Maroon Staccato: Another Pair of Eco Prints on Watercolour Paper

Eco print on watercolour paper: eucalyptus, bramble and mystery leaf. I love the insistent staccato of that deep and velvety maroon.

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And Another Eco Print on Watercolour Paper

Eco print on watercolour paper using eucalyptus, bramble (blackberry) and mystery leaf

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Eco Print on Watercolour Paper

Eco Print on Watercolour Paper: Eucalyptus, Bramble, St John’s Wort, Elm Catkins

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The Spaces In-Between

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Originally posted on following thread:
Many years ago I bought a ceramic plaque for my sister.  It was whimsical–had a figure dancing on a mountainside and the inscription read something like “Life is not measured by the number of breaths…

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Eco Collographs/Negative Space

Eco Collograph III 22 January 2018The print to the left is one from a batch I made using for the first time my new little fine art printer.

And I’ve been playing around with the prints with a focus on, as I wrote about recently, their negative spaces.

The first print is of three sumac leaves from my new garden. I froze a bagful of their very colourful autumn leaves.

I then scanned the print into the computer so I could mess around with copies before committing myself to altering the real print.

I then cut each of the three leaves out of the paper and glued them back down again slightly to their left, which left gaps in the paper next to each one.

Eco Collograph V with Negative Spaces 22 January 2018I then glued it all onto a backing of acid-free tissue paper. Held up to the light, the gaps are illuminated like windows.

It was a very simple process, as you can see.

It shifts everything, seismically.

I’ve been doing other what-ifings circling the issue of negative spaces. I’ve hunted high and low but can’t find them right now. Maybe they’ve disappeared, for good, into negative space.



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Another Eco Print on Silk – Three Eucalyptus Leaves

Eco Dyeing Three Eucalyptus Leaves on Silk II 30 January 2018I know, looks like six leaves, not three, but it’s a mirror image print. On the left of the middle fold are prints of the fronts of the leaves, on the right, the backs. I think it’s the tannin – which is generally or always (I don’t know the exact truth of this) found on the back of the leaf – that makes this print seem like six different leaves as the backs dye differently to the fronts.

Tannin: “The term tannin (from tanna, an Old High German word for oak or fir tree, as in Tannenbaum) refers to the use of wood tannins from oak in tanning animal hides into leather; hence the words “tan” and “tanning” for the treatment of leather.

Tannin is reckoned to protect a plant from predators and viruses.  For once, I’m guilt-free, as I’m not guilty of predation, as the leaves were blown from the euc tree I acquired with this  house and all I did was collect them from round the garden.

I’ve been experimenting, further to my blog Taking a Walk in Negative Space in some other prints. I’ll post about this next.


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Eco Print on Silk – Three Eucalyptus Leaves

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Happy New Year – Bring it On 2018

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A Christmas Carol

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”  (Dickens)

Whatever ‘Christmas‘ means to you, enjoy!
See you in 2018




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Taking a Walk in Negative Space

I’m attracted to  artworks damaged in the making process.

When trying to figure out why, I’ve focused on the word damage.

In looking at this on the left – a damaged eco collograph of some  elm leaves – it came to me that I was attracted to the negative spaces created by the damage.

Negative space was a whole new focus. Here’s a few things I discovered when I took a walk into negative space.

The image on the right is of a white vase; it’s competing for dominance with the negative spaces either side of it, which look like silhouetted human profiles.

They confront one another in silence. The negative spaces in my artwork seem to be having an animated discussion. I wonder what they’re quarreling about? I think it might be about politics, women’s rights or  climate change!


“Space is substance. Cézanne painted and modelled space. Giacometti sculpted by “taking the fat off space”. Mallarmé conceived poems with absences as well as words. Ralph Richardson asserted that acting lay in pauses… Isaac Stern described music as “that little bit between each note – silences which give the form”… The Japanese have a word (ma) for this interval which gives shape to the whole. In the West we have neither word nor term. A serious omission.”  Alan Fletcher:  The Art of Looking Sideways

I was drawn to Isaac Stern’s definition of space in terms of music, “that little bit between each note – silences which give the form.”  In music, space becomes silence. I was reminded of John Cage’s composition 4’33”. Watch the above You Tube vid. And then the equally fascinating video of the responses of the public at that performance.

And then on my walk I encountered Noble Silence, attributed to Buddha in reference to the 14 unanswerable questions (or 10 or 16). Noble Silence is a technique used by Buddhists, monks and nuns. Simplistically put, not speaking every word that comes to mind is a way of avoiding causing harm. (I certainly need to take heed of that piece of advice).

Silence also quiets the mind, allowing a space to open for contemplation, prayer, nothingness. I was reminded of Hesychasm – contemplative prayer.

I’ve written about Hesychasm in Chinese Poem and in The Light of Tabor.  Hesychasm is based on what Jesus purportedly instructed about prayer in the Gospel of Matthew: ” … when you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you.”

Go to your room. It’s not just about going to a physical space; it’s about retiring inwardly; cutting out the world; cutting out one’s own noise to make a space for engagement with God. For me, it’s about getting into listening mode (as opposed to demanding mode). This is negative space created deliberately for a specific purpose.  A positive negative?

I had quite a long walk in negative space. At one crossroads one sign read Ezekiel and the other Nag Hammadi.  I’ve been reading the Nag Hammadi manuscripts for a while. These are codices discovered in December in a jar 11km from Nag Hammadi. The story of how they were found, what happened with them – some pages burnt, some otherwise destroyed, the whole lot split up and dispersed, a blood feud, a lost 13th codex (not, actually) – I’m surprised there hasn’t been a new Indian Jones movie made from all this drama. For me, this crossroads is about the bits that were lost from these codices, just as there are bits lost from my damaged eco collographs. Again, negative spaces.

If it is possible, Ezekiel is even more dramatic and anybody who’s read Von Daniken (Chariots of the Gods) will know he speculates that the visions of Ezekiel describe space ships and visitations from aliens. Check out Ezekiel 1 for descriptions of apparitions of four-faced winged creatures filled with burning coals that light up as the creatures move about; that the creatures have wheels under them, each being a wheel within a wheel, the rims of which are full of eyes; and that it is the spirit of the creatures which moves the wheels. This is outer space.

And if you think space is just an empty void in which things happen, what about the phenomena of bending, rippling and expanding space?

Of course, this is another one for my Herbiarum Vocabularum. I’m in the process of writing a blog about elm, which is not exactly a herb, but it does have healing properties and figures in folklore and mythology.


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