Birthday Adventure, Pakistan

18 Apr

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We set out from Rawalpindi this morning to travel to Lahore for my birthday. As we drove through the gently rolling hills, I started speed sketching impressions of the lovely landscape with my little Khadi sketchbook and Daler Rowney soft pastels (artist quality). We dropped down steep hills that seemed to go on for miles, the surrounding countryside diffused in a warm golden sunshine.

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As we reached the bottom and joined the massive plain that stretches all the way to Lahore, the sky darkened and we drove through the worst thunderstorm I have ever experienced. But that’s for tomorrow’s blog…….

This residency has been supported by Wales Arts International and Arts Council Wales

rose acw

The Big Show (And A Scribble)

17 Apr
The artist drawing the artist

The artist drawing the artist

So last night (April 16th) was the night of the exhibition in Islamabad that our collaborative group of artists had worked so hard on throughout the previous 10 days. Here are some of the pictures of the opening at the Satrang Gallery. The British High Commissioner, Philip Barton, opened the show and was genuinely interested in the work and also in the collaboration between artists of the two nations. The staff, under gallery director, Asma Rashid Khan, were fantastic. Here’s a write up in a local paper if you want to read more. I’ve done a slide show of the gallery pictures below. The little sketch above is a signwriter who was working in the local Nando’s in Islamabad when we popped in for a salad. So I scribbled him. As you do.

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This residency has been supported by Wales Arts International and Arts Council Wales.

rose acw

The Aftermath!

16 Apr

aftermath

The day after our epic all-nighter, editioning 12 drypoint plates between three artists, Zaira Ahmad Zaka, Hannah F Lawson and myself. Here’s the studio afterwards – trashed. We have a big clear up job ahead. But first, setting up the exhibition at the Satrang Gallery in Islamabad.

gallery hannah smallAfter a shower, we went over to the gallery to chat to the lovely staff about placing our work. Here’s Hannah contemplating.

 

gallery tea smallThen a spot of tea in the tearoom next to the gallery. Don’t mind if we do, we’re British y’know.

 

gallery blurbAnd checking out the exhibition blurb on a marble pillar.

gallery karaKara Seaman’s work, waiting for the arrival of Mister Pink.

Afterwards, we went to an exhibition of mixed media work by Behishte Gumshuda at the Khass Gallery where we met an eclectic group of interesting people who made us forget our exhaustion. The show is quiet and contemplative and I particularly liked the multi-layered works in graphite, but then I would, I’m a scribbler. Talking of scribbling, here’s a quick scribble I managed to fit in at Khaas. Oh and they served the most delicious samosas I have ever tasted. :D

khaas gallery

This residency has been supported by Wales Arts International and Arts Council Wales

rose acw

Late And Manky.

14 Apr

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Pulling another late one at the Pindi Printshop, we’re about a third of the way through a mass editioning stint. The three of us are editioning 12 tiny drypoints. They have to go to the framers in the morning but they dry quickly in this atmosphere. Don’t have time to write anymore. Back to getting manky.

This residency has been supported by Wales Arts International and Arts Council Wales

rose acw

WIP And Blue

13 Apr

lapis

We managed a couple of hours out of the studio yesterday to go to the framers in a marketplace in Islamabad. He’s made a lovely job of the framing for the exhibition, but we still have almost as many works to finish and frame. Underneath his workshop is a tiny gem and jewellery store. I’d promised a friend that I’d look out for some lapis lazuli while I was here in Pakistan, because the very best comes from nearby Afghanistan. Locally, they call it ‘Blue’. I’ve been fascinated by it since I read about its importance to European Art in Victoria Finlay‘s fantastic book, Colour: Travels Through The Paintbox. With the help of my Pakistani host, I bought two sizeable pieces, one smooth and the other rough. Lapis generally has veins of quartz and pyrites running through it which look lovely when it’s polished, although it’s not good enough for making into paint. Only the very best quality can be ground up to make Ultramarine pigment.

Today it’s been back to the grindstone. I’m not doing any more monotypes this close to the exhibition as they’re so time consuming so I worked on some paper drypoint plates that I brought over with me, 4 tiny ones and one almost A4. I’ll inscribe and print them tomorrow, today I concentrated on drawing.

sufi in progress

This is still very much a work in progess. It’s based on a digital photo I took of a tree that is visited by Sufis who leave swathes of coloured cloth tied to it. There’s a lot of work left to do on the drawing, but it’s important to get this stage right. Once the drawing is completed, it doesn’t take long to engrave and print. Because drypoint isn’t etched, just scratched into the surface, the lines are fairly shallow so the editions are small, rarely more than 10 before the plate wears out. This applies to metal as well as paper and plastic plates.

