Artist’s Proof – All Rock, No Roll: The Mezzotint Process by Clive Riggs SGFA

Leaping Hare 2   30 x 42 cm  Mezzotint printed in burnt umber ink Shortlisted for the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year 2014 exhibition
Leaping Hare 2
42 x 30 cm
Mezzotint printed in burnt umber ink
Shortlisted for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibition 2014

“I first turned to mezzotint in a dedicated way a couple of years ago. After many experiments with aquatint I still wasn’t achieving the deep, velvety black I was after.

You have to work towards those with aquatint, but with mezzotint that’s where you start. After that it’s a matter of keeping the darks intact. But there is a catch: it takes a lot of work to prepare a copper plate for scraping and burnishing.

Durer's Hare 20 x 30 cm
Durer’s Hare
30 x 20 cm

To lay a ground properly you spend hours standing over it with a rocker to work and rework the surface. It’s one of those repetitive, meditative physical processes that have their own strange appeal. Prepared plates are expensive, so now I prepare all of my own. I use 2.5 inch 85- and 100-lines per inch rockers for grounding, a German scraper and burnisher combined, and 1 inch rockers for detailed areas and retouching. The tools are expensive but necessary (I made my own pole rocker out of a very old curtain rail).

Pastoral Nocturne by Clive Riggs SGFA 15 x 20 cm
Pastoral Nocturne
15 x 20 cm

Mezzotint is great on its own for chiaroscuro, but it does present the printmaker with  a dilemma, and that is whether to rock the whole plate or just parts of it. This is where J M W Turner’s Liber Studiorum comes in handy. It’s a series of landscape and seascape compositions by Turner that were published as etchings and mezzotints. They show combinations of techniques: deeply etched lines, aquatint for some of the skies, and mezzotint for its distinctive rich and velvety quality that no other medium can achieve. Having studied the Liber Studiorum in detail at art college, I now combine techniques — I even use an engraver’s burin — and the result is more forceful imagery.

For my aquatinting I use a cardboard box, and to agitate the resin I use an old wood and leather bellows. I use Dutch mordant or ferric chloride for etching as they are much safer than nitric acid, but for aquatinting I use Dutch mordant.

Other mezzotint artists just scrape or just burnish, but I prefer to scrape first and then burnish. Which means ultimately you end up drawing with the burnisher — which is ideally suited to furry animals!”

Profile of the artist

SGFA Journal - Clive Riggs SGFA in the studioClive Riggs SGFA studied Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee after leaving the Army. His subjects were painting and printmaking (etching and screen printing). Clive subsequently trained as a teacher and taught Art and Design in further education colleges, and now works part-time in education and part-time as a printmaker. He is listed in Who’s Who in Art and Architecture and is represented by the Lawson Gallery in Cambridge.

Clive joined the Society of Graphic Fine Art ten years ago, and in 2013 won the Stabilo Award for a Work in Monochrome at DRAW 13, the Society’s 92nd Annual Open Exhibition, for his mezzotint Summer. His print Leaping Hare 2, the featured image of this article, has been selected for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London 2nd – 7th June 2014.

Summer by Clive Riggs SGFA

Summer by Clive Riggs SGFA

For more about Clive and his art please visit his web site and follow him on Pinterest.

For more about the Liber Studiorum please follow this link

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Image of the Month – Bodies 1 by Jill Iliffe ASGFA

Bodies 1  pencil on paper approx 200 x 150cm

Bodies 1
pencil on paper
approx 200 x 150cm

“I had always enjoyed the simplicity and beauty of line. But I found a way of working with pencil that had real depth of tone, too. And I wanted to start drawing in a bigger, stronger way.

Ian  Pencil on paper 58 x 83 cm

Pencil on paper
58 x 83 cm

I was also researching ideas around the experience of looking. I found that I could leave out quite a lot of an image and it would still be understood. Rather than weakening the work of art, this approach strengthened it.

An early piece created in this way was Ian, a drawing of a friend.  At the time I was a mature student in the BA programme at Wimbledon College of Arts. The reaction during the crit was very positive. Some even thought he looked like a super hero.

SGFA Journal - Jill Iliffe ASGFA drawing on the wallBefore this I had been making drawings that looked abstract, sort of glorified doodles in which I tried to remember and replicate marks in drawings I had made before. In the photo at right I’m creating one for an exhibition at Wimbledon College of Arts.

