Affordable Art Fair, Bristol 9th – 11th September, 2016

Obsidian Art will be showing work at the Affordable Art Fair in Bristol this year and I am fortunate to one of seven artists selected for the stand.  My work has been vetted and thankfully accepted by the Affordable Art Fair selection process.  More details later – let me know if you would like an invite to the Private View (of the whole exhibition) on the evening of 8th September.Derelict Boat, Norfolk b


Exhibition at Smith and Kittle

I am delighted to be showing some of my work alongside other artists in the fabulous wall space available at the new upmarket coffee shop in Beaconsfield opposite Waitrose.  Originally I had three framed works but one of these, Allium, has sold and there are now two additional works alongside the other two.  Thanks to Jenny Roberts and Smith and Kittle for organising the exhibition.

Breakfast 1972

High Street – a new painting

My latest painting is at last complete.  It has taken ages.   Based on another idea I had over forty years ago but this time I have completely started from scratch.  It is in acrylics and acrylic ink on sized cotton rag paper.  It works well for what I want especially in drawing fine lines with pen but I think I will try additional sizing next time to make it less porous.

Bucks Open Studios 2016

Breakfast 1972

Directory image for BOS 2106 – ‘Breakfast 1972″ (2016 Bob Marshall)

Entries for this year’s BOS will be closing at the end of January.

As well as my alternative process and darkroom prints, this year I hope to show some more pinhole camera pictures, hand tinted photos and also my renewed steps into painting.    Here is my  image for this year’s directory.  It is titled “‘Britain Faces Influx ……’, Breakfast, 1972”.  The story behind it is a bit involved but in essence I spent a few happy months exploring painting during 1972 whilst waiting to start a new job.  It ended up with the first version of this picture which disappeared years ago.  Fortunately I had kept a copy on slide film which had nevertheless deteriorated rather badly (it was mounted in glass and went mouldy).  This new version which I have only  just completed in acrylic is expanded from the original.  I was going to update it to make a contemporary picture (mobile phones etc) but realised that the 1972 newspaper headline ‘Britain Faces Influx of 80000 Asians’ held a certain current relevance of the plus ca change type.  Also if the truth be known I liked the nostalgia of the old rice krispies packet not to mention the retro styling of The Guardian.  The whole thing came about as I was exploring Op art and Vasarely and was looking for something to do with it.  Now I am looking for a Vietnamese Boat people headline from the early 1980s to include in a new painting.

New Large Wall Hangings

After the awful earthquakes in Nepal, I have been going through my Nepal images and wondering what has become of the people in them.  I then took one of my favourite images of two sisters in a village on the Annapurna trail and made it into a 1 metre square wall hanging.  The image is split into nine sections and each one is made up of about 2000 smaller copies of the same image which gives the whole a sort of veiled effect.  Each of the nine sections is a darkroom silver print which has then been toned in sepia and selenium and the sections float mounted above a piece of black xpvc which is an excellent lightweight but strong backing.  This piece is now the focus for my Bucks Open Studios exhibition.  All income will go towards funds to build a new school in one of the many affected villages.
Sisters, nr Ghasa, Nepal

Having done this I have now completed a second larger wall hanging based on my ‘Angkor Thom’ image.  This one is constructed from around 2500 different images (some are repeated) from our journey through IndoChina last year.  Again each of the nine panels is a toned darkroom silver print.IndoChina_Angkor_a



Bucks Open Studios Aylesbury Museum Fanfare

The Aylesbury Fanfare exhibition in the County Museum will be is installed next week.  It looks very good and worth a visit if you are in the area.  We hope it encourages more visitors to come round during the BOS fortnight.  It will have 130 exhibitors to give a good cross section of what is on offer.Fanfare exhibition 2015

“Through the Glass” Exhibition at Upstairs Gallery

TTG leaflet

My next exhibition in conjunction with three other photographers and six glass workers runs from 6 May to 30 May, 2015 in the Upstairs Gallery, Berkhamsted.  This is a lovely small gallery above the Post Office in the High Street.  Private View (private although everyone is welcome to come!)  is on 7 May from 6.00pm to 8.00pm.   More details when I get the publicity leaflet. I will be showing original Van Dyke Brown and Cyanotype prints.

Epson Printer Driver for Pro 4800 printer using a Mac

This is a bit of a technical post but it is a summary of my difficulties getting full control over my printer when I changed to a MacBook Pro a year ago.  The problem was that I could not set custom sizes.  Nothing seemed to work.  Also I could see no way of changing the paper feed – specifically roll feed v sheet feed.  The only way I could manage it was by choosing a specific paper size from the supplied presets.  I finally found the answer which of course is blindingly obvious and in fact the Epson Mac driver is actually great to use.  The reason all this was important to me was because I use roll transparency film to make my negatives for alternative and traditional process.

Anyway the short answer is that from the pull down list of paper sizes, choose manage custom settings. This gives a baffling screen of greyed out paper dimensions which you can’t alter …… until you click on the ‘+’ sign.  This adds a paper size initially called ‘Untitled’ which you can retitle.  Then, hey presto, you can change the dimensions to what you want.  But what about the paper feed?  Well, it turns out that once you have set a custom size you can then change the paper feed.

This is the long answer:

Assume you want to print a panorama 40cm x 100cm. This is for Photoshop. I imagine Lightroom is much the same.

Get the print ready and correctly sized. Best to rotate imho so that it is the correct orientation for the printer. Load roll paper.

1. File>Print
2. Set colour management options
3. >Print settings
4. Ignore preset at the moment or put to default settings
5. Paper size>Manage Custom Settings
6. Now (and for me this was the trick) the paper sizes may all be greyed out. If so, click on ‘+’ on the LHS lower down. Miraculously all the paper sizes can now be entered. In my example enter here 40cm and 100cm for length and width. ‘Non-printable area’ seems to refer to margins. Just select the printer name – Epson 4800 – from the pull down list and the margins all change or change them to what you want.
7. At this point, and this is brilliant, you can click on ‘+’ again and set up another custom size and so on. Initially it will be called ‘Untitled’ but you can retitle it by clicking on it. I will call my example ‘Panorama’
8. When done creating custom sizes (and you can always come back to this) click OK
9. This brings you back to the print settings dialogue. Under paper size you can now find the name of your new custom sizes which will be ‘untitled’, ‘untitled1’ etc unless you have renamed them. Choose the custom size you want so I will choose ‘panorama’.
10. The next box down initially has ‘Layout’. Click on this and select ‘Print Settings’ from the pull down list.
11. The first box in the print settings dialogue gives you (finally -whoopee!) the paper feed options such as roll paper. For my panorama I will select roll paper.
12. The remaining options you chooses as normal – fine detail, advanced colour, etc
13. When everything is as you want it then, before you do anything else, click on the presets tab – straight to save new preset. Give it a title – say ‘Panorama – PJOyster’ – and save.
14. Done! Press print and the panorama will be printed.
15. Whenever you want these settings then just choose the preset. The idea is that you put in a bit of initial effort to create a list of presets and then it all becomes much easier.

The above is a lot of words but actually it is all very easy and is a very nice interface. I take back all my bad words about the printer driver. I just wish Epson’s instructions had been clearer in the first place.





Once a Teacher, Always a Teacher!

When we reached Samagaon, we spent a ‘rest dThe Teacher!ay’ here for acclimatisation.   Ann and I stumbled across these young novice monks in their school and Ann couldn’t resist getting involved!  Their English was remarkably good even the younger ones and apparently this monastery is part of a project in which volunteers visit from time to time to give English practice.