Posts Tagged ‘circles’

Chalkboard 003

July 23, 2015


These rough and ready quick chalkboard sketches were all done in one fairly short brainstorming session last night. I’ve got a solo show coming up soon, and want to make the main wall a grid of monotypes. I have a set of nine that I have shown before, as a single line of prints, but now I want to extend that series further and make a grid. The decision to hold the show was something of a short notice thing, and so now I’m planning on being quite busy with new monotypes over the next month. Hence returning to the chalkboard for brainstorming white drawings which mimic the way I like to make monotypes. Although I only had yellow chalk available for this lot.  Had a reasonably successful printing day today and made four prints, of which two might make it into the show. I started with “Luna” from last nights ideas, as something not too difficult to warm up on, and then a different image entirely not featured in the chalkboard drawings. Not a bad start I think.


Diversity in Print

March 7, 2013



Last night saw the opening of Diversity in Print an exhibition of prints at the Royal Queensland Artist Society gallery on Petrie Terrace (Brisbane).  I’m in Sydney teaching at the moment so couldn’t get to the opening of course, but the good people there phoned to tell me I had been awarded a second prize for the wood engraving Forest Tunnel shown above.  This print was one of the ones I made in California, while at the JB Bunk residency.  I particularly like the crispness of the printed bark, that I had carefully retained on the block of birch wood as I cut and polished it prior to carving the image.  This print also makes use of  hand printing with a banana leaf barren in such a way as to produce subtleties of tone through the controlled use of variable pressure.  I’m glad to have been able to represent the somewhat neglected art of wood engraving in a show called Diversity in Print.

The show is on until 23rd March at 162 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane.

engraved forest tunnel

February 3, 2012

A while back I shared some photos that I described as forest tunnels.  These images became a bit of a fixation for a while.  I was attuned and looking for them whenever I was out walking.  I did translate one into a wood engraving, carved on another piece of Birch wood cut from the same branch as the block for View of Black Mountain.  A number of people told me they really liked the forest tunnels, so I thought I should post an image of the engraving as well.

Forest Tunnel, Peter McLean, Wood Engraving, 2011

new wood engraving

September 5, 2011

I’ve mostly been experimenting with creating compositions by printing various found materials (with varying degrees of preparation to create a printable surface).  However I have also just finished editioning a wood engraving.  The wood is birch, cut from a piece I found in the firewood pile.  The image is in a fairly traditional style, printed by hand using a burnisher with carefully varied pressure to enhance the sense of distance in this landscape scene from near the top of Mt Barnaby in Samuel P Taylor State Park.  I realise now that looking back from the house, I can just see Mt Barnaby in the distance, and hence where I am is here in this image too, on the far horizon beyond Black Mountain.

View of Black Mountain, wood engraving, Peter McLean, 2011


hello california!

August 10, 2011

Posts have been quiet lately, and you probably haven’t seen me around town lately either.  That’s because after much packing and sorting and driving across the countryside (not to mention flying across the oceans) I’ve arrived in Marin County to begin two months at the J.B.Blunk Residency.  So much is new and exciting coming to a new environment for the first time.  I want to describe everything – but that might get tedious.  I’ve been here five days now which has mostly involved settling in, sourcing supplies and a whole lot of hiking on the trails out the front door.  That hasn’t left a lot of time for lots of art making until today when I had a busy and experimental studio day, but I won’t show pics of that just yet.  For the first pics from the residency something simpler and more spontaneous, some circles out on the trails.

I made this circle because the low even light (under a thick foggy sky and a dense scrubby canopy) made these fallen leaves glow most beautifully.  I don’t know what this small tree is yet, but it is fairly ubiquitous around here.  Not actually autumn leaves, but a lot of these trees have shed a lot of leaves recently while still retaining plenty too.  Perhaps they are evergreen and these are last years leaves, shed after the summer growth of new leaves have developed.

Today was sunny and warm all day – the fog lifted early and still hadn’t returned by sunset, which is the first time that’s happened.  I’ll miss the fog if it doesn’t come back soon – I’m sure it will.  For now I made a golden circle of  California Bay leaves for the sunny day on the way back from my now almost habitual afternoon walk up the nearest mountain.

feather circle

May 22, 2011

stick dome

August 4, 2010

I found this wonderful land art construction on a recent walk in Canberra Nature Park. It is quite large and sturdily made. I’ve no idea who by – I’ve asked a couple of people I know who I thought were possible candidates, but no. The partial dome, made entirely of Eucalypt sticks, is sited amongst the branches of a large fallen tree. This area, at the base of Mt. Majura, has a lot of dead trees through it. Big old Eucalypts. I suspect years of over grazing, first by sheep and more recently by kangaroos and rabbits, has left the soil compacted and less able to absorb moisture. With prolonged drought over the last 10 years, even these hardy native trees have succumbed.

bark basket

March 1, 2010

Not technically a basket I guess, since it is really just a cylinder with no base.  All the same it still sits in my garden under the big Eucalypt that sheds this bark in the summer.  The bark is only pliable to manipulate like this after several days rain.

walking on water…?

January 28, 2010

Yesterday I went for a walk on Lake George (or Weerewaa in the indigenous language). Though no, I wasn’t walking on water, Lake George hasn’t had any water in it for years, since late 2002 in fact. (Besides, I lost my Jesus-like locks recently). The lake bed is quite expansive and rather flat. It is not a salt lake, but rather converts to sheep grazing when there is no water, which is not that unusual, though it can be up to 5 meters or so deep when full.  The Federal Highway from Canberra to Sydney skirts the edge, so I have passed it often and it is an incredibly beautiful landscape.  The play of the changing light on the lake bed and the hills on the far side mean the view is never quite the same.  Yet, though I sometimes stop briefly at one of several rest stops along the way, I have not before walked out onto the lake bed itself.  At the moment even the grazing must be quite marginal, the soil was cracked and crumbling and the dry plant cover sparse.  I did a few sketches, took many photos, collected two sheep skulls and some dirt to take back to the studio, and made a bone circle to leave on the lake bed.

Many Canberra artists have made Lake George the focus of their attention for a period, it seems to captivate people.  One of my favorites is Rosalie Gascoigne’s ‘Suddenly the Lake’ made from tin and ply. There was water in  the lake in the mid 90’s when she made it, and when I first saw the lake.  Click here to see an image. Perhaps I will have a Lake George period soon?

%d bloggers like this: