Recent work 2021

I have been making books, prints and other things…

Imaginary botanicals with rock paints.
5/10 EV Herbarium Exotica I C Wilson 2021

A Travellers Journal. I followed the Handmade Book Club instructions and made a 2022 Planner – don’t know how I will cope with that concept… Canvas painted with runs of Golden Acrylic High Flow ink.
Before Christmas I made a few small travellers journals to give as presents. This one’s cover was made from the carton of a six pack beer – just loved the colours.

I took part in the show – Oxford Papermakers: Waiaraki Eyre River Project 4 – 28 November 2021
Alison Fleetwood, Katie Hallam, June Inch, Casey Macaulay, Elaine Steenhart, Tessa Warburton and Celia Wilson

  1. A collage of dry point prints showing the exotic weeds, coloured with local rock pigments, that thrive on the local braided river, Waiaraki/Eyre River. The course of the river near Oxford is depicted – adapted from images on Google Earth. I have used some paper that we made from these weeds. I started this work at the Printmakers Open House at the Oxford Gallery.
2. A bit of fantasy to show the local environment from river bed to mountains: Collaged handmade papers from the river plants, local rock pigments, and home made charcoal rubbings of collagraph plates. The backing paper is Harakeke paper made by Mark Lander who made the hollander beater that the Oxford Gallery Papermakers use. The Tree Lupin is painted with ink from gorse petals.

More about this show can be found at the gallery website under ‘Exhibitions’:- https://oxfordgallery.org.nz/

Waikawa Walks Pigments

Waikawa Bay is near Waitohi/Picton on Queen Charlotte Sound, and they are connected by a track through the Victoria Domain Park. There are other tracks in the Domain and you can walk to end of the peninsula; The Snout. We tried most of these three tracks and here are a couple of photos:

We were staying in Waikawa in February 2020, and these pigments I collected during the walks. These were three different clays and one harder rock (the red pigment). I am trying to catch up with testing these pigments. It made a relaxing task compared to working towards exhibitions!

I rather like the #4 pigment, has an slight green colour to the brown. The sample “#5” in the photos above is the first paint I made at the workshop in September and is #4. Just to confuse us all. It is interesting how yellow pigments can give a variety of darker colours. After the last Workshop in September I posted images of some of the paints made. These paint tests are made with the full strength paint, so the colours are quite dark. I have watered down the red paint, and I also rub some of the pigment powder on to the test page, for the record.

Open House Printmakers: New Work

We set up our new exhibition at the Oxford Gallery, on the 6th October. As you can see we have very different approaches to printmaking.

OPEN HOUSE PRINTMAKERS : NEW WORK

Kathy Anderson, Jo Ernsten, Casey Macaulay, Ruth Stanton-Mcleod, Kris Waldin, Tessa Warburton & Celia Wilson

7-24 October 2021

Kathy Anderson

Casey Macaulay

Ruth Stanton McLeod

Kris Waldin

Tessa Warburton

Jo Ernsten

Here is my submission.

For this set of hand coloured prints I concentrated on the flora and fauna of the River Eyre/Waiaraki to show the displacement of bird life by introduced by exotic plant life.  The plants take on an imaginary shape, though based on actual plants.  These prints were influenced by medieval illustrations;  I felt our present day understanding of nature is in some respect no different to their ideas of what exotic animals might look like.  My work always comes out ‘pretty’ no matter how hard I try to make it the opposite! I really enjoyed painting these prints.

Ed 2/5 EV “Herbarium Exotica V” Celia Wilson

A Wrybill is the bird shown in this print.

Paint Making Workshop

My most recent workshop was held for a group of local school children.

They were very quick to understand the paint making process, and made lots of bottle tops of paint – on average four each.

I had not tested the Waikawa ochre pigment before, so I chose it for the paint making demonstration. I used watercolour medium of course, as that is my favourite binder. Another muller print to add to my collection.

The students used commercially ground natural pigments, as I do not have enough of my own hand ground pigments for a large group and, anyway, the fineness of these pigments makes it easier for the students to mix into the binder. We used pigments from Roussillon and Natural Earth and Mineral Pigments.

They really enjoyed painting with their own paints! Some of their paint is shown below.

Birdlings Flat Pigment

rock, pigment, file

Not sure why I had not tried this method of making pigment before. The volcanic rock is mainly red but has a lot of other minerals in it, and as you can see the ground pigment varies in red-brown colours. The ground pigment fell through the file onto the paper. I made paint with the pigment you see here.

Brown-red watercolour paint

The lower left swatch of paint wet in wet shows how the different pigments can separate out. This is on 100gsm paper in my test book, so the cockling of the wet paper has enhanced the separation of the different pigments.

I had been reading up on middle stone age pigment manufacture which included tests of possible way of extracting the powder. The article discussed direct grinding on the grindstone and I wondered why I had not tried this before (even though I knew about this method). I don’t have a grindstone, so the file was substituted. This method will work well on this type of rock which is relatively soft compared with some of the water-shaped rocks of rivers I see. So on rocks similar to the one here, I will definitely use this in preference to my hammer!

‘Direct grinding is the most efficient method to extract fine powder from softer shales and siltstones.’

Rifkin, Riaan F. “Processing Ochre in the Middle Stone Age: Testing the Inference of Prehistoric Behaviours from Actualistically Derived Experimental Data.” Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 31.2 (2012): 174–195. Web.

Earth Paints

I usually put left over paint from my tests into wine bottle tops and attach a piece of paper to record the location, the date made and/or date collected and the colour. Here’s a selection that I pulled out the other day.

Waimakariri Green Pigment

A page from one of my test books, showing this green sedimentary rock from the Waimakariri river. I make these tests every time a new paint is made. This in my ninth A4 book.

Okuku Yellow

I found this pigment at Okuku Saddle, situated north of Oxford, in the Lees Valley.

This was a chunk of loess from beside the road and above is the watercolour and gouache paint made from this pigment. The colour of the paint is reasonably true – varying from light tan when thick, to yellow when diluted with more water. The circular shapes are created by pressing the muller on to the paper and the patterns form as the muller is lifted. The top right impression was made with a wetter paint than the impression just below. The paint is reasonably opaque when thickly applied; and the chalk gives a lovely pastel colour. I made this paint again (pigment collected in 2009) as part of research for an artists book I have planned.


Open House at Arts in Oxford

Open House is a great experience. We are in the final few weeks of the artist in residence project (on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) . We think we have spoken to the public for about 60% of the time we have been in the gallery working. Its has been very satisfying to talk to visitors and to realise how many people out there are actually very curious about how printmakers make images, how we research and experiment. We have all enjoyed being artists together, a great opportunity to exchange ideas and learn in good company. Just such a great idea; we have been very honoured be invited and very pleased to take part.

Fellow invited artists with Jo Ernsten are Kathy Anderson, Casey Macaulay, Ruth Stanton McLeod, Kris Waldin, Tessa Warburton. Last weekend visitors were offered the opportunity to print and take home a calico carry bag. We have made some more which are now on sale in the gallery.

Here are some photos I have taken of some work made to date. First up is an image of my table and some old and new work on the wall.

I have been using rock pigments from the Eyre/Waiaraki River that runs by Oxford. Water only runs through the braided river bed after rain, and the close-by headwaters are in and around the Mt Oxford hills. Weeds can grow and make the shingle beds unsuitable for nesting birds, but there is still lots to see at any time of the year. We have collected some of the weeds to make paper at the Gallery, and I am using some of this paper in my Open House art. I’ve been making *muller imprints with the paint I’ve made – browns, reds and greys. I have included paint made from green Waimakariri River rock as well – that river is not far from Oxford, and the Eyre/Waiaraki River eventually joins the Waimakariri closer to the coast. The Eyre/Waiaraki River used to end in swampy ground situated to the north of the point where it is now diverted into the Waimakariri.

From various maps I have drawn a section of the braided river in Oxford, made dry-point prints of the river bed structure (always moving!) and a selection of introduced weeds as well as New Zealand native plants that are found around and in the river bed.

*Muller imprints are made with the tool that is used to grind the pigment powder into the binder. The suction created by lifting the muller off the paint creates the patterns on the muller base that I then imprint on to paper. I have made two layered concertina booklets using the pigments and the braided river as inspiration. Not finished yet! A couple of other books using print and paint are also in progress.

More to come later.

April 2020

Repeat Patterns

Autumn now in the garden; mallow flowers still calling the bees, and dandelion clocks lingering in the grass.

Two patterns, one off-register. This was accidentally the result of painting in watercolours a sheet of tracing paper laid over the ink outline pattern. I married the two scans together in Photoshop to create this first image. The second image is the pattern created from painting an A4 version of a print of the outline tile.

Really enjoyed this, feel I am getting somewhere now with this process. Thanks to pandemic lockdown I have had the time… As we say in New Zealand, “Kia Kaha” – Be Strong. And take care.