Lockdown week 52

52 weeks – One Year on.

This post is a little late as the cherry blossom that featured one year ago has been a couple of days later than anticipated in 2021. The season has come round again which gives a degree of comfort that some sort of natural normality is in place, while the abnormality of the last year continues to disrupt daily existence.

Cherry blossoms. April 2020


“Unique” Matrix: Bodies, Performance and Encounters

The 2020 IMPACT printmaking conference was postponed because of you know what. However, the Hong Kong Print Workshop that were to host have pulled all the stops out to put the 6 day conference on this week through its dedicated website. An immense achievement as printmaking exhibitors, speakers and demonstrators from across the world have participated. Over 100 exhibitions and portfolios reflect the state of contemporary printmaking and research. With a 7 hour difference the late afternoon and evening zoom presentations are responded to by European participants early in the morning. 

Printmaking colleagues in the School of Art reconfigured our original bespoke printed book for exhibition into an ebook: Legends and Legacy Between as the original.

Full screen book and Video version.

I shall present ‘Print States and Chance’ on Sunday (morning).

Lest we forget

September 17th 2020. Digbeth, Birmingham UK

The conclusion of the murder trial of George Floyd to place on Monday with the final statements from Defence and Prosecution.  In less that 24 hours the jury charged with giving a verdict in this most important trial this century gave their unanimous decision.

Amid relief and celebration calls from the President of US to the Floyd family laid the ground for real change. That said deaths of black people in the US including Minneapolis, continue to occur daily.

covid update

India has surpassed Brazil in the rise in cases, with frightening effects as hospitals cannot cope.

Eating Out Celebration

Paneer Kofta, Palak Sauce and Saphire

This week is Ramadan and we celebrated with an Iftar outside in Hall Green, Birmingham UK as the sun disappeared below the horizon. It is the first time we have met to eat since December 2019. Thanks to all including @RajaMonkey for providing such delicate and delicious food.

Thats it (for this year)

Lockdown week 51

second Jab

2nd Vaccination Confirmation April 2021

A surprise text from the GP surgery popped up in messages: ‘book your second Vaccination’. I was originally booked in on May 2nd, but I attended this morning.


Helen McRory 1968-2021.

What a terrible loss it is that actress Helen McRory has passed away at the age of 52. She is pictured above when we met in Birmingham following the launch of Peaky Blinders in which she played the wonderful matriarch Aunt Poll. Generous as ever she proudly wore her ‘Digbeth is Good’ button.


Very busy week that began with the Printmakers Council announcing that I am their featured artist. A very generous series of posts highlighted current work and that from the covid year.

The week has progressed with aquatint trials for the EARLY 21stCTools series. A two colour print of the abstracted freedom disc had to be registered through the trapping the paper under the blanket technique. The colour plate was wiped leaving an area without ink in order the white paper would show through the abstract marks of the disk image that was over printed in black.

Abstract Freedom Hard Disc. Two Colour Aquatint. 300×350. 2021

The next test will be the ALPHA disc with minimal bite timings to assess how the tones will be retained.

Lest we forget

September 17th 2020. Digbeth, Birmingham UK


covid update

Thats it

Lockdown week 50

still masked

Entrance hall coat and mask hanger. April 2021

Not much to see. Too busy with head down on reading and research this week. Progress. Being made. 

Lest we forget

September 17th 2020. Digbeth, Birmingham UK


The trial of the killing of George Floyd is screened live from 3 pm GMT and if one can get over the seriousness and oppression of Mr Floyd, the amount of video and photographic evidence is overwhelming.  Not being a regular murder courtroom attendee, I am not able to understand whether this is normal, but as the Forensic Pathologist Dr Lyndsey Thomas says in her testimony she has never known such a variety of footage from street observers, police body cameras and CCTV. The reality footage from the incident and the transfer of Mr Floyd to the ambulance by paramedics is too much to take, as the victim is clearly dying or dead, but it is screened. Only today has the court been told that some autopsy images will not be shown on screen, but the jury will receive physical photographs in an envelope to be viewed at the direction of the prosecutor, but thankfully not be screened to the live audience.