This work led to the featured drawing, Bodies 1. It was so large I had to draw it whilst lying on my studio floor (not comfortable!). This married up line work and tonal work with my love of life drawing, which I had taught.

Bodies Pencil on paper 200 x 150

Pencil on paper
200 x 150

I then drew Bodies, in which the figures were even larger.  Some large areas were left out, others were heavily worked, and nearly all line was eradicated. This piece was selected as part of the Drawing Prize exhibition at Wimbledon.  Thanks to the very positive feedback on this piece and other work, I was presented with the Rootstein Hopkins Foundation Student Award, as their focus that year was drawing. The award paid my MA fees. Without it I would not have been able to undertake my MA studies.

Self-portrait and Other People IV Gouache and pencil on paper 21.5 x 40 cm

Self-portrait and Other People IV
Gouache and pencil on paper
21.5 x 40 cm

These ideas of focusing on the most important aspect of an image have influenced a great deal of my subsequent work in watercolours, oils and pencil drawings.

An example is Self-Portrait and Other People IV, one of a series that uses either very large or small self portraits to explore ideas of emotions that we all share.

Viewers say they find them very moving.  Self Portrait and Other People IV sold when it was first exhibited – the larger ones didn’t!”

Profile of the artist

Jill Iliffe ASGFA lives and works in London and divides her time between her studio and part time work at a college as Head of Arts and Community Learning. She dropped out of art studies at age 19 and never thought she would start again, but 21 years later Jill returned to art and achieved a BA and an MA at Wimbledon College of Arts. This changed her life entirely. Making art is again an integral part of how Jill lives.

Since then Jill has exhibited widely. She has shown her art with the V&A, the Peoples History Museum, the Rugby Art Gallery and Museum and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, as well as other public galleries and a number of privately owned galleries. She recently had her first solo exhibition, and in 2013 was elected as an Associate Member of the Society of Graphic Fine Art.

For more about Jill and her art, please visit her web site

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The Sketchbook Series – The vernacular architecture of Wales by Pete Monaghan SGFA

Chester, Eastgate Street

Chester, Eastgate Street

“Sketching has always formed an integral part of my working process.

Top House, Talybont

Top House, Talybont

My motifs are mostly buildings. I’m interested in man’s influence on the landscape, especially vernacular architecture.

A rapid on-site sketch is better than a photo as a record of what I have seen and what interested me. I guess that’s because of the selective process that goes on, conscious or not, whilst I’m sketching.

Du Bist Gut

Du Bist Gut

I try to use my sketchbooks as a working record of thoughts and memories, rather than treat them as anything too precious. My daughters draw in my sketchbooks if they’re with me. Occasionally shopping lists and notes from parents’ evenings find their way in too! The sketchbooks are a fairly accurate reflection of where I’ve been and the intensity of my artistic endeavours.

My daughters draw in my sketchbooks if they’re with me.

Aberdaron 2

Aberdaron 2

The Moleskine Japanese album with the concertina fold is my favourite, as it enables me to unfold pages into a long landscape format if required.

Although they’re expensive, I enjoy the quality paper surface which works well with the fine-liner pens I use.


From the High Chair

From the High Chair

Colour doesn’t feature much. I carry a water-based grey pen for adding tone, though I am more concerned with angles, perspective, lines and composition.

I often use my sketchbook to re-sketch before or even during the painting process, juxtaposing shapes and rearranging the composition in order to achieve more tension in the painting.”

Profile of the artist



Pete Monaghan SGFA studied fine art at Aberystwyth School of Art. He has exhibited at the Affordable Art Fair in London and in the open exhibitions of the Royal West of England Academy and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour. In 2013 Pete won the inaugural Jackie Devereux Sketch Award for his drawing Ganszuernen at DRAW 13, the 92nd Annual Open Exhibition of the Society of Graphic Fine Art.



