Recently Friends had the rare opportunity to see a selection of E Mervyn Taylor’s prints, drawings and water colours, that were on display at Solander Gallery in Willis Street.

Many of the drawings showed Taylor’s wonderful artistic ability to capture form and line on paper. It was intriguing to explore the drawings, many of which were precursors to the figures in his woodblock prints.  Taylor’s skills learnt as a jewellery engraver were evident in his fine details and his ability to give depth to a very small design.

Tony Mackle explained the complexities of producing a woodblock print, from imagining a concept and capturing that in a drawing, carving the image on a tiny block of boxwood (end grain) and then finally hand-printing his exquisite woodcuts.

To create the images, the tiny blocks of boxwood had to be carved without error. One mistake could completely ruin hours of work.  As gallery owner Vincent explained, it is best to carve the most difficult area first before working on the background.  Vincent also treated us to a demonstration of woodblock printing, using a teaspoon as Mervyn often did to publish his limited series of prints.

It was a special treat for many of us to see again the exquisite and detailed drawings that we were familiar with from the School Journals of our childhood.

The exhibition will be on until 1 July, so do go and see it soon. Paulette and Vincent also have a selection of cards featuring Taylor’s work.