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Corey Parker Sparks of light

January 13, 2020

Good day everyone. Today’s artist is Corey Parker (1976–2010) who was an young artist working in Cleveland, Ohio. He grew up in the rural farmlands of Michigan which has directly influenced his landscapes. Studying painting under George Pratt. We begin today with a few of his cityscapes.

I love their whispy, etheral feeling. A bit of a ghostly, early morning mistyness to them too.

Onto his landscapes. Painted with a beautiful understanding of someone who spent a lot of time appreciating the land and light.

I love his warm hues and soft shaddows.

This yellow, hazy sunset is a real favourite.

But it was these monotypes that initially caught my eye. Reminding me of a mix of Bob Wilvers work from the fifties and contemporary artist Jon Klassen.

I can just feel the snow and frost enveloping the ground, with beautiful glimpses of low setting sunshine.

Icy quiet and stillness within a vast landscape.

Quite breath taking !

I came across Corey’s work over at Eye Likey, thank you for the introduction. What do you think viewers ? Did it make you shiver with delight whilst drinking your cuppa today lol

Children’s Picturebooks Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles

January 6, 2020

Hello to one and all and welcome back to Fishink Blog. I trust you’ve all had a relaxing and rewarding festive season, have caught up with good friends and bad relations and eaten far too many mince pies and chocolates so now you feel you’re going to pop !! Don’t worry all will be well as this gentle step into the new year will help to iron out your troubles and hopefully make the transition less painful. : )

I’ve some fresh news for my 2020 postings, this week sees the second edition release of the publication ‘ Children’s Picturebooks ‘ by Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles, available from Lawrence King Publishing, and I’ve had a sneaky preview already, to be able to share these images with you.

For those of you, like myself who bought the 2012 version, this one has fresh and enlightening entries from the likes of Jon Klassen, Oliver Jeffers and a whole new chapter on the topic of Non-Fiction Books.

It begins with a brief history of the Picturebook and has chapters looking at the artists who design them, the children who read them and whether certain topics (love, sex and violence etc) are really suitable to introduce to a young reader. Including a whole 25 informative pages covering the publishing industry. With entries about books taking off the page and heading onto the stage and the screen.

Martin Salisbury is no stranger to Fishinkblog and is Professor of Illustration at Cambridge School of Art in Anglia Ruskin University.

Image result for martin salisbury books"

I’ve covered his ” 100 Great Children’s Picture Books ” here. There’s an interesting interview with him over on Abe Books…

Talking Dust Jackets: An Interview with Martin Salisbury

Children’s Picturebooks is fascinating reading and a must for anyone interested in either writing a book for children, a student or those who, like me, maybe a lover of children’s picturebooks, their history and beautiful illustrations. 200 pages. £29.99 Paperback. Available from Lawrence King Publishing. Grab your copy today.

New Brighton New Years day

January 2, 2020

Happy New Year everyone. We spent a lovely few hours on the beach at New Brighton yesterday, in the sunshine no less !

Memories of my childhood days of noisy ‘fun’ arcades and art deco buidlings.

At the end of the seafront you can find Victoria Road which many years ago used to look like this. It was a bustling road full of cinemas, bars, tea-rooms and hotels to cater for New Brighton’s busy tourist trade.

It was a busy thriving area.

When I was young the area used to look more like this. Unfortunately in the late eighties and up until recently the area fell into demise and became a virtual ghost town. Closed down / disused shops and businesses, really quite sad.

So it was a wonderful surprise to see the start of the redevelopment of the Victoria Quarter (read more here) and view the colourful murals that have gone up already.

My dad remembers the one legged diver (Peggy Gadsby) that used to stand on the Wallasey Pier and dive for pennies, presumably for a fee in order to make a living. Another local resident recalls…”He was a daring, one-legged man who made death-defying dives from the height of New Brighton pier into the murky waters of the Mersey. He timed his spectacular plunges with the arrival of the ferry-boat full of trippers, and his wife collected pennies from them by means of a bag on a long stick. She would cry, ‘Come on now. Don’t forget the diver. Every penny makes the water warmer,’ and, ‘If you don’t put a penny in the bag, it’ll rain before you go home tonight.’ After each dive he had to climb back up a narrow, iron companion ladder, no mean feat with one leg! “. Great to see him remembered here.

Banksy-esque and illuminating.