Pete’s artwork responds to the Welsh environment, especially vernacular architecture, as manifestations of history in the world we see today. He is currently working on an Arts Wales-funded project to document the decline of rural filling stations in mid-Wales. These service stations are an important part of Welsh social history — many of them having evolved from the village blacksmith’s forge — and have served not only as vital staging posts and places for vehicle repair, but also as meeting points, local landmarks and village shops.  For more about the project please visit the blog here

Pete begins by sketching on site. Through re-sketching many times he aims to interpret and understand his subject, freely splashing and pouring paint, edging towards abstraction. His paintings aim to embrace the transformative processes of looking/seeing and making  art. For more about Pete and his art, please visit his web site at


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Image of the Month – The Energy Series by Christine Hopkins SGFA

Wylfa 1 Monoprint with drypoint

Wylfa 1
Monoprint with drypoint

“Winter rain, floods and rising oceans have been much on my mind.

This led me to explore the landscape settings of power generation facilities in the UK. They’re often only a few feet above sea level, in vulnerable positions and taken for granted, yet we depend on them to function uninterrupted, no matter what happens.

Sizewell 1 Monoprint with drypoint etching

Sizewell 1
Monoprint with drypoint etching

Man-made structures feature significantly in all my work. I am drawn to their solidity and strength and the way they can dominate a landscape. So in this series of prints my interests intersect. 

SGFA Journal - Dungeness 1 by Christine Hopkins SGFAThe prints are small– the A4 printing plate is dictated by the size of my press — and combine drypoint with monoprint. Each plate has a drawing, which when printed will always occupy the same place on the paper. But when layers of colour are added in the form of rolled, offset or brushed inks, each print becomes unique, one of a series rather than an edition.  Plans to extend the series are well under way.”

Editor’s note: The Energy Series is on show at Cranleigh Arts Centre, 1 High Street, Cranleigh, Surrey GU6 8AS until 29th March 2014 as part of an exhibition by Ochre Print Studio.

Profile of the artist

SGFA Journal - Christine Hopkins SGFA with the Energy Series photo by K Munck

Photo courtesy of Karen Munck SGFA

“At the age of 13, pressed to choose between Latin and Art, I was overcome by the lure of a dead language. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the timetable which meant that art happened on a Friday afternoon, and non-artists were allowed to go home after lunch. Subsequent curriculum choices and a BA in Geography gave me the opportunity to draw lots of maps and diagrams, and colouring-in was my forte. But there was always that nagging voice in my head telling me that it was never too late to make amends, and after career and child-rearing I took the plunge into a ‘watercolour for beginners’ course, and some 20 years later I have a second life with the SGFA.

“Developing printmaking skills at Ochre Print Studio became my art-college substitute. As I worked with talented professionals, feasting on their knowledge and absorbing creativity with every visit, printmaking quickly became my addiction of choice.”

For more about Christine and her art please visit her web site at

Ochre Print Studio is an open access studio in Guildford, Surrey. You can find more on their web site here

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Image of the Month – Dreams of the Past and Future by Jane Gray ASGFA

Dreams of the Past and Future by Jane Gray ASGFA
Mixed Media

“My paintings are a distillation of my travels and life experiences. I call my style Organic Expressionism.

I am primarily a landscape painter. My art evolves from a fascination with energies beyond our vision, quantum physics and the ephemeral nature of our existence. I love the fact that we manifest from the Ocean of Consciousness, Primordial Soup, Universal Soul –  call it what you will  –  in a perfectly ordered, miraculous body to live on the material plane for a fleeting moment in time.

To express this I start with the chaos of wet paper, poured paint and spontaneous mark-making.

My paintings are built up through many layers of different media and glazes as I try to express the depth and complexity that constitutes our journey through life. Out of this process emerge the images waiting to begin their short existence in this dimension of life. Each painting becomes a metaphor for my own experiences and beliefs. 

The Rage of the Mountain God

The Rage of the Mountain God

My featured painting Dreams of the Past and Future incorporates images from my childhood and beyond. The little girl on the left is my mother as a child, and the canine figure in the centre is a symbol for our family dog, Ruffles. The palm trees represent 34 years of adventure in Rhodesia and South Africa, which perhaps are also part of my dreams of the future.

The Rage Of The Mountain God (right) is about what I imagine goes on under the surface of the mountains in the Western Cape. Chapmans Peak Mountain is featured here. There are jewels — I  have found agate, amethyst and cathedral quartz — and the mountain throws large rocks down onto the road far below. My husband and I were married on that mountain, sitting next to a protea bush, looking out to sea. Heavenly!

Vibrant Silence II is about the essence of the Boland, a large farming area — hot, red, vast and silent — in the middle of South Africa.

