Devils Dyke Walk Season Fall
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‘Devils Dyke Walk Season Fall.’
Panoramic view of the Sussex Weald and the South Downs in blossom from Devils Dyke.
Panoramic format. Print size 124 x 30.5 cm approx. Signed print from a limited edition of 100. From original ink drawing to which I apply colour digitally. Printed on fine art paper using archival inks.
Devils Dyke Walk
Devils Dyke is England’s deepest and widest dry valley from the Ice. The painted Constable described it as ‘the grandest view of the World’. The view I portray looks down onto the Sussex Weald confined by the South and in the distance the North Downs and even the Isle of Wight that can be seen on clear days.
Painters and poets have historically celebrated this view, it comes to my mind the poem ‘A Hike on the Downs’ by John Betjeman from the book printed in 1937 ‘ Continual Dew’ that goes like this:
‘Yes, rub some soap upon your feet!
We’ll hike round Winchester for weeks—
Like ancient Britons—just we two—
Or more perhaps like ancient Greeks.
You take your pipe—that will impress
Your strength on anyone who passes;
I’ll take my Plautus (non purgatus)
And both my pairs of horn-rimmed glasses.’
Round Headed Rampion Flower
In the foreground and in contrast with the distant view, you can see in my print bunches of rampion flowers growing among the grass. Namely ‘Round Headed Rampion Flower’, with a scientific name ‘Playteuma Orbiculare’ or colloquially known as ‘The Pride of Sussex’. This flower is actually a cluster of small flowers that open looks like a sea anemone, a herbaceous plant from the family of the campanulaceae with large erect stems. You can find Rampion Flowers in most of Europe though it thrives in the Downs grasslands chalky soils. Furthermore, in the language of flowers, the campanula flower means gratitude.
I created the images of the Rampion flowers as lithographs. In a particular method called ‘kitchen lithography’. I learnt this technique in an art printing course with Scarlett Rebecca.
Firstly the work ‘lithography’ comes from stone (lito) and printing (graphy). Curiously the addition of the term ‘kitchen’ comes from the fact that all the materials for the production of a kitchen lithograph can be found in an everyday kitchen.
The principle sticks to the basics of traditional lithography where water and oil push each other. In 2009 the French Emilie Aizier developed this technique that replaces the harmful chemicals of turpentine and nitric acid. To begin with, you draw a design on a piece of kitchen foil with oil pens, chocolate or soap. Then you pour a Cola drink on the design, significantly using a corrosive element to alter the water retaining properties of the foil. Thirdly you can clean and wipe this foil with your design with cooking vegetable oil.
Now you have your print plate ready. to use it, firstly you moist it with a wet towel and secondly you apply ink to it with a roller, the ink attaches to the design. Finally with the use of a wooden press you carefully transfer the inked plate into paper.
Other prints . Natural Landscapes of the South East
All things considered The South Downs National Park has an inherent beauty that has inspired artists for centuries. Without doubt I am in this category. Correspondingly if you follow the link below you will be able to see some of my prints where I portray the beauty of the natural landscapes around us. Countryside and Coastal Landscapes.