using the negative


Notes on the negative.

I Have been working in the studio preparing for the Parcours d’art Avignon this week, and making connections between things, the drawings the prints and the newer sprayed works. All deal with negatives and touch and it was not until I put up the work side by side that I could see that so clearly.

The photos that I have been using over the winter of the burnt wood always in retrospect are miss leading, as they fill in the gap between what I’ve just seen and the slowness of making the work in the studio……starting with a lot of information and reducing.  I am most pleased with Echo because it is so direct and it also has the feel that I wanted or a kind of claustrophobia or almost aquarium type feeling that the forrest has taken on in these last few months.


Difficult paths and dead ends

These are the latest Etchings . Originally from old postcards they have now become interconnected through the pathways across them – mirroring and turning into floating platforms impossible spaces through the landscape.  Ive just been reading Simon Schama’s landscape and memory and found Raffaele schiaminossi’s etchings of the sacred mountain of  St Francis of Assisi – with little flaps and frontispieces that open out …more ideas to work with. As usual im extending these spaces through double printing and chin collé. Not sure how these are going to feed into the main body of work but they have been great for me to really define my etching practice.

Dec 2018



working and Walking out

Its been an intensive period in the studio these last few months and i wanted to somehow record some of the dead ends that I go down to make work. Ive been walking every day and trying to record some of the the thoughts of things that i notice on those walks – often they are small things I notice, seemingly insignificant and yet they feel important enough to record in some way.


After the piece – Echo -shown in  Avignon Oct/Nov  I found a patch of enormous weeds ( flea bane ) they had gown in a cocooned space created by the forest fire of 2017 in a 20 meter square patch between burnt trees ( pine ) this seems to have protected them and they were at least 8ft tall – swaying gently with incredibly heavy heads which on examination were covered with greenfly and spiders. It gave a sensation of being a fish in a tank full of weeds wandering amongst them . I collected some and they have been sitting in my studio – 2 works have come out of it which are yet unresolved.  1 spayed piece similar to Echo leaving a trace of the touch behind – on black and white paper. 2. pigmented versions put through the press that resemble flocking and 3. Photographs of the roots which have gathered cobwebs.  At the time of writing this they have all stayed at this stage and so far i havent developed them further.

Pathways – Linked with this are the pathway etchings ive been doing. Similar to the weed experience I wanted to make small work on a grant scale – i came across a set of cliff walkways and this began this small series – at the same time perfecting my aquatinting techniques after Eliot Robinson came here for a week. The subtle changes in colour are something that interest me as well as the luminosity of the walk ways and the platform for viewing nature at a distance.


Bambouseraie Cévennes France


Divisé /  Chemin  /  Rétoure eternal


The main task was to make sculptures out of Bamboo that could last being outside for 7 months.  We drew up several simple forms that we wanted to place in the garden. We wanted to bring colour to this project as the overall aspect of the garden is intensely green and vertical we wanted to challenge and echo certain colour combinations within that.  I worked with Artist Susan Dallady over a period of 3 months on and off and we created three works that look at colour and light in different ways. Our idea was always to try and use the interior circular form within the bamboo and use the depths that are created when you cut it to play with the colour and light.

Divisé Situated in the dense and darkest part of the gardens this piece forms a cut cylinder 4 meters long and 70 cm in width. Again using red and saffron we wanted to challenge the vertical and suggest something more visceral- a kind of slicing open – situated under a giant magnolia tree this piece will also echo the red berries that will fall on it at the end of the summer.Rétoure eternal This sculpture is roughly 1×1 meter lashed bamboo with cut pieces inserted into each face painted Saffron and Red. Both these colours are important in Asian culture. We placed this sculpture in the formal Japanese garden, where it can be seen from a distance. Its colours echo the red gate behind and the yellow bamboo close by forming a kind of full stop within the garden. The intensity and depths of the colour within this sculpture change with the light during the day.Chemin This piece is composed of 450 cut and coloured sections of bamboo replaced back into the forest.  The colours form the lightest part of the spectrum from pale yellow to Violet. As the light changes throughout the day different parts of the circle are illuminated and the colour intensity changes and floats forward. The colours are glimpsed through the forest. 

