

Part of our holiday homework was to paint a flower from 5 different angles – how could I resist this beautiful yellow tulip – Golden apeldorn?  I still can’t decide whether to give the one facing forward a stalk and if so where it should go.

yellow tulips copy


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Colour and burgeoning buds

There is more colour in the garden now – our strange climber, Akebia, is flowering fully and has an amazing scent.  I couldn’t resist having a go at buds that are bursting out all over. vignette 4 copy Pussy willow may be beyond me however, as are white flowers on a white background!

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Everything is coming up yellow

It seems at this time of year yellow is the dominant flower colour – it also happens to be the most challenging colour to paint, but how can you find that out without trying?



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Sticks, stalks and stems

This weeks vignettes – perhaps not very inspiring but I enjoyed doing them and any practice is good practice.  The thorns presented the most challenge especially the foreshortened ones.

vignettes2 copy

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