Zines, zines, and… more zines?

Hey guys!

As promised, I’m here to show off my finalised mural piece for that brief I was working on.

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Creating this was a big leap out of my comfort zone.  For starters, bright neon is the opposite of my usual colour scheme, as is sticking specifically to blocky shapes.  I had an idea of what I wanted before I started working on this piece, which meant a ton of sketchbook work for me.  If you’ve been following on my instagram you’ll have seen some behind the scenes snapshots of those thumbnails.  Once I had the basic concept down though, it was pretty easy from there.  I had to decide on a colourscheme, and then with that done, I whacked the whole thing into photoshop and used some lasso-tool-fu to select the pieces I wanted to colour at that moment.  It was actually fairly straight forward.

For me the bigger challenge was working this way to start with.  I’m a very painterly person and so working this bright and this flat and with so little detail was quite a huge step from where I normally am with my work both conceptually and practically.  Honestly, I learned a lot though, doing new things is the only way to push your skills forward.

So.  What have I been up to since then?

Well, honestly, I’m glad you asked!

This week I’ve been working on little prints and zines for my shop.  I’m really excited about launching the new products, and I hope you all take a look!  I will be launching another two zines this month which will both be available for purchase, so please keep an eye on my social media for updates on that!

Once Upon a Brief

Pheeewww!! It’s been a while since my last blog post and I am deeply sorry about that!  After the end of term, I needed a little settling down break and so took some time to myself to restructure and plan ahead for my summer projects and focus on the few months that lie ahead.  One of those projects is a really exciting brief that I can’t go into a lot of detail about, but if it works out, then it’ll be really amazing, and I can’t wait to share more on it provided it happens.

Now, on saying that, what I CAN do, is provide some little snippets of the piece I’ve been doing, as I’ve been working on it.  It’s pushing me to play a lot because it’s so much more colourful than my usual style of work, which is a lot of fun!  I’ve been really enjoying playing with this one, and I can’t wait for everyone to see the final product!  I’ll be updating more on this next week, and talking more about my process with the final image so stick around for that!!

I’m also open for work right now so remember to email me at dlawlor456@gmail.com if you have any project proposals you’d like to work with me on!

Commissions

IT’S SUMMER!  That’s sooo exciting!

And that ALSO means I’m available again for commissions and small projects!  Here are some examples of what you can expect!  This post is pretty serious sounding, but that’s because I want it to be as clear as possible if you want to commission me!

I also do traditional paintings, lino prints, and sketches, seen below:

These, however, will be more expensive than digital commissions.

HOW IT WORKS:

DIGITAL COMMISSIONS

When you email me asking for a digital piece, we will have a brief discussion outlining what you want, and I will give you a quote for the price.  I work out my price based on the AOI hourly rate guidelines.  This keeps me in the right as I know roughly how long a piece will take me, therefore, with digital work, because it does not require any specific materials, I charge ONLY for my time.

Upon accepting the quoted price, you are then required to send me half the cost as a nonrefundable deposit.  Essentially this ensures that I am paid for at least the time I could have spent working on other pieces if you pull out, along with any time I have spent developing your piece.  When you have done this, I will commence work.

You will be kept up to date with screenshots and email updates the whole way through the commissioning process!  This ensures that you are happy with the end result, as if you get to see the early sketches and colour scheme early on, you can change and ask for edits to make things more to your vision.

When the commission is complete, I will send you a HIGH RES jpeg and png file over email which you can then print out for your personal use.

TRADITIONAL COMMISSIONS

Similarly to the digital commissions, hen you email me asking for a traditional piece, we will have a brief discussion outlining exactly what you want, and I will give you a quote for the price.  I work out my price based on the AOI hourly rate guidelines.  This keeps me in the right as I know roughly how long a piece will take me, therefore, with traditional work, because does require specific materials, I charge for BOTH my time AND the cost of materials.  Unfortunately this means that traditional paintings and pieces will be more expensive for most depending on what it is.  For example, an oil painting will be at least four times the price of a lino print because of the time required and the cost of the paints.

Traditional pieces also have to be shipped, and you will be responsible for the shipping costs.  

Upon accepting the quoted price, you are then required to send me half the cost as a nonrefundable deposit.  Again, this ensures that I am paid for at least the time I could have spent working on other pieces if you pull out, along with any time I have spent developing your piece.  When you have done this, I will commence work. You will still be kept up to date with screenshots and email updates the whole way through the commissioning process!  This ensures that you are happy with the end result, as if you get to see the early sketches and colour scheme early on, you can change and ask for edits to make things more to your vision.  Be aware however, that traditional piece edits may require more time depending on what it is.  When the commission is complete, I will send you a HIGH RES jpeg and png file over email which you can then print out for your personal use, as well as the piece itself which will be shipped to you.