 

This residency has been supported by Wales Arts International and Arts Council Wales.

rose acw

 

Frustration!

12 Apr

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Having terrible technical problems blogging from the Pindi Printshop this evening. WordPress and Android don’t seem to like each other at the best of times, but throw erratic Internet access into the mix and I’ve just written off the last 2 hours! I shall go and do some tai chi breathing! Here’s the monotype I completed yesterday, based on a photograph I took in a modern mall in Islamabad. I merged it with a traditional Pakistani Paisley pattern. Pakistan has had a fabulous textile industry for aeons, but I was struck in the mall by the bland Western brands that seem to be swamping the planet and I fancied contrasting them in a monotype. The bright yellow mannequins are wicked.

I hope this uploads. If not, I’m off to bed.

This residency has been supported by Wales Arts International and Arts Council Wales.

image

For Printmaking Geeks

11 Apr

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I’m working in a new country in a new print workshop in Rawalpindi, with new materials and equipment and it takes a bit of getting used to. We’re all doing full-colour reduction monotypes (for details of the process, click here )for a couple of days and I went to my supplier in London just before we left to buy some more ink. They no longer stock the ones I’ve been using so I brought an untried brand with me.

The process is done on perspex (plexiglass; acrylic) sheets and the local acrylic is different to the British. I brought some of my own paper (French, BFK Rives) but the brand isn’t available here and I don’t have as much as I need so I have to use the local paper. With so many variables, I decided to spend yesterday doing test plates.

We have two types of Pakistani acrylic sheet and 1 British so I inked each of them with Process Yellow Caligo Safe Wash relief ink, mixed 60:40 with extender. See the photo above. I’d prepared a sheet of A4 paper with a basic drawing of boxes to represent the 6 primary and secondary colours and I used it as a template. I took a print off each plate; the first from each onto BFK Rives and the second, or ghost print, onto a local paper; don’t know what it’s called.

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I cleaned the sheets – easy because it’s a water washable oil-based ink and inked up in Process Red and Extender in the same proportion as before.

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And finally, I inked up the plates in Process Blue and printed them. I found that one of the Pakistani acrylic sheets gave poor results, especially on the ghost prints, but the second type of Pakistani acrylic and the British ‘Lite Glaze’ both performed well. The local paper was nowhere near as good as BFK Rives so we need to find a substitute. The inks are excellent and wash up without chemicals or vegetable oil. Result.

This residency is supported by Wales Arts International and Arts Council Wales.
rose acw

The Finished Article

10 Apr

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This is the finished monotype and ghost that I was working on yesterday at the Zaira Zaka print residency in Rawalpindi. The original image started as a digital photograph that I played about with in Photoshop. I’ll post all the technical details tomorrow for the printmaking geeks.

We visited the ancient monuments at Taxila and I snapped the feet of my fellow residency artist, Hannah, standing on one of the walls of the ancient Buddhist community. I liked the contrast of her very Western daps and her Pakistani kameez, so I decided to make a reduction monotype. It’s now 2 in the morning and I’ve worked through for 16 hours so goodnight.

This residency has been supported by Wales Arts International and Arts Council Wales.

rose acw

Nail Biting

9 Apr

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Worked at the Pindi Printshop until 4 am and now back at it. We’re working on full colour reduction monotypes which take ages. The process involves printing 3 plates on top of each other, the first in yellow, red for the second and finally the third in blue. I’ve just taken the second, red on top of yellow and I’m very happy with it, but the final plate could go either way. Usually it’s successful but sometimes it can go horribly wrong. I’m biting my nails with nerves now. Hope to finish by midnight-ish. Fingers crossed.

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Here are some of the other artists hard at work.

This residency has been supported by Wales Arts International and Arts Council Wales
rose acw

Pulling A Late One

8 Apr

Pressure’s on at the Pindi Printshop and the residency artists are working late again. I haven’t done a drawing today *gasp* because I’m working on plate preparation, so I’ll post a picture I took the other evening of the Pakistan Monument in Islamabad which is breathtakingly beautiful. It’s sure to find its way into a print – probably a monotype.

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This residency is supported by Wales Arts International and Arts Council Wales

rose acw

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