Forensic science, ellipses, and pencils…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s wrinkled old black and white snapshot is the one of me and Alfred Hitchcock having a flaming row on the set of Dial M For Murder in 1953.

So, having managed to do only one linocut this year, and mentioning that in one of my posts where I showed a photo of it, I did receive a couple of comments in my comments box encouraging me to get off my arse (ass) and do some more of them. Well dear reader I have taken notice, and I have made a start.
A week or so ago, sitting in the cafe, I had the spark of an idea that I thought might become a visual element in a lino print. It wasn’t much of an idea, just the depiction of a disc, or a washer, or an annulus, in black and white on the boundary of black and white on some background or other – where the important edges of the disc wouldn’t actually be there on the paper – the shape of the object would be created in the brain of the viewer from the scanty information available. I took out a little piece of cardboard (that had my shopping list written on it), turned it over and did a tiny sketch of the idea.
Last night, whilst sitting in front of the TV, which was showing Dr Henry Lee, world-famous forensic investigator, solving a tricky crime, I finally included my idea into a couple of preparatory drawings. I’m so sorry Dr Lee, I wasn’t really paying close attention to the blood spatter, but I was listening to your lovely voice as I drew…

There we are! Signs of progress!
By the way, you can see the little piece of cardboard with the original idea on it, there in the middle of the picture – unfortunately I put it upside down in the shot, so I’m afraid you won’t quite get the effect.
Of course, when you take a picture of a ‘work in progress’, and afterwards you put the camera and tripod (the room wasn’t that brightly lit, I needed a tripod) away, you then sit and stare at the work, and spot stuff in it that you don’t really like – doh!…
Yes dear reader, when you eventually see the finished print of this (who knows when?) you will find it much simpler and more ‘easy in the eye’ than this version – I subsequently got rid of all those irritating jagged things around the edges – they just cluttered the thing up. Oh, I included a bit more of that ‘sky’ too.
Anyway, look, I have made a start!…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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19 Responses to Forensic science, ellipses, and pencils…

  1. Jheron Bash says:

    Well, as we all know, Dave, starting is the hardest part of the journey. Stride on!

  2. Sharon Mann says:

    I can’t wait tot see what happens at the end of this crime scene.

  3. Yes, and it’s going to be good, I feel it (actually, I am seeing it!)

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Hm, thank you Claudia – this evening I marked it out on the lino ready for cutting! Hurray!…

      • Oh, good. I’m looking forward to seeing it. I learned to do linocuts in an adult ed class about a million years ago and for a while did quite a few of them, haven’t for some time. Your work makes my fingers itch to pick up the old tools and get to work.

      • Dave Whatt says:

        There is something compulsive about the actual cutting and slicing and flicking and brushing the bits away – it’s boring and time consuming, but when it’s finished I want to do more…

      • I know exactly what you mean. I found it to be the same way. There is a rhythm to it that is strangely relaxing. I’m going to say it is kind of like mowing the grass for me – the same hypnotic kind of repetition. Although with certainly very different results.

      • Dave Whatt says:

        Yes, indeed!… Mind you, there’s the awful panic when nearly finished cutting you accidentally slice through something that should have been left alone.
        Oh dear! How can I alter the design to accommodate this!… Doh!…

      • Yes. How well I remember this, too. Although sometimes it made the design better (other times, I never could get over the fact that there was an error and it glared out at me in every print I made). I’m really getting the itch for lino cutting again.

      • Dave Whatt says:

        A confession:
        A couple of times after a mistake in the cutting I have ‘repaired’ the error with two-pack strong adhesive – now that IS cheating!…

      • Well, I’ll have to join you in the cheat column, I’ve repaired, too, and I just say, genius must be accommodated, however it happens. I am wondering if you have ever tried scratchboard?

      • Dave Whatt says:

        No, I have heard of it though, but I’ve never had a go…

      • It’s somewhat similar in the process to linocuts, but the plate is the finished product, if you know what I mean.

      • Dave Whatt says:

        Yes, you scratch the black off to reveal the white bits I believe – a bit like drawing in charcoal, but in negative -I seem to recall kids doing it at school.

      • Yes, that is it. I bought a higher-quality (but still cheap) set of panels rather than the thin plastic that my son used way back when, and a little set of tools, and got right to work on it. You can repair it with India ink if you make a slip but the repaired area shows as a raised or slightly different textured area (you see this if you only look across the surface, don’t do that, just look at your image and admire it, instead). It’s capable of taking very fine lines. I enjoyed and I have some more boards to work on when I get a chance. Easier on my arthritic hands now than working with lino tools, too.

      • Dave Whatt says:

        Whoa! Thanks for that Claudia!…

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