Vibrant Silence II

Vibrant Silence II

My love of painting began when I was a teenager. My mother was an artist, and when I arrived home I would saddle up my horse and go looking for her, only to find her in the middle of the road with her easel, painting the reflections of a puddle. Routine didn’t exist in our household!

I attended Stourbridge Art School in the 1960s, worked in the Tate Gallery for a year, ran a framing factory in Kidderminster, and then absconded to Rhodesia where I continued making frames and doing life drawing. I even appeared on television in an art critique programme. We fled to Cape Town in 1976, and in 1996 I started painting seriously, exhibiting and teaching privately. Returning to the UK in 2004, I began again to establish myself in the art world. Onward and upward!”

Editor’s note: Jane Gray ASGFA has exhibited with the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour and the Society for Women Artists, and in 2012 made it through the first selection round of the Threadneedle Prize. Jane’s painting Rite of Passage won the Award for a Highly Commended Work in Colour at DRAW 11, the Society’s 90th Annual Open Exhibition. She was elected an Associate Member of the Society the following year. 

Jane continues to lead workshops and give demonstrations and teaches privately. For more about Jane and her art, please visit her web site at and on Facebook To see Jane’s award winning painting and the other prize winners of DRAW 11 please click here.

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DRAW 13 – Our award winners and why they draw

by Pat Harvey FRSA SGFA

At DRAW 13, the 92nd Annual Open Exhibition of the Society of Graphic Fine Art, professional artists working across a variety of media were honoured with awards from leading manufacturers of art and drawing materials selected by eminent watercolourist (and recently elected SGFA member) Trevor Ward. The prizes were presented by Tim Lihoreau, Breakfast Presenter and Creative Director of Classic FM — an appropriate choice, in view of the exhibition’s optional theme, Music.

Cello Practice by Claire Sparkes ASGFA Graphite on paper  153 x 91 cm

Cello Practice by Claire Sparkes ASGFA
Graphite on paper 153 x 91 cm

Quick to pick up on the proffered theme is Clare Sparkes ASGFA, winner of the The Daler-Rowney Award for the Best Work in the Exhibition, sponsored by Daler-Rowney Limited, for Cello Practice. “Drawing is essential to my artistic practice. It is an instinctive process of perceiving and communicating. However, drawing and painting are for me intrinsically linked. I choose my medium as appropriate for the subject with which I’m working at any given time. Usually I draw with graphite on paper, and paint with either watercolour or oils. My work is driven by my experience of living as a human being in the world. It felt totally natural forming a response to the exhibition’s theme. Music has always been important to me, and there is a lot of it within my family. My inspiration for Cello Practice was my son. I composed the drawing over a series of daily cello practice sessions, observing the movements and posture of his focussed energy and striving.

Otherness by Sarah Burgess

Otherness by Sarah Burgess

The Award for a Highly Commended Work, sponsored by Dr Ph Martin’s, went to Sarah Burgess TSG for Otherness. “My original training in embroidery and stitched textiles has left a legacy of attention to detail and a love of precision, but a return to MA study reinvigorated my passion for research. I use mono-print drawing as a way of layering marks and adding unpredictability. Temperature, humidity and degrees of pressure mean that the results are out of my hands. Complex printed surfaces are often layered with marks of stitch. My work frequently explores accidents that disrupt the smooth order of everyday life.

Dementia and memory loss have been important recent themes. I am also fascinated with the annual cycle of pruning, taking away old growth and stimulating growth in a new direction, and in how we value damaged things, as an imperfect or repaired object may have greater beauty than a perfect one. I was delighted to be selected to show work in the SGFA exhibition on my first application, and I was honoured to receive an award. I hope to show with the Society again.”

The Blind Navigator by Barry John Harrison SGFA

The Blind Navigator by Barry John Harrison SGFA

Barry John Harrison SGFA carried off The Great Art Award for Drawing, sponsored by Great Art/Gerstaecker UK Ltd for The Blind Navigator. He says, “The motivation of artists in the past was obscured by the need to eat. You honed your skills so that you could make works that people would buy. But there was more to it. This ‘more’ — probably a mild (sometimes not so mild) obsessive compulsive disorder – forces artists to make art, even if their works fill the house and they become frustrated when they are prevented from doing so. Even as I write, I keep telling myself to hurry up and get on with a drawing.

