Chilly!

23 Sep

drawing 1

Had such a lovely evening, doing life drawing at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea. The event is part of the Now The Hero / Nawr Yr Arwr arts festival happening over the coming week. There was a large group of artists and five life models and we started out in the ‘Graft’ garden, