Vickers Maxim

October 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

image…inking up the plateimage…the first proofimage …and the second.

A new copperplate etching based on the horses and mules who worked as pack animals in WWI. The horses which had largely been recruited for the cavalry found themselves being converted into a means of transportation after opposing sides became entrenched, carrying or pulling anything and everything from ammunition to ambulances. Gas masks were introduced for animals soon after the gas attacks began. This horse is shown carrying a Vickers Maxim 303. Machine gun and a Lee Enfield rifle

This will be on show, alongside other works, in Marlborough, Wiltshire, from 7th November.







‘With New-Won Eyes’ – Exhibition Opening

October 22, 2014 § Leave a comment


‘Taking it’s title from Hamilton Sorley’s poem ‘To Germany’, ‘With New Won Eyes’ is an exhibition of works indirectly reflecting on the timelessness of war, and peace, to commemorate the centenary of WWI through the contrasting visions of two artists. Included is the etching ‘Standing To’ which was created for Michael Morpurgo’s ‘War Horse; Only Remembered’, (a concert and reading, currently touring the UK), as well as other recent large etchings, paintings and drawings about working horses, and the landscape of home, both agricultural and domestic. This is accompanied by a sculpture trail of works by Charlie Poulsen, whose remarkable pieces in wood, lead and concrete provide a dynamic physical element to the exhibition’.

For details click on the image above. The exhibition opens in Marlborough, Wiltshire, and will be touring over 2015-16 with an evolving body of work.

For anyone closer to home who is unable to come but would like to see the work, we will be organising an event at the gallery in Belford in December where many of the pieces from the exhibition will be on display to accompany a launch event for ‘Horse’ by Katrina Porteous.

All welcome to the event on 7th November, and if you know anyone who would like to attend please pass on the details. Now, as I still have much of the work to do, I will get back to the printing press…

Printing Plates of Horses

October 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

image The copperplate after etching. This is Danny, drawn onto hard ground, etched, cleaned and now inked up and ready to go.

image And here he is after printing.image Detail.

Danny is typical of the 140,000 odd horses that were recruited by the army in a matter of weeks after the outbreak of the First World War, leaving farms with perhaps one in four horses, in a time when horses were still the driving force behind, or rather in front of, everything. None of the horses would ever return to the farms they were taken from.

Standing To at Kings Cross

October 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

photo This is one of several photos I was sent by kind and audacious friends and acquaintances who either inhabit or have passed through the capital in recent months, though with the time it has taken me to get round to post it one would have thought we were still dependent on a coach and four to get news from there, rather than the far less attractive means of communication we now have at our disposal. I myself have not ventured so far afield for many moons, and I am not sure if it still there, but as anyone who grew up with The Hungry Caterpillar (amongst other masterpieces by Eric Carle) will understand, I was very excited indeed to have a picture of mine next to one of his (you can just see the backside of a Bear in the photo here), so I am posting it anyway! The hoardings are at or near Kings Cross, and erected by the House of Illustration who recently celebrated opening their shiny new doors to the public after many years of fundraising. Quentin Blake, whose brainchild this is, has his work showing there at present. For more information go to:

And this is the piece I contributed to one of their auctions at Sotheby’s as part of the fundraising. Called ‘The Log-Book of the Zanzibar’ I can’t resist posting it, showing, perhaps verging on blasphemy, one of our best loved writers in the bath…

The-Log-Book-of-the-Zanzibar-HOMEAnd now, before I am struck down by lightning, I shall go and get on with some work. Exhibition opens in 3 weeks time…


Grounding Plates for Horses…

October 15, 2014 § 1 Comment

image I thought, in view of all the different kinds of ‘prints’ on the market nowadays, and in the lead up to the forthcoming exhibition, that it might be nice to record an etching plate in real time. Some people will know all about etching, more than I ever will, but for those who aren’t familiar with printmaking methods, or ‘intaglio’ in particular, I thought a record in photographs might not go amiss. Above is a photo of a large copper plate, 1mm thick, and comes in sheet sizes of 1x2m which I get cut into 3 sections on the huge guillotine at a local engineering firm. They tend to make cattle sheds and hay barns so what might be a large sheet of metal for you and me is no problem for them!  The first step is to degrease the copper plate with whiting and ammonia, which in the spirit of Blue Peter you’ll have to assume is already done. The next step is to heat the plate and apply the ‘ground’…

image This hard ground is a bituminous substance which, when hot, melts and can be applied in a thin layer onto the copper with a roller. When the plate has cooled, the ground sets.

image One wants the ground in a nice thin even layer. Thin enough to draw through without it flaking off, and thick enough to not break down in the acid, for it is this ground which protects the metal during the etching process.

You can see the difference in the colour below. Some people smoke the ground black, which makes it easier to see where one is drawing, and with the shorter days and poor lighting, I might try this, one day. I tend to work on plates in situ where possible, thought the big ones are a bit more cumbersome. Eitherway it’s best to wrap them up in paper until time of use, this one is destined for a remarkable piece of poetry called ‘Horse’…

imageimage So watch this space!  This plate will feature in the forthcoming exhibition opening in Marlborough, Wiltshire in November. For details please get in in touch.

A Horse called Danny

October 3, 2014 § 1 Comment

Danny I met Danny earlier this year at the Milfield Heavy Horse Festival. He comes from Fife and was doing some traditional style baling with his friend Stanley.

Stanley Both of them kindly modelled for me round the back of their trailer before going home. To see a large etching plate of Danny and how baling was done before the tractor revolution (rope, a canny horse and a couple of hard working blokes), then watch this space… Danny, Stanley and others will feature in the forthcoming exhibition in Marlborough, Wiltshire, in November. For more information or to receive an invitation, please get in touch.

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