And what is a drawing? Another image from the electro-chemical compost of the brain that appears from a waking dream and is then mutated onto paper. And as for graphite pencil — well, it is simple, but demanding, given that you have to think as much about the marks you don’t make as those you do. However, that’s not the reason I use it. I just found that pencil gave the results I wanted so I keep on using it. For me, other mediums are dabbling. Pencil is my real work.”

Antoinetta at the LSC no. 2 by Charles Burns SGFA

Charles Burns SGFA won The Award for a Highly Commended Drawing sponsored by Dr Ph Martin’s for Antoinetta at the LSC No.2.  “As a shy and awkward teenager in the 1970s, I found that drawing was the one thing that seemed to connect me with others. It allowed me to communicate my feelings about them, my fascination with who they were and my relationship to them. From an early age my ability to draw enabled me to make friends and define my sense of self. It still does.

Drawing can take many forms. My favourite — the way I was taught at school — is to use a 3B pencil on paper, which is the medium I chose for this piece. Today, after many years spent cutting silhouette portraits, this is followed as a close second by a pair of scissors! Whether drawing or cutting, I always begin by looking, then I allow my hands to respond naturally to what I see. I always aim to reflect an aspect of the person before me, to say something about their mood and the way they are feeling, rather than simply capture a physcial likeness.

The Western tradition of drawing the nude has long been important to me. I use it to experiment with a wide variety of styles and materials, but in the end always come back to drawing with a pencil. This is why the aims of the SGFA appeal to me, with their emphasis on excellence in drawing as the foundation of all art”.

Julia by Susan Relph ASGFA

Julia by Susan Relph ASGFA

The Artist Papers Award for a Work in Colour sponsored by, UK Distributors for Strathmore Papers, went to Julia by Susan Relph ASGFA. “The demonstration sketch of Julia, a crucial resolution after many hours over many years studying this particular model, was greatly influenced by her music choice, the time limitation and the atmosphere in the Life Room on that day. Intensive observation of the natural world has always been my major motivation. The subsequent risks ensure uncertainty, where results are unpredictable and any “failures” make possible an alternative abstract pathway.”

Cynthia Barlow Marrs SGFA netted no fewer than two awards. An enthusiastic proponent of the Society’s principles, she glides smoothly beween graphite, paint and mixed media, saying, “I joined the SGFA in 2009 because I felt I wasn’t drawing enough. Now I can’t stop.”

Philharmonia Orchestra October 14 2012 by Cynthia Barlow Marrs SGFA

Philharmonia Orchestra October 14 2012 by Cynthia Barlow Marrs SGFA

Of Philharmonia Orchestra 14th October 2012, winner of The Arqadia Award for a Highly Commended Work on the Exhibition Theme for 2013, ‘Music’, sponsored by Arqadia Limited, Cynthia says, “I carry a sketchbook everywhere. I don’t look for perfect scenes, I just draw what’s in front of me in cafes, hospitals, theatres and trains and at performances of all kinds. At 5ft 2in tall, I’ve become very good at drawing shoulders, backs of heads and partially obscured views. But in Row G at the Royal Festival Hall I had the perfect vantage point and drew the Philharmonia Orchestra with my Moleskine sketchbook in my lap.”

The Pocket Forest by Cynthia Barlow Marrs SGFA

Of The Pocket Forest, which won her The Rosemary & Co Award for a Highly Commended Work in Colour, sponsored by Rosemary & Co Artists Brushes Ltd, Cynthia writes: “I admire the scaled-up cut paper art of Matisse. I create highly coloured multi-part murals on canvases almost as tall as I am — the largest of these is five metres long. This painting, however, is just 50 centimetres square. It was part of my solo exhibition The Portable Forest, an installation inspired in part by Windsor Great Park and a German forest in which I once surprised a lone deer”.

Archimedes Hare by Will Taylor SGFA

Archimedes Hare by Will Taylor SGFA

Asked what are the influences on his work, and what ideas drive it, Will Taylor SGFA, winner of The Dr Ph Martin’s Award for a Print, sponsored by Dr Ph Martin’s, for Archimedes Hare, replies, “An obvious starting point is Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks. His mirror writing can easily be achieved with an intaglio etching plate which prints in reverse. More broadly I am drawn to the works of John Singer Sargent, Rex Whistler and the artists of the etching revival. I also draw on old notes and papers from my Engineering education. There is always a strong element of line in my work, whether in watercolour, charcoal, pen and ink or printmaking. Hardground etching is a very strong and traditional way of using line by means of drawing with a needle”.