Hope you had a great start to your year, so long 2019, I’m afraid you won’t be missed. Welcome instead to the new ‘roaring twenties’ lol

Fishink Christmas 2019

December 24, 2019

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Hello everyone, and welcome. You’ve found me at the final Fishink post for the year : ( but don’t be glum, because there’s plenty to see : )

I’ve used some of these images before but to be honest when I was assembling ideas for the christmas blog, I couldn’t find much that rivalled what I already had. So I just added more to it to make a soooper bumper post !

I have enjoyed us travelling together throughout the year and thank you for keeping me company with your thoughts and comments. It’s been a particularly gloomy year politically here in the UK and even though I try not to bring politics into my art life it does drip, drip, drip into my conscious and subconscious thoughts. Let’s hope we can find a better direction, sometime soon.

I’d like to also say a big H E L L O  to all the people who have ‘schnook-in the Fishink Blog backdoor’ and are now fully signed up, (albeit silent), members of the online community. Yes, that means YOU and that lady at the back with the big hair and fifties spectacles ! lol.  Welcome one and all, and did you know this blog now has over 1000 email followers who receive my posts every time they are unleashed into the creative ether ! Keep spreading the word to your friends and followers and together we can turn Fishink Blog into a worldwide creative community.

Have a fab, safe and restful holiday and I look forward to catching up with you all again in early 2020.

We start off with a few illustrations with Santa Claus.  Did you know that he used to be depicted in green clothing and viewed more as a pagan figure ? and it’s influences like Coca Cola from the 1920’s and 30’s that helped turn his clothes red as we know them today.

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I’m loving the Beatle Bauble ! Yeah yeah yeah !

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Santa on a moped and in a flying bus, I wonder if J.K Rowling had seen these books before Harry Potter ?

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A lovely vintage Radio Times cover here.

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A few snowy themed book covers too.

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Then thinking about christmas stamps.

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A couple of sixties artists I discovered recently.

Baubles and decorations.

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Swish and stylish reindeers.

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Christmas trees and wrapping papers.

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A few gifts I’m sure you ladies wouldn’t ‘die for’.

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The same for you guys.

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Christmas advertising.

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Some rather dodgy looking christmas treats for your table from Jello, Bakeo and Dexo… Oh No !

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A little snow from the oriental shores.

And to bring us to a final more restful place. Martin and Alice Provensen and their beautiful version of the Twelve Days Of Christmas.

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Happy times to one and all and I’ll look forward to catching up in a few weeks. Thanks for all your regular comments and additions, they are REALLY appreciated and help to make Fishink Blog into more of a community too. Please do let me know your thoughts on the posts, the blog and if you have any ideas for featured artists, or work you’d like to share with us (that you feel would fit the Fishink criteria) then do drop me a line … craig at

If you’re missing Fishink Blog over the holidays do take a look through the back posts, I’m sure you’ll have missed one or two.

Which ones were you favourites of the year ?  Have a lovely restful break, be kind to your family and neighbours, and of course a ‘Merry Fishmas’ to everyone, see you in 2020. So it’s goodbye from me and it’s goodbye from Boo too : )

Christmas Boo

Robert Jefferson Ceramic Designer Part 2

December 23, 2019

robert jefferson

Welcome back to Part 2 of my post about the work of Robert Jefferson. You can find Part 1 here.

Robert had a great eye for nature and incorprated it into his work whenever he could.

I love the marks that create this seagull above. They add to the drama of the whole piece.

Wonderfully textured ‘Helios’ table lamps and sumptuously curvaceous tea and coffee pots.

His decorative eye was both clever and precise. Like much Poole tableware these dishes are surprisingly thin bodied and lightweight. The high biscuit firing temperature used (1150c), produced a semi-vitrified body which meant these pots could withstand domestic ovens.  Although, they were sold with a warning to avoid thermal shock. This “Oven to Tableware”, proved to be very popular.

As a textile designer, these mark-made vegetables and birds really caught my eye.

The shrimp are practically dancing on these dishes !

Robert was a great innovator: Introducing new technology to the factory and reinvigorating the Poole catalogue with new shapes and styles in keeping with a new decade.  As well as the pots below, he also designed the “Contour” tableware range and “Black Pebble” pattern shown in the Twintone Gallery,  together with Helios table lamps and other wares.   He left Poole Pottery in 1966, after he had reputedly “designed himself out of a job”. He went on to continue his painting career, giving exhibitions of his work and showing his extensive love of detail and nature.

I wonder if this was his decorative world merging with the real one ?

Below are some of the first wall plaques that Robert designed, these were hand decorated in the available studio glazes. The designs were ‘transferred to the production departments when greater output was required. These remain my favourite pieces of his work.