Gardens open to the public
April – November 
everyday 10 – 6
Bambouseraie de Prafrance

Victoria Arney & Susan Dalladay



Residency- some etching techniques

copper plates blocking out ready to aquatint
copper plates blocking out ready to aquatint
aquatinting foreground
aquatinting foreground
after equating washed off ready to proof print
after equating washed off ready to proof print
first print
first print

Larger Zinc Plates

zinc plate before soap ground with blocked out area
zinc plate before soap ground with blocked out area
using soap ground on large zinc plate of carrier
using soap ground on large zinc plate of carrier
blocking out carrier print to spit bit
blocking out carrier print to spit bit
first proof
first proof

Day 1,2 and 3 of Residency at the Maison de Gravure / Montpellier

working on Songs of Nature series and Carrier ideas . These are all fairly small 29 x39 cm zinc plates na d 20x 25cm copper plates. The copper I have really enjoyed using – much more responsive to the delicate drawing – on both i have experimented with white soap ground on short bit times to try and get a meter more diverse aquatint. This week also i went out drawing directly onto the plates by the waterfalls in the gard – near Ganges. Whilst there I had a meeting with an otter – who came right up to me to check me out – it was actually snowing but you cant see that in the pictures.

IMG_1986 (2)IMG_1960

week 2 and 3

Worked on small Copper plates – partly exploring techniques with soap and the idea of empty shacks/ tree houses. working on copper was so much better than Zinc, the line much more sensitive. All aquatints were using Edinburough etch rather than Nitric – which I would have preferred, but was not an option for me at the Atelier here.

IMG_5398 IMG_5399  IMG_5402


Week 4 and 5

After drawing at the waterfalls near Gange a few weeks before I wanted to continue with a zinc etching for the Songs of Nature series (using Braille holes). I made 3 plates but only one was really any good . Based on a fish trap that I saw in the river. I printed it in black on paper with gradating colours . In the end I used Blue / black and double printed .

IMG_5428  IMG_5420 First print 30 x 40 cm

week 5 and 6

Began work on the large plate. The disused Greenhouse and farm up the road is going to be a constant source of inspiration for me this summer.  What interested me initially is the idea of the outside being inside this fragile structure. I wanted to somehow experiment with this structure in print – using predominantly a linear approach.

Drawing up the large zinc plate was very time consumming – through the hard ground. It took all day to get it right. I left the hard ground with its faults – which I wanted to become part of the etching and I knew the acid would bit through.  Again colour needed to become part of this piece and as I had just worked on 2 large drawings for Bearspace Gallery in London i decided to use gradated pre coloured paper – rather than my chin colle gradated paper.

IMG_5430first etched linesIMG_5463after aquatinting the windows and doorIMG_5462 painting our for aquatinting the foliage.

_MG_2136Finished piece after double printing.

_MG_2144 Blue Edition

Last week of Residency

working on etching a smaller version of Greenhouse plate and a new version of Greenhouse, Havent yet worked out how it will be shown.

IMG_5517   IMG_5520


plates with soap before aquatint and sugar lift for foreground and first print.


Chin collé workshop 2017

Chine Collé workshop

chine collé workshop

Image 30-01-17 at 09.11 We used Akua Inks on ply – Kozo Paper and Gampi and Dry point.IMG_6678 Image 30-01-17 at 09.11 IMG_6691 Image 30-01-17 at 12.36 (2) Image 30-01-17 at 12.37 IMG_6692 IMG_6682 IMG_6681 IMG_6690 IMG_6680 My first workshop in French ! had a few problems with explaining over and under ! great class we worked on wood and kozo papers first then when dry cut and used rice glue to put the papers through the press for chine collé. Everyone was very excited with the technique.    Photos at the Maison de Gravure Montpellier. IMG_6677


woodcuts in the studio

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Not a wasteland

Not a Wasteland – Suface Exhibition – Crypt Gallery London 2011

This piece was made in relation to the space of the Crypt In London Euston – Originally a Catacomb the remains were removed – the title a line form a poem  alludes to the notion of inversion – life still existing underneath, a shadow life. the suspended light cast slim shadows and flickered the cut lines. This piece was later recut and used for another exhibition – The Day Remains.

IMG_3854 IMG_3838



Recent drawings done in the botanical garden at Montpellier.

_MG_1799 (1)_MG_1831These were done at the same time as the Greenhouse prints 2016


Serre I, II


Made in residence at the Maison de Gravure Montpellier. France.

Each etching is over printed on coloured paper and the plate moved. 105 x 56 cm