We recently went along to the opening of an exhibition of emerging Scottish picture books illustrators at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Picture Hooks was set up by author Vivian French and agent Lucy Juckes. Initially, they held a conference at the Edinburgh College of Art, to demystify the picture book publishing industry and assist new graduates from art school in their journey towards publication.
Then, under the guidance of established professional, prize-winning illustrators – Catherine Rayner, Ross Collins, Natalie Russell, Alison Murray and Sue Heap – five illustrators were mentored for a year, giving them the chance to focus step by step on the development of their work. Their work now forms a stunning new exhibition at The Scottish National Gallery which runs until February 2014.
Co-founder and author Vivian French says: “It’s been a huge and exciting journey for all five illustrators and the development of their work has been sensational.”
The award of Picture Hooks Scottish Illustrator 2013 was presented by acclaimed artist John Bryne to illustrator Laura Clark, and Orchard Books, a sponsor and supporter of the mentorship scheme, selected Stuart Simpson as the illustrator for potential publication.
Picture Hooks is supported by partners Orchard Books, The Edinburgh College of Art and Creative Scotland.
Find out more about the Picture Hooks scheme and the exhibition at The National Gallery of Scotland which runs until 16th February 2014.
Here are examples of the work exhibited by three of the emerging illustrators...
December 10th 2013 sees the opening of Clare Leighton: Working Life at The Pallant House Gallery, Chichester.
The artist Clare Leighton (1898-1989) was best known for her wood-engravings illustrating rural life in England, Europe and the USA. She illustrated over 65 books, as well as writing and illustrating her own books such as ‘The Farmer’s Year: A Calendar of English Husbandry’ (1933) and ‘Four Hedges: A Gardener’s Chronicle' (1935).
In 1952 Leighton was commissioned by Wedgwood to create a series of 12 wood engravings to be transfer-printed onto dinner plates. These were on the theme of traditional industries in New England.
Several of the original wood blocks and plates will form part of the exhibition.
View more images of these plates over at Flotsam & Jetsam, a blog by Simon Martin, artistic director of the Pallant House Gallery.
Clare Leighton: Working Life is in the De’Longhi Print Room at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester UK from 10th December 2013 - 24th February 2014 Find out more
Many thanks to everyone who came along to the recent opening event for my Yorkshire Sculpture Park exhibition, A Natural Line.
And special thanks to Simon Martin, Artistic Director at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester for his opening speech.
The exhibition runs until 23rd February 2014 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield. For opening times and directions, visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park website.
Available for pre-order and shipping from early December is this beautiful audio/print package from Water Of Life, limited to 300 copies.
Tommy Perman - artist and musician (formerly of FOUND) and Rob St. John - environmental writer and musician - began the Water of Life project in June 2013, aiming to use water as a divining rod for exploring ideas of 'naturalness' in Edinburgh’s urban environment. Water of Life is an alternative travelogue, where water is a conduit for exploring new geographies: field notes from a liquid city.
Recordings made with hydrophone, ambient and contact microphone recordings of rivers, spring houses, manhole covers, pub barrel rooms, pipelines and taps are mixed with the peals and drones of 1960s transistor organs, harmoniums, Swedish micro-synths, drum machines and iPads: a blend of the natural and unnatural; modern and antiquated; hi-fi and lo-fi. Drum beats were sampled from underwater recordings, and reverbs created using the convolution reverb technique to recreate the sonic space of different bodies of water.
The package comprises: a letterpressed folder on recycled card, a 7" record pressed on recycled vinyl and a set of essays by Rob and prints by Tommy exploring the themes of the project, riso printed using soy inks on recycled paper.
Pre-order one of the 300 limited edition packages online and find out more about the Water Of Life project.
Another treat for fans of the work of Eric Ravilious is this exhibition of prints by the celebrated artist and designer which runs until 8th December 2013.
Ravilious' career was cut short by his untimely death in 1942 whilst on an Air Sea Rescue mission off the coast of Iceland in the course of his duties as an official War Artist.
Acknowledged in his lifetime as a master wood-engraver and exceptional artist/lithographer, the exhibition explores Ravilious' development as a printmaker, offering insights into his methods and placing his work in the context of British art, design and industry between the wars.
Simon Martin, Curator, says: "Together with Edward Bawden and Paul Nash, Eric Ravilious was one of the most important printmakers working in Britain in the 1920s and 1930s. His animated sense of rhythm, line and visual decoration give his prints a playful sense of design, whether as black and white wood engravings, colour lithographs, or as transfers on the ceramics that he designed for Wedgwood."
We're looking forward to getting our hands on a copy of James Russell's latest book for Mainstone Press.
Ravilious Wood Engravings features a selection of Ravilious wood engravings over its 80 pages, including at least one that's never been published before.
From the press release...
"Although a brilliant watercolourist, inventive lithographer and talented designer, Eric Ravilious (1903-42) was above all a wood engraver. It was in this demanding medium that he first found artistic expression in the early 1920s, and over the next two decades produced some of the finest engravings of the age. And what an age it was! Starting shortly before World War One, a succession of talented artists and designers explored a medium whose most famous British proponent, Thomas Bewick, had died almost a century earlier.
In his lifetime Ravilious was acknowledged as a modern master of wood engraving, and for Ravilious: Wood Engravings we have selected illustrations that show the evolution of a remarkable talent. Ravilious thrived on the limitations imposed by the medium, squeezing entire scenes into the tiniest vignette. Some of the engravings have the mysterious quality of his watercolours, while a wry humour animates others, such as his portrait of publisher Robert Gibbings being carried off by a giant cockerel. Running through the book is a sense of the pleasure Ravilious took in his work, which he approached with great skill and a light heart. While staying with his parents in Eastbourne he would cut his blocks with their canary fluttering around his fingers, and subsequently he always whistled when he worked.
When Ravilious died on active service as a war artist in 1942, at the age of 39, he had already achieved remarkable success. His short but spectacular career is described in a full-length introduction, which also sets his achievements in the context of the interwar years. Accompanying each illustration, meanwhile, is an extended caption designed to illuminate the engraving in an informative and entertaining way. In a manner familiar to readers of Ravilious in Pictures, author James Russell sets out to discover the places that inspired Ravilious, explore the remarkable books he illustrated and meet the people he portrayed. Ravilious: Wood Engravings is both a collection of beautiful, surprising pictures and an entertaining portrait of a wonderful artist and his world."
We'd recommend you visit James Russell's excellent blog for lots of related writings.
If you'd like to see more of Ravilious' work, we'd recommend a trip to the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester where their Eric Ravilious Prints exhibition runs until 8th December 2013. More on that soon.