EMAIL ME:

dlawlor456@gmail.com

Please be aware that these commissions are for your personal use.  You may not reproduce the work yourself and sell it on.  You may post it on social media but please credit me as the artist of the work.  You may print it out for your own use.  Payments will be taken through PAYPAL only please!

Lino Cut

Last Monday I made some quick lino prints as THANK YOU cards for the exhibition my whale triptych was showing in, as a memento for those who came to see it.

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It was nice to use the print room facilities for this however, as I got to use the oil based inks which give a more vibrant colour finish than the water based ones (although the oil based ones do require a solvent clean up, which is not my favourite thing in the world due to be being very scent sensitive!)   This also meant I got to use the presses, rather than my bone folder to make the prints.

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This beauty above is the Albion.  It’s a beautiful piece of kit, an art sculpture in itself in my opinion, and I got to use it to make the cards, so I will always always appreciate my uni for at least having these gorgeous presses to work with.

Forty presses later, and here we are!

Now, using oil based inks is pretty different to the lino printmaking I do at home.  My kit is purely waterbased, which means all it takes to clean up is some hot water and maybe fairy up liquid.  It also means you need to use a fair bit of ink to make a decent print though, whereas the oil doesn’t require as much.  The process itself is always similar though, ink up, clean down, lino, paper, press.  It’s just the variation in application and how you do the pressing that’s different.  And the drying times.

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Water based ink – lino done at home

At uni I get to use those aforementioned machines, which is just fantastic as I love playing with new things, and though their neither new to me or in make, they’re just so gorgeous I love using them.  At home it’s a longer process of rubbing my bone folder (and I highly suggest everyone gets a bone folder, it’s one of my favourite things and so useful for so many different mediums!) across the back of the paper for as long as it takes to get a good image.  Lino, and relief printing, is great, and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to try it.  It’s so much fun and so fulfilling to see your images appear again and again, each with a slight deviation, which makes it unique no matter what.

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Progression Report!

Heyhey!

So this week, I’ve been working on my exhibition piece for OUT OF THE BLUE, which is going to be shown in The Plough, Farnham, Surrey between the 25th and 27th.  It’s so exciting, and I’ve done a lot of prep for this before even getting down to the final painting.  I bounced around potential topics for this quite a bit actually, because I wanted to find something that was 100% important to me to expose on board, and it was doubly important because it’s the first time I’ve exhibited one of my traditional paintings – for the other exhibitions I’ve been involved in, I’ve showed my digital pieces.

At first I did a lot of research into feminine androgyny, but it became apparent that my heart was more set on looking into environmental issues for this one, especially as it’s a little more in keeping with the “blue” theme.

I was ambitious with this one, wanting to do an A1 or larger sized triptych, but I ended up settling for an A2 sized triptych instead.

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I’ve always been a very environmentally conscious kid – when I was but a little child I wrote to my city’s local environmental agency because a shop at the top of my street was guttering out suspect liquid, and so I’ve always had this real passion for wildlife and our world and how we fit into that, and if we can even fit into that.

I have to believe that we can.

Anyway, with everything that’s been going on lately, I slowly made my way to plastics, waste, and our oceans.

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I decided to focus on this, because fishing, overfishing, and what we leave behind in our oceans genuinely scares me.  So many animals have become entangled, entrapped, and died on our rubbish, and it’s just plain harrowing.  We have to share this planet, it’s not like we won’t be negatively impacted by our own disastrous waste.

The whale I painted was based off many, many articles and images of whales becoming entangled in fishing lines, trawling nets, and various other sea devices such as bouys and etc, which lead to them being unable to swim properly, dive, or surface effectively enough to breathe.

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In the end, it’s all of our responsibility to look after where we live.

The exhibition will be showing in The Plough, Farnham, Surrey, UK, from the 25th to the 27th.

Potato Stamps What???

Hi guys!

If you’re following me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen most of these pictures, but anyway; A big deal for me is that sometimes, some dark, dark times, I don’t have fun with my art.  Wow.  I know right?  Crazy.  How could it be, that one of the most fulfilling and wonderful parts of my life sometimes just drives me to stress and despair?  It’s almost as if art is hard.

And it is.  Totally.  But that just means I need to find ways to work around the difficulties and the stress, and this time, the way to do it was potato stamps.  After delving into the magical and wonderful world of silkscreen printing, I felt infected.  Right now, it’s as if the tactile world of printing as wormed its way under my skin like a parasite yelling, “PRINT ME PRINT ME PRINT ME!” forcing me to make and play.  And guess what?  I love it.

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Suspiciously Blank Potatoes!