Bathers by Sally Friend

Bathers by Sally Friend

The Award for a Highly Commended Print, sponsored by Stabilo International GmbH, went to Sally Friend for The Bathers, who writes, “The inspiration came from a 1920s postcard I have of Hampton Court Lido. I live near Hampton Court and found the glamorous 1920s scene facinating. I loved how some of the bathers were wet and their once modest knitted costumes had become sensual heavy folds. Initially this was a dry point etching, then I added spit-bite and other etching techniques for texture and movement in the water and, after inking the plate up in sepia, rollered a very thin glaze of phthalo blue over 3/4 of the image before finally flicking tiny amouts of talc to create ‘bubbles’. I’ve noticed that water is a recurrent theme in my work. I’ve always lived beside it, and one way or another it seems to seep into everything I do. My studio overlooks the Thames and I did my BA (Hons) Graphic Design at Brighton College of Art. It was a good course, but I think I wanted to be by the sea!”

Summer by Clive Riggs SGFA

Summer by Clive Riggs SGFA

Clive Riggs SGFA, whose Summer won the The Stabilo Award for a Work in Monochrome sponsored by Stabilo International Gmbh, says: “Drawing for me is fundamental. I always carry a small notebook. I joined the SGFA very soon after graduating from college, and actually thought it was a bigger achievement to be elected than it was to obtain my degree.

I am influenced by Albrecht Durer in his description of the natural world, and by JMW Turner, especially the Liber Studiorum [a series of landscape and seascape compositions by Turner published as prints in etching and mezzo-tint] which I studied in detail at art college. I don’t think Turner gets enough credit for his extraordinary draughtsmanship. I think I’ve been influenced by him the most. Both of these blokes could really draw. Summer was inspired by John James Audubon. I like to use animals, especially hares because of their pagan associations, as a metaphor or narrative vehicle. Working with mezzo-tint means you can work hard on a surface — copper in my case — etch it, cut it, scrape it, burnish it, overdo it and then undo what you’ve done and re-do it. The work shows on the plate, but the ink on the paper determines what happens on the plate and is the ultimate destination. I like all of the ‘process’ stuff.”

On Govert Flinkstraat, Ams. 1073 by Bernard Fleming

On Govert Flinkstraat, Ams. 1073 by Bernard Fleming

Bernard Fleming, creator of On Govert Flinkstraat, Ams. 1073, which won The Award for a Highly Commended Work in Monochrome, sponsored by Stabilo International GmbH offers the following commentary: “A young girl’s diary emblematically links the city of the title with Occupation and Oppression. On the left-hand side of the drawing, a clouded city (the right-hand section of Vermeer’s painting View of Delft) appears on a TV screen, and the upper half of a twisted metal vase towers against the sky. If the foreground mannequin’s left arm extends toward this aspect of the drawing in what might appear to be a Roman salute, then perhaps its right hand might seem to be ushering a passing dove out of the picture — and one might wonder what extreme circumstance would move the occupant of the house opposite to raise their wooden shopping trolley up to their attic. The drawing has both imagined and observed elements. The television, the glass shelf, the wallpaper and the setting itself have been imagined, and there is a Google Street View-assisted estimation of the view from the window of this real and as yet unvisited address.”

Double Bass in Hamony by Glenn Fitzpatrick

Double Bass in Hamony by Glenn Fitzpatrick

Glenn Fitzpatrick’s Double Bass in Harmony won The Derwent Award for a Work on our Theme for 2013 ‘Music’, sponsored by Derwent at the Cumberland Pencil Company Ltd. According to Glenn, “The ideas behind my work stem from the time when I was in the Army. I used to draw pictures on the sides of tanks and heavy armour in exchange for cigarettes and chocolates, as there was no value in currency during the 1991 Gulf War that I was stuck in.

I am inspired by life itself. If I had to choose three artists I would say Leonardo Da Vinci, MC Escher and a contemporary called Steven Wiltshire. I tend to work with gel pens, pencils, acrylic ink and water colour paper. I love the range of marks this combination allows, however I am always on the hunt for new products and techniques, the potential to create something different. The inspiration for the musical theme comes from working while music plays. This helps to fill the lonely silence. The picture was an extension of what I was playing at the time; the range from classical to street allowed a whole range of musical elements within the work. Drawing and painting are as one as far as I am concerned, one cannot live without the other.