Launched as the 1964 ‘Spring Collection’ the plaques were then produced in the (much more common) standard colours of blue and green that you see below.

Other designs of plaques and dishes soon followed. See more about Poole Pottery and it’s production here.

My favourites are still the birds and I’d love to find a few for myself. I hope you’ve enjoyed this visit into Robert’s creative world.

Many thanks again to The Virtual Museum of Poole Pottery and Rob’s Poole Pottery for helping to make this post possible. Do let me know if you’ve found this post exciting, uplifting or have anything to add. I always enjoy hearing from you. My last post for 2019 will appear on Christmas Eve. Enjoy everyone.

Robert Jefferson Ceramic Designer Part 1

December 16, 2019

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Robert Jefferson was a former lecturer in Ceramics at Stoke-on-Trent College of Art. He joined Poole Pottery in 1958 as full-time resident designer (rather than a thrower) working on domestic ranges and oven-to-table ware alogside potter Guy Sydenham.

With the launching of Poole Pottery in 1921, Poole, Dorset, it was decided to make an experiment which has proved highly successful. This was the creation of pottery, both useful and ornamental, in a style which is both contemporary and also in the best traditions of potting.

Launched in October 1963, the so-called ‘Delphis Collection’ reproduced 75 or so vases designed by Robert Jefferson as a standard repeatable range. This allowed trade customers to place orders with a degree of certainty as to size, shape and price. Popular lines could be re-ordered from a catalogue. Although shapes were (to some degree) standardised, the colour, decoration, glazing and carving of each piece was unique.

The early Studio pieces were thrown by Guy Sydenham and decorated by both Tony Morris and Robert Jefferson.

After 1963 new patterns were added and there was a crossover of paintresses from other departments.

It must have been exciting times as there was much room for experimentation, mark making techniques and ideas were flowing.

Quite a variety of shapes and styles, in order to see which would catch the public’s eye and become popular.

There were few other potteries at the time producing studio pottery within a modern industrial environment in this way. (Rye and Denby too).

Robert later also worked for other compaies (like Purbeck) after he left Poole in 1966.

The use of the latest glazes and experimental techniques (such as wax-resist, see below) aided the development of new products and helped to preserve the unique identity of the Pottery. No doubt there was also perceived to be a niche market for highly individual works of art (the retail cost of one plate would be more than a weeks wages for the artist).

It’s Robert’s later work that I first encountered and that I was initially drawn to. Join me for Part 2 next week when I’ll show you more.

Many thanks to The Virtual Museum of Poole Pottery and Rob’s Poole Pottery for helping to make this post possible.

John Piper’s Brighton Aquatints and The Mainstone Press

December 9, 2019

John Piper was one of the leading artists of the 20th century Modern British Art Movement. He worked in the abstract, romantic and classical traditions as a painter, ceramicist, writer, designer and printmaker. Piper’s 1939 illustrations for the book ‘Brighton Aquatints’, have been credited with the revival of the aquatint as a 20th century print medium in Britain.

The book consists of twelve aquatints of Brighton.

Two hundred standard copies were printed and a further fifty-five copies were hand-coloured by the artist.

The prints were not signed, although Piper did sign and dedicate some copies of the book. Modern auction house sales have reached between £2000 and £8000 for rare or signed editions.

The illustrations were printed by the two Alexander brothers who had a basement workshop in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London.

The process of creating an aquatint involves exposing a plate, usually of copper or zinc, to acid through an applied layer of granulated, melted resin. The acid incises the plate between the granules creating areas of evenly pitted surface. This can be varied by applying additional resin, scraping and burnishing. Different strengths of acids are also employed. When the grains are removed and the plate is printed it results in variations of tone. The effect often resembles watercolours and wash drawings, hence the name Aquatint.

This YouTube video tells us more.

Issued in the first months of the Second World War, Brighton Aquatints with it’s luxurious limited edition of 250 copies, was both strangely inappropriate and perfectly on cue for its time.

To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the book, Norfolk publisher, The Mainstone Press, has released a new, updated edition with an extended Introduction by Alan Powers – the noted historian of graphic arts of the mid-century – to dig deeper into the story behind the book.

It’s a lovely volume, with over 100 pages detailing each of the prints and additional insights into the spirit of the late 1930’s as a remarkable period of transition.

If you would like to purchase this fabulous book you can do so here at The Mainstone Press. Another fascinating piece of history now available to own.