Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Wednesday, 26th September, 2007
THIS LINOCUT is of a Cambridge Blue Comet goldfish which I kept in the 1970s a tank that I'd originally bought when I was painting my first commission - an 8ft x 4ft acrylic on hardboard painting of a local pond. I painted everything lifesize, from kingfisher and moorhen down to water beetles and sticklebacks.
The painting is now in a private collection in a country house that once belonged to the naturalist Miriam Rothschild (1908 - 2005) who did much of her work on fleas and parasites there.
I like drawing the tools of the trade. It's years since I've used the lino-cutters, rollers and ink and I was surprised to find the small oilstone (right: bottom right) wrapped in a brown paper bag in the drawer with them. I don't remember buying it, possibly it was when I tried wood engraving when I was a student at Leeds. In wood engraving you work on the end grain of a hardwood such as box or pear so you need to keep sharpening the fine cutting tools.
I mounted the goldfish on a wooden block (right: top left) so that I can print it as you would a rubber stamp.