I am so inspired by the SGFA, a wonderful collective of craftsmen and draughtsmen rich in diversity and experience. I can only learn from such a prestigious and well respected society. It has been a privilege to exhibit alongside artists who make me raise my bar. As long as this group is around I will always be encouraged to make great work and not become complacent.”

Ganzuernen by Pete Monaghan SGFA

Ganzuernen by Pete Monaghan SGFA

The Jackie Devereux Sketch Award, Sponsored by Jackie Devereux SGFA, was given to Pete Monaghan SGFA for Ganzuernen. Pete writes: “My work is informed by the ‘wabi-sabi’ effect — decay — and I am influenced by the American abstract expressionists, Robert Rauschenberg, the Romantics — especially John Ruskin — graffiti and urban art. In this case I have used ink, though I usually work in acrylic/mixed media because of its versatility. I was inspired by the architecture of old farm buildings which are no longer in use. This place would have been farmed for generations. Times are changing. Drawing is my basis. Why not draw with paint? It challenges in different ways.”

Navigation Chart for the Shalford Water Meadows by Stephen Baker ASGFA

Navigation Chart for the Shalford Water Meadows by Stephen Baker ASGFA

The winner of The Associates Prize, sponsored by Great Art and Stabilo International GmbH for Navigation Chart for the Shalford Water Meadows was Stephen Baker ASGFA. “I work in all linear-based media”, says Stephen, “including sgraffito and graphite. My strong preference is dip pen –’Griffelkunst’ – the art of the stylus. I work mainly on paper prepared with size and gesso. My biggest influence is Paul Klee and, more immediately, the work of outsider artists. This picture does not look realistic but is a representation, in my terms, of an actual landscape in particular weather conditions. The content is two meadows adjacent to the River Wey in Guildford. These meadows are subject to controlled flooding via a series of sluice gates. The disturbed landscape is one of my major themes.”

“I don’t understand why many English art societies are organised by medium:  The Pastel Society, The Royal Watercolour Society and others. Why should it matter which medium is used? Thankfully, the SGFA is broadly based, albeit under the umbrella of drawing. On a personal level, the SGFA was the first national art organisation to recognise the validity of my idiosyncratic approach, so I remain loyal.”

Jane by John Hurford

Jane by John Hurford

John Hurford, winner of The President’s Choice Award sponsored by the Society of Graphic Fine Art for Jane writes: “I live on my farm in the middle of the Devon countryside, and all my ideas originate from there. I use the flora and fauna from aound my home, and my portraits are usually of me or my wife (such as this one) or people I know very well. I paint in acrylic, and also use pencil and coloured pencils now that they produce more lightfast versions. I sometimes use acrylic inks on paper.

For me painting is drawing with paint. The SGFA is important to me. I was impressed by the work of David Brookes PPSGFA, and when I got into the exhibition at the Menier I realised there was a lot of great work around.”

Editor’s note: We are pleased to announce that, since DRAW 13, Bernard Fleming has been elected to Associate Membership in the Society.

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Artist’s Proof – Master printer Stanley Jones MBE and the Curwen Studio

In our occasional series Artist’s Proof we publish stories about printmaking and the work of the Society’s printmaker members.  Today we bring you a fascinating broadcast originally aired on BBC Radio 4 two years ago this month. In The Print Master producer Sarah Jane Hall follows presenter and artist Susan Aldworth to the Curwen Studio near Cambridge during her stint as Artist in Residence. Susan is initiated in the art of lithography by the print master himself, Stanley Jones, who helped to set up the studio in the 1950s and whose clients “read like a roll-call of the 20th century’s great British artists”. Click on the image below to go to the BBC Radio 4 web site and have a listen. And if you’d like to learn more about the Curwen Studio you can visit their web site here

Susan Aldworth is Senior Research Associate at Swansea Metropolitan University and a part time lecturer at Norwich University of the Arts. Susan is currently Artist in Residence at the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University, where she developed and curated the acclaimed exhibition Reassembling the Self at Hatton Gallery and Vane in 2012. For more about Susan and her work please visit her web site

Photo courtesy of BBC Radio 4

Photo courtesy of BBC Radio 4

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