You see, I think the thing was that because I do a lot of digital painting and work based fully in Photoshop, using my laptop and tablet, scribbling away to save little jpegs never to be seen again except via the internet or maybe if I got it printed, I lost something.  I lost the tactile feeling of making something real.  Now, that’s not to say I feel any less accomplishment when I do a digital piece really well.  I love it when that happens too, but I feel like humans are fundamentally tactile creatures, and traditional craft is something that just speaks to us on some kind of primal level.  With my oil and acrylic paintings, my sketchbooks, and my recent prints, just being able to physically hold what I’ve made gave me such a fulfilled feeling, and it was addictive.  And that’s what brings me to potato stamps.

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Wait a second, these were blank a minute ago!

You see, with my current project, I’ve been playing a LOT.  And I was suddenly at a loss of what else to play with.  I’d just finished my silkscreen tests and wanted to do more, but with studio closed for the holidays, my itchy little fingers didn’t know what to look for.  But, like most people, I buy vegetables, and, as it turns out, vegetables (mainly root vegetables) are perfect to make stamps with.  So there I was sitting in my kitchen, knife in one hand, potato in other, carving away simple shapes trying to make something interesting.  I started thinking, well, environment, so leaves, because I love plants, and so leaves I made.

Then I started thinking more in depth about my project, and what I wanted to convey, and the second stamp became a little more specific in that I wanted to express the damage done to trees after acid rain, a huge environmental problem that faces us today, and something I firmly believe we can tackle.  So yeah.  Let’s talk about it!  Potato stamps!  Are you engaging your inner five year old yet?

Silkscreen Printing!

Heyhey!!

For my latest project, I’m playing with all kinds of new materials!  I haven’t screenprinted in over a year, and so it was quite the experience trying to remember how to do it after so long away, and especially only having done it a whole one time before.  Well, I can’t believe I stayed away from something that allows me to use protective material for so long.

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So yeah.

The first thing I needed for this was, obviously, an image – and this is where my love for photoshop and how easy it is to transfer images comes in.  You see, as I’ve been working I naturally make up a metric TONNE of thumbnails for potential images.  Given that I decided that this endeavour into the world of printing would need to be a whole test, not just one artists proof, I decided to simply take a photo of the thumbnail I was going to use, whack it into PS, then turn it into the art necessary for screenprinting which is actually pretty easy, because at least I remembered THAT part of it all.

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As you can see, the image itself is pretty simple, and yes, most of my thumbnails do look like this, or even simpler, with things simplified into weird blocky shapes that I think look cool.  Anyway, I put this into dropbox, then opened it in Photoshop, blacked out each part of the image I wanted to be a new colour (this was going to be a four colour screenprint, so that meant four separate layers of blacked out parts) and then separated each layer into its own document to print on my very boring household printer, and that was that.

The next day was the actual screenprinting business, so with images in hand I set about making my somewhat ambitious dreams a reality.  Luckily, my university has wonderful technicians on hand to help out of we need it, so if (and, inevitably when) I got horribly, horribly confused, I knew I had someone to attack for answers.

Doubly luckily, there was a screen that was already coated and ready to go when I arrived, so I didn’t have to worry about coating it with emulsion myself, though it would have been good practise.  Maybe next time.

I taped the images I had made to the outside of the silkscreen, though I didn’t leave enough room between one of my images and the edge of the screen but I wouldn’t learn this until later.  I then placed the screen on the exposing unit, double checking the exposure times.  You have to lay the screen on the unit so that your images are between the glass and the screen, then close the top, secure it with the clamps, and switch on the vacuum.  Then it’s just a matter of switching it on, waiting for the lamp to come on, and watching the timer (or timing appropriately) til it’s done.  Then you just remove it from the unit, wash it off with a decently pressurised cold water tap, and watch in awe as everything that was black on your printouts breaks away to show where you’re going to print through the coating on the screen.  It’s really quite great actually.

After that, it was into the drying unit for a while then out again to have two more exposures, minus the vacuum and printouts, as a hardening process to keep the screen as well as possible after I abuse the heck out of it.

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Once this was done, I was pretty much ready to print!  Though I still had a lot to learn.  It was easy attaching the screen to the table, and getting everything sorted and ready to go, though I totally forgot how to register my screenprints so everything lined up properly.  It was only later that I got some help how to do it, and honestly, the answer was so obvious that I was kicking myself for not thinking about it.  It was simply a matter of screenprinting my first image, using it as a registration proof by attaching one (or two) long strips of paper to the back of it, and manoeuvring it under the screen until it all lined up nicely.  Really Dáire?? You couldn’t have thought of that yourself???  Anyway, self punishing aside, once that was done, I just marked the spot with some registration tabs and everything went swimmingly.  It was a great experience and I can’t wait to make more!

I’ll be selling some of these tests for a reduced price at the start of May in my shop!  So keep an eye out for that!