I like to make paintings and prints with sea related themes, but of course everyone gets bored of seahorses and beach huts after a while. So it was clear where I needed to go next... Piranha!
If there is one thing that usually gets me back to the print workshop quicksharp it is an impending exhibition; namely the Gainsborough's House Printmakers at the Edmund Gallery in Bury St Edmunds in December.
Normally I avoid text on lino prints because the fact that you have to engrave the text onto the lino backwards, combined with a graphics program which doesn't have spell check (most of them don't) has in the past led to bad stuff happening. But this time I felt the need and my Piranha prints were born:
Some were put onto printed blue backgrounds...
Some straight onto white paper...
And one, in a new experiment, onto a painted watercolour background:
This worked amazingly well and is more colourful in real life than the photo shows. I loved the way the colour variations showed behind the flat colour of the lino. Rather than working in layers and cutting away the block (reduction printing) I tried a much faster method of applying the red ink to the lino with a paintbrush. This also worked better than expected, and I now have two new techniques that I will certainly be using again.
Whilst researching Piranha I discovered some interesting facts:
* There are over 50 species of Piranha and most of them are vegetarian (like me!).
* More people eat Piranhas than Piranhas eat people.
* Pirahanas do not generally attack large healthy animals (or people) and are fairly shy, although they can give a nasty bite.
* Piranhas travel in packs, not so they can drag unsuspecting hollywood actors under, but for protection against predators. Yes, stuff eats them (carefully, I suspect).
* Their evil reputation comes from an article President Roosevelt published after a trip to Brazil. The locals wanted to give the president a show, so they blocked off a section of the river, filled it with a shed load of piranha fish, starved them for a few days and shoved an old (and bleeding) cow in the river. The rest is history and the PR of the piranhas has never recovered.
Anyhow, I am pleased with my fishes; fish with teeth are undoubtedly cool! All that was left was to photograph them for internet sale, and to frame one of the best ones for the upcoming exhibition.
In addition to the internet and exhibitions, I will take a couple of these prints to the craft fairs I am attending in December, I think there is a shortage of items at such fairs that appeal to men and boys, and I think my Piranhas might just fill the gap!