Dr Thomas looking down at physical photographs.

covid update

Thats it

Lockdown week 49

Locked Out

Restaurant Birmingham UK. March 2021

Its been a busy week! As the first lifting of restrictions are made on Monday the sun comes out and on the hottest March day for over 50 years, many mainly young folk partied. No partying for me as the thesis Introduction is reviewed following valuable feedback began the week, followed by two days of practical printmaking processes and reflection on the how selected print media of visualisation changes interpretation of the image.

Print and Tools Tests

The visualisation of 2021 tool equivalents to Jim Dine’s inspirational prints of 1950’s hand tools is throwing up a variety of options. The digital images offer stark contrasts with the photographic images of the hard disc metal containers and leads. This begins the process of visualising the Early 21C tools that will be documented in the pages beginning with: https://printsanew.jonnieturpie.com/21st-century-tools

Five Removable Hard discs. 2007-2020. digital drawing.

The first etchings of the LaCie 2020 provide very different images from digital disc images and the photographic images with textural backgrounds. In just 8 proofs there are 8 different impressions to assess.

8 test hard and soft ground etchings of LaCie 2020 removable hard disc

Following the soft and hard ground etching an experiment with two freedom 2007 disc images applied to aquatinted 300x350mm copper plates.

Silkscreens are used to print bitumen onto copper plate as masks for aquatint etching. While stencils are usually associated with silkscreen or serigraphy printing to hold back ink being forced through the mesh on to a substrate. In this case a stencil is used to control where a bitumen resist reaches a plate to be etched. In this early tools test, two negative images of a freecom 2007 hard disc are made on paper from digital files and exposed on to a 100 mesh screen. They are positive in order a resist is printed on the plate leaving the aquatint exposed to take the acid bite and create a negative to be inked and deliver a printed positive.

two copper Plates with bitumen resist printed from silkscreen.

negative, positive, negative, positive.

Freecom 2007. Stage Proof Aquatint on Hahnemühle paper. 400x450mm
Freecom 2007 abstract. Stage Proof. Aquatint on cartridge paper. 400x450mm

Much of the details of the process are captured here as the Early 21C Tools series develops.

Lest we forget

September 17th 2020. Digbeth, Birmingham UK

This week saw the beginning of the murder trial of civilian George Floyd by the police man who held his knee on the neck of Mr Floyd for 9:29 minutes. Race and racism underlies all questions and testimonies. The live courtroom transmission is tragic. Courtney Ross’s cogent testimony is excruciating in her relating of the personal and emotional trauma she has to participate in. The silences between questions is painful as is the screening of body cam and observer’s brave video footage.  

covid update

Thats it

Lockdown week 48

Through the nets

Great Spotted woodpecker, through the curtain.
Great Spotted Woodpecker 2017

Nothing to see, just listen to the sounds of the morning woodpecker.

Perhaps the same bird that visited in 2017 is back to wake us. Or a new younger one is passing by and spied the coconut.

Print and Tools Tests

Continuing the visualisation of 2021 tool equivalents to Jim Dine’s inspirational prints of 1950’s hand tools is throwing up a variety of options. The digital images are offering a stark contrasts with the photographic images of the hard disc metal containers and leads. https://printsanew.jonnieturpie.com/21st-century-tools

Five Removable Hard discs. 2007-2020. digital drawing.

These will be inkjet printed on plain and textured paper surfaces. With access to the School of Art print room and the assistance of master printmaker Justin Sanders the trial of an etched image of the most modern disc (LaCie 2TB) has delivered comparison of hand made image and backgrounds with the digital images. Each image is drawn on tissue paper and transferred on to the soft and hard ground plates with no digital or photographic elements. Additionally the etching process into copper plate, printed on selected paper and hand inked, is fully manual. The inclusion of the irregular connection leads locates the rectangular discs on the square plate and subsequent squared image on the rectangular paper. A clean background for the linear drawing works well in giving the modern disc/tool a status akin to the Jim Dine prints of hand tools.

LaCie Tools. Two plate etching.

Following first proofs from soft and hard ground plates, drawing into the hard ground was undertaken using burin and roulette tools. A second hard ground etch was applied. A two plate print was taken with the hard ground printed on top of soft ground, providing a hint of shadow to the hard ink lines. Finally a series of prints have been made to assess the effects of varied backgrounds and highlighted areas. The backgrounds were achieved by leaving some ink on the plates beyond the etched grooves, ie not fully wiping the surface clear of ink using the ‘Surface Tone’ technique. Background textures were also left in the ink as the pattern of the scrim was embedded. Highlights were created by cleaning selected ares with a hand made cue tips. ie not cotton wool sticks, but soft paper rolled into a point and bound with masking tape.

8 test hard and soft ground etchings of LaCie removable hard disc

Keatleys metals weighing.

Next an experiment with another disc image will be undertaken through the aquatinting etching process on new 300x350mm copper plates purchased from the Birmingham Metal Suppliers Keatley’s where cost is calculated by weight. Another analogue contrast with the digital tools to be represented.

The silkscreen surface test that was made prior to lockdown by printing transparent screen ink medium has reclined in a print room plan chest drawer for four months, but sadly has not dried sufficiently to be drawn upon. An additional two days in the drier has not hardened the medium. As the surface texture/pattern is of interest an alternative to drawing may be to lightly drop carbon dust from some height to maintain the texture, but provide sufficient small barriers to screen exposure which may deliver a unique surface to be printed from and be assessed as a serigraphy portrait background. Equally the dust might dry the medium surface to a degree that drawing materials may be held.

Results reviewed as the week progresses.

Chance Meeting

My second excursion to the City Centre and the School of Art was diverted by an unexpected meeting with a visitor to the city as she photographed the statue of Queen Victoria in the square that is named after her. She asked if I would take picture of her in front of the statue and the classical architecture of the Town hall. I pointed out the Museum and Art Gallery and that I was on the way to the School of Art which she was immediately interested in seeing. I introduced her to its magnificence, before encouraging her to see the newly opened centenary square.

Tusti. Digital drawing. 2021.

I have shared a drawing of her which celebrates the event that was the first time I have met by chance and engaged with a new person in 11 months. We swopped insta names and it occurred to me that I had put all sense of being in covid to one side, apart from our masks, and engaged as a resident sharing the sights of the city in non restricted times. On reflection it was a liberating experience indicating what we have been missing and look forward to returning to.

Lest we forget

September 17th 2020. Digbeth, Birmingham UK

covid update

Thats it

Lockdown week 47

City Centre. Bright, but empty.

Birmingham Buildings from the Christadelpian Hall, Suffolk street Queensway.

Print and Tools

Continuing with Jim Dine’s inspirational prints of 1950’s hand tools to visualise 2000-21 tool equivalents by experimenting with sketches of the small metal removable hard disk boxes. Sketches made using photographs of hard disc containers are transferred to the Procreate app on an iPad to add complimentary ‘hand drawn’ textures made with the electronic Apple Pencil and selected brushes. The image and marks provide varied and effective juxtapositions.

Five Removable Hard discs. 2007-2020. digital drawing.

With access to the School of Art print room possible, there is potential to create physical printed images in direct opposition to the electronic, digital, computational imaging of the iPad series. Dine’s tools drawings are in the main lithographs and my expertise is in serigraphy, however in going as far as possible toward tactile manual imaging etching on copper plate may be just that. With the assistance of master printmaker Justin Sanders a piece of copper, from previous mezzotint experiments, was cut in two equal pieces of 10″ before being polished ready for soft and hard grounds.

Results reviewed as the week progresses.

20:20 Prints

While in the print room boxes of 20:20 prints arrived from Hot Bed press in Manchester. An annual submission of 20cmx20cm prints in editions of 25 has reached over 10,000 this year and 133,000 since the project began. This year Moscow print workshop contributed. www.2020printexchange.com

Video Live Engagement

Amy Drury. portrait painting of Cordelia Oliver.

A fully engaged two hour live portraiture stream : ‘My week of painting women artists concluded with my painting of Cornelia Parker, live for Tate instagram. I was asked to do this special event as the Tate saw my post for Portrait Artist of the Week – Nicola Coughlan – and then my series of portraits I have been doing of my female friends on our lockdown walks this winter. They thought It would be a good fit for their online International Womens Day event.’



Richard Saltoun Gallery’s year-long programme On Hannah Arendt: Eight Proposals for Exhibition looks to one of the most important thinkers of the post-war generation to confront some of the most pressing socio-political issues of our time. 

Running from January until December 2021, the programme consists of eight exhibitions organized around the eight essays in Arendt’s 1969 publication Between Past and Future: Eight Exercises in Political Thought and features more than 20 international artists from diverse backgrounds working across a range of media, many from outside the gallery’s roster. The following video is from Peter Kennard and includes his most recent work comprising hands and Stock market figures, that resonate in the covid year they comment upon.

Virtual Tour | Peter KENNARD ‘On Hannah Arendt: The Concept of History’ from Richard Saltoun on Vimeo.

Lest we forget

September 17th 2020. Digbeth, Birmingham UK

covid update

John Hopkins University


Thats it

Lockdown week 34

Busy! December week

Busy Busy Busy. Monday the IMPACT Journal Volume 2 went public including my report on portraying through drawing and printing fellow researcher Ian Sergeant. The article was begun 12 months ago after completing the portrait, but as journal writing generally takes 12 months it has been through many refining iterations to get to a satisfactory conclusion. In that period, following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Black Lives Matter came to prominence and a postscript was added. Read here.

Ian Sergeant. Phd Passion. Two colour serigraph print. 84x118cm 2019

Surface tests

pressed and pitted perspex drawing surface (detail)

Visited the Printroom to test the pressed perspex surface drawing for silkscreen. Positive results with a wide range of tones achieved on the pitted surface. This was much more successful than the mullered approach last week. Collation of the results underway.


Whether on Teams, Zoom or socially distanced meetings its been an important week with the new job sharing CEOs of the Birmingham Museum Trust getting into gear and looking to a progressive future for the City museum and its 9 city wide venues. A Principal of the new BOA Stage and Screen has been appointed – more news soon on this production skills focused school in the Ladywood area of inner city Birmingham.

click to watch recording of the participative drawing

No meeting but congratulations to Mac Birmingham who won a national Big Draw Best museum and gallery Award for the work inspired by the gorgeous drawing exhibition by Matt Shane and Jim Holyoak. Canadian artists who covered the walls in the main gallery with huge, intricate and mysterious landscapes and inspired many diverse families to make a massive participative floor drawing that was hung in the Arts Centre

Web Presence

Much screen time focussed of creating a much needed new home page for photographs taken over the last 20 years. It required great assistance from Rei at Ionos to get all the folders in the right hosting space. Ionos recently took over 1and1 that I have used for fifteen years for personal email and web hosting. So many files!

Lest we forget

September 17th. Digbeth, Birmingham UK
SEVEN times world champion, soon to be Sir Lewis Hamilton.

The world Champion has had to withdraw from the weekend’s Grand Prix as he has contracted Covid. George Russel, a 22 year old driver is taking his place.

covid update

Seemingly vaccines are on the way, but the figures just keep rising with the UK a terrible third in the world rankings.

Personal health

Wrist band!

I recovered from the angiogram performed on my heart last week at the wonderful Queen Elizabeth Cardiology Department. The Consultant that has overseen my heart condition including inserting two stents in 2002, and replacing them with five in 2016, gave me a ring to confirm more work will have to be done to prevent a worsening of the condition. More on this nearer the day.

Thats it

Lockdown week 33

A winter week

Congregate for Culture

There were no opportunities to view art indoors this lockdown winter week. However an unexpected exterior opportunity appeared. We went outside to a big old house with an even bigger garden and saw photographs. International garden photographer of the year was on show at the Walled garden of Shugborough House in Staffordshire. A damp, foggy and chilly day was not an obvious welcome for lockdown escapees, but it was worth the effort to venture out. Seeing a real world, as opposed to our saturated online world, photographic exhibition, in lockdown was a treat. As were the misty scenes including the Garden Pond, which could be seen in varied ways.

Garden Pond spun around. Vignette starry sky.

More photographs from our afternoon out of the house at another house.


Many weeks ago in early lockdown, television audiences were invited to participate in live life drawing sessions by BBC four to which thousands of drawers tuned in. Sky Arts, which has recently come free to air, has run StoryVault‘s Portrait Artist of the Year for 7 years. It is a prerecorded competitive show which invites amateur and professional portraits painters to paint a selected sitter. It is a popular format attracting artists and interested viewers alike. In the later months of lockdown the producers have developed a lockdown live version which brings portrait artist together with a recognised sitter in two locations brought together by the magic of television. But it takes many hours to paint a considered portrait and the event is transmitted not on TV but on FacebookLive.

As well as allowing a 4 hour transmission, introductions and interjections from the show presenters and judges, it has a constant instagram and comments feed from viewers. The show is fully interactive and engaged with by participants. globally. One comment as the show begins says the show is their: ‘lockdown treat of the week.’ This week’s sitter was the Newscaster Jon Snow in front of his bookcase, introduced by the veteran presenter Baroness Joan Bakewell in front of her bookcase, and painter Cathrine MacDirmid is beamed in from her Cumbria garage studio in front of her paintings and daubs. As the portrait and conversation develops comments come in from the Philippines, Houston and California who wake early to paint. From time to time the sitting newsman reads from the comments board with glee. Intermittently the painter’s friends and colleagues let her know how well she is doing. Personalised broadcasting through the internet.

Joan Bakewell introduces Portrait Artist of the Week sitter, Newscaster Jon Snow

One commentator observes: “The Pandemic is a million miles away when the brushes are flowing.” During the show the producers throw up a screenshot of the sitter and invite the audience to screenshot it, as you can from FacebookLive, and paint your own portrait.

Reflecting on the live, online portrait experience.
The portrait is done after 4 hours have ‘whizzed by.’

The Portrait will be finished to Catherine MacDirmid’s satisfaction tomorow and be posted on #PAOTW. 100’s of participating artists will be posting their works on #myPAOTW.

Lest we forget

September 17th. Digbeth, Birmingham UK
SEVEN times world champion, soon to be Sir Lewis Hamilton.

covid update

I was going to write about the Covid vaccine news and the various responses to it, but time has run out. I will return next week, when we can only hope our paying attention to Lockdown restrictions show in the reduction of the frighteningly high numbers of deaths.

In conversation Jon Snow reflected that he had never experienced anything like this pandemic and drew an analogy with it being our Third World War. He noted that we are nearing 60,000 deaths in 10 pandemic months, in comparison with the Second World War where 70,000 people lost their lives on the British mainland over 5 years.

Thats it

Lockdown week 32

Nearly the end of November

Congregate for Culture

No real cultural congregation this week. It looks like there will be no open galleries until xmas, when they are traditionally closed. However this week has offered three online visual art interactions: View, Participate and Contribute.

VIEW: Royal Drawing school webinar with Bharti Kher and Subodh Gupta showing, sharing and describing their sculptural works from their New Delhi bases. Introduced by Catherine Goodman. The artwork shown is by Bharti: The skin speaks a language not its own. 2006.

PARTICIPATE: DRAW NORTH – Drawing with zoom participants in the room each is occupying. Begin facing North, then swivel 90 degrees to East, and South then West and draw each view superimposed on the last. Hosted by Drawing is Free, Trinity Buoy Wharf at Duncan of Jordanstone , University of Dundee.

CONTRIBUTE: A ten minute presentation on experiences of peer review of a recent journal article submission. A webinar of the ME University Cluster Research group based at Birmingham School of Art, but open to all researchers.

academic activity

Moseley School of Art at Moseley Community Hub

As the days draw to a close more and more quickly, research continues in the Moseley School of Art studio into the making of serigraphic film positives. Having ‘mullered’ a sheet of perspex with carborundum grit the process of drawing on a new and untested surface has begun.

There are unexpected bright circles from the mullering. They could be stars. They could be an overall pattern for the portrait. Drawing on this rigid surface is noiser! The pencil stick resonates with sounds against the hard textured perspex. There is a physical substantiality and robustness, even ‘scratchyness’ to it that is more than on the flexible drafting film. Drawing was very tentative as erasing graphite looked to be difficult, and might be impossible as a test had resulted in the graphite being spread into a dense mark rather than being erased. Cross hatching is too harsh, leaving lines rather than shades on the surface.  A new methodology was employed: letting the pencil lie on the surface then moving it without any downward pressure, to allow graded build ups of impressions on the surface. Using 9 and 2b sticks more circular motions rather than horizontal, vertical or angled were applied.  I am not as confident in laying down delicate marks.  Heavy gestural marks (hair, clothes, shadows) are made with much more confidence on the surface. Skin, face, hands demand a slow build-up of graphite with regular returns to the emerging drawing to add with confidence across the highlights. Having to watch where leaning as graphite will be removed with the slightest unplanned engagement of heel of hand or cardboard leaning support on the surface. A delicate ‘swish away’ of excess bits of graphite with cloth takes away top layers of lead leaving dense backgrounds to contrast with hair and circles.

I decided to try rubbing lead shavings into the left surround. On exposure and printing this will provide contrasting markings. Rubbing the shaving is reminiscent of the mullering with grit. 

Transport to the print room will have to done delicately.


2h to 10b

Graphite pencils are running low, especially the softer leads that are sharpened more frequently. Researching suppliers a new brand was ordered from Czech manufacturers who have an esteemed history: ‘A number of significant innovations in the field of writing instruments comes from the KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH factory. For example, the production of graphite and clay pencil lead, patented as early as 1802, the principle of machine-made pencils or division of graphite pencils into individual grades 8B-10H, according to the hardness of the lead.’

10 x 8b. Real treat.


Lest we forget

September 17th. Digbeth, Birmingham UK
SEVEN times world champion, soon to be Sir Lewis Hamilton.

Covid App update

Fourth ONS Test Survey result: ‘Negative’.

There is a constant anxiety around Coronavirus and whether the sniffle, cough or tiredness is a sign of contracting it, so the Negative result is a relief. It is also positive to contribute to the data gathering to inform policies – we hope.

Thats it

Lockdown week 31

2nd week of 2nd lockdown

Congregate for Culture

October saw a positive series of openings of Art galleries , Museums and even Theatres like the Birmingham Hippodrome creating reuse possibilities of their stages.( Van Gogh) Audiences ventured out of their lockdown safe cells to take in cultural offerings across the country. The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery opened the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition as well as upper galleries, shop and Edwardian Tea Room to socially distanced safe viewing. Visitors came in numbers to enjoy culture.

Generations, before Lockdown 2. BMAG. October 2020. Digital Drawing November 2020

Sadly we are back in lockdown and cannot enjoy what is on offer. Perhaps the lockdown will be relaxed before Christmas and we can all congregate for culture.

academic activity

Writing continues with Pandemic aesthetics analysis and final corrections on a paper entitled DRAWING ED RUSCHA. Practice research continues between the studio in Moseley School of Art and the Print room in Birmingham School of Art and taking exciting new turns into the making of serigraphic film positives. With support from academic and technical staff investigations are broadening surface horizons for serigraphic drawing. The first portrait using a sanded surface has been taken another step forward into a unique ink image. A sweep with a small squeegee charged with gold ink on to a sheet of white cartridge paper is left to dry for two weeks. The ink hardened into surfaces that may be printed upon, even though the sweep’s edges stood proud from the paper. By positioning the gold arc under the silk screen the resultant print reflects the trajectory of the thumb of the subject. The illumination is intriguing. Under the dark ink the gold glows through, while on the white paper it moves between flat, bright, reflective gold to congealed reverse embossed ink, indicating the three dimensional quality of the action that has created it. The reverse emboss created a sweeping ridge that has taken the ink at a height giving a dark curve, with a secondary shadow glow.

Sanded, Scratched, Drawn and Printed on a Gold Sweep of ink.

The portrait has been shared with the unwitting subject Rashid Campbell. In lockdown he is in quarantine returning from supporting Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The portrait was shared over WhatsApp and initial feedback is very positive and we look forward to meeting n December 3rd to share the physical portrait.

Lest we forget

September 17th. Digbeth, Birmingham UK

Covid App update

Fourth ONS Test Survey result: ‘Negative’.

There is a constant anxiety around Coronavirus and whether the sniffle, cough or tiredness is a sign of contracting it, so the Negative result is a relief. It is also positive to contribute to the data gathering to inform policies – we hope.

Thats it

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