2020 became Red and then even Redder

Posted on October 13, 2020

2020 promised so much – A new decade, an exciting date. But no one predicted what 2020 had in store. 2020 is Red and became Redder: I spent Lockdown in my garden: in March wearing woolly hat and waterproofs clearing out the garden pond. As the days warmed, I sat by the pond watching the goldfish, frogs, water beetles and dragonflies, and planted ‘Open Arms’, a pink rambling rose on what would have been my Mother’s 100 birthday.

I grew beetroots, radishes, chilli peppers, pumpkins, and 4 varieties of tomatoes from seed. Watermelons entwined themselves around all other plants in the greenhouse. Brussel sprouts are growing in window boxes, and French beans climbed up javelin poles.

Deborah Treliving gardener and printmaker in artist's studio.

Portrait of Printmaker with red beret and still life: Lockdown harvest

We worked our way through the freezer. Last year’s tayberries and blackberries made mousses, pies, and crumbles in hues of cerise through crimson to burgundy. With a glut of onions, I made red onion chutney. I have frozen this year’s surplus red tayberries and blackberries for Winter treats.

The colour red gives me a sense of inner warmth, confidence, stability, security, and spontaneity. Red is associated with strong emotions of love, confidence, courage, energy, passion, and warmth but also anger, strength and power: a range of emotions which we all may have felt during 2020.

Detail of monoprint "2020 is Red" oil based inks on Somerset paper

“2020 is Red” detail, Monoprint

Detail of monoprint "2020 is Redder" oil based inks on Somerset paper

“2020 is Redder” detail, Monoprint

“2020 is Red” and “2020 is Redder” are both Monoprints printed with layers of differing hues of transparent magenta, red, and crimson printed on Somerset paper with oil-based printing inks, using a textured plate, and a Perspex plate with paper stencils. The first colour printed for “2020 is Redder” was a transparent yellow. Traces of the yellow are retained on the deckle edges on the left of the print. Subsequent printings of transparent red hues over the yellow made the red redder. Note the matt quality of horizontal subtle band on the golden mean.

I was very pleased that both my prints were selected for the Devon Guild of Craftsmen’s 2020 exhibition, and was honoured to be awarded the Selection Committee’s prestigious prize for Excellence. To visit: the exhibition by Devon Guild members is open to the public Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11-5 p.m. until 1st November 2020.

Each print is on Somerset paper size 65 x 57cms. Titled, Numbered 1/1 and signed on the reverse. Price £495 unframed. Available from the Devon Guild of Craftsmen www.crafts.org.uk For framing I advise float mounting using acid-free mountboard and museum quality anti-reflective glass.

Award for Excellence 2020 exhibition Devon Guild of Craftsmen

Deborah Treliving with “2020 is Red” and “2020 is Redder” prize winning monoprints in the 2020 exhibition at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen




Snowdrops (Galanthus)

Posted on January 26, 2018

Snowdrops (Galanthus) in a silver 19th century pepper pot, original monotype by Deborah Treliving on Fabriano paper 2017

Snowdrops (Galanthus)

A great joy of January in England is to spot the first snowdrops (Galanthus) of the new year.  The early ones in my garden have larger leaves and flowers than those which follow later in the month and into February. Each year I choose three and place them in a 19th century silver pepper pot, an heirloom from the Law family. It’s a perfect relationship; the fresh soft green of the stems the creamy white petals and the fine engraved silver is an elegance that I have tried to portray in my monotypes.

In my garden the smaller snowdrops are now emerging and the buds beginning to show. I have thousands of these and each year after flowering, but while the leaves are still green, I will split and transplant the denser clumps so that over the years I have created drifts of galanthus around our garden. The original clump came from my childhood home and they continue to inspire and cheer even the dullest February day.

Monotypes are the most painterly of the printmaking processes. My technique is to draw into the oil based ink on a Perspex plate so removing the ink with my fingers, rags and cotton buds to create the form and subtle tones of the snowdrops. I transfer the image from the plate to Fabriano paper on my etching press. Only one print is possible from each drawn image, so each one is unique.  Then I clean the plate, re-ink it and redraw to create another image.

The original snowdrop monotypes are now available from the Brook Gallery at Budleigh Salterton. Contact details:


+44 (0)1395 443003



Exhibition: Print the Modern Garden: the artist gardener

Posted on August 29, 2017

The poster for the exhibition of my latest monotypes now showing at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Bovey Tracey, Devonshire, TQ13 9AF open daily 10 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. until 9th October 2017 

My latest exhibition at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen is of my monotypes and references me as an artist and gardener.

My first gardening memories are of helping my grandfather water his garden. He grew beautiful phlox and had borders neatly lined with thrift, and dug weeds out of his lawn by hand. My parents gave me a section of garden and I spent hours tending the plants and transplanting them fascinated by the juxtaposition of colours and forms in nature. I created order and pattern in my planting where nature sought disorder. From an early age favourites developed: the happy faces of violas and pansies, the delicacy of snowdrops, the brilliance of poppies, the enormous scale of hollyhocks and sunflowers. I grew annuals from seed and learnt how to propagate from cuttings.

Visiting great and famous gardens is always a joy, a source of ideas and inspiration for my own garden. Visiting national galleries and special exhibitions is equally imperative for inspiration for my art work. The Royal Academy’s curators of the exhibition “Painting the Modern Garden, Monet to Matisse” selected artists who were keen gardeners and this helped form my ideas for this exhibition.

My passion for gardens and gardening runs parallel with my passion for painting and printing, for colour and texture. The prints in this exhibition are monotypes, developed from studies in my sketchbooks of grand gardens and developed into my own secret garden.

The freedom allowed in the monotype technique gives scope for freehand drawing and was a process used by Degas in his drawings of ballet dancers, which he worked upon with pastel. Many of my monotypes have 3 or 4 printed colours in oil based printing ink and some have added hand colouring with pastel or oil paint. They are printed by hand using a Japanese baren on Fabriano paper.





Read More