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Cnoc Lios Uachtair

Cnoc Lios Uachtair, County Galway

Secreted within soft grasses writhe and twist the limb-like knots and burls – part scaled, part burnished -of banzai furze and wind-thrashed heather. A treacherous terrain of ankle-snapping holes and rifts to the underworld. You’re somewhere out amongst the Maamturks in Co. Galway. In a moment the vision of Cnoc Lios Uachtair yaws above the tree line with a voluminous laughter of fluffy clouds racing up its back and leaping off into the blue above. With batteries flat on the camera all I had was a mental snap-shot to bring the vision back home and squeeze out the end of a pencil for the initial sketch…

Carving the mountain: process

When the lines get tight a little v-gouge and a craft knife with tiny blades are essential.

Carving the mountain; final

Consistency of the ink is important – apparently you can get a good idea by the sound made by the brayer as it pulls back on the ink. My mind’s ear strains for the moment I hear the sound of innumerable tiny suckers from long tentacles clumsily grappled at in vain from the face-plate of a diver’s helmet by tiring arms somewhere deep down in the ocean’s abyssal depths.

Roll up, roll up

The whole process is physical – here’s the wooden spoon barren jig.

Working the wooden spoon

Proofs pulled for inspection.

Hot off the press, "Cnoc Lios Uachtair", linocut print

Cnoc Lios Uachtair; Linocut print