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Night visions

I love the dramatic lighting of nocturnal city scapes with muted colour and street lamps producing strong contrasts. These constraints help me focus on what, for me, are the deal-breaking aspects of making a good picture: tone and composition.

Nocturnes Nos. 2 & 3

The owner of this house saw me taking the photo and got so worried he went inside and turned off the lights! The original print, No.2, is much darker and has fewer mid tones. I made No.3 from the ghost plate and, after significant modification, produced a print with a much greater tonal range. I used an old sock to wipe the original but changed to brushes for the second. I think I'll be using brushes more often in the future because they give much more control.

Nocturne No.1

Realising how much night scenes lend themselves to the dark field monotype medium, I thought I'd start a series on that theme. I just happened to be listening to a nocturne by Chopin when thinking of a possible title and reckoned that if Nocturne number 1, 2, 3 etc was good enough for him, then it would be good enough for me. According to the dictionary, a nocturne is "a work of art dealing with evening or night especially a dreamy pensive composition" so I think that suits quite nicely.

Monotype, 37 x 49cm, Akua ink on Hahnemuhle paper
'Nocturne No.1', monotype, 37cm x 49cm, Hahnemuhle paper (2021)

Below are three photos of the Nocturne No1 plate in progress. I was a bit disappointed that some of my mid tones didn't survive in the end but was pleased, nonetheless, with the print.

Early nocturnes

Nocturnal scenes featured in several of my early artworks, more by accident than by design.

'Irish Moonlight', etching & aquatint, 7cm x 25cm, Charbonell ink, Hahnemuhle paper, (2001)

'Venetian Moonlight', etching & aquatint, 10cm x 20cm, Carbonell ink, Hahnemuhle paper, (2001).

'Night Sentries', etching & aquatint, 25cm x 15cm, Carbonell ink, Hahnemuhle paper, (2002).


There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. (Revelation 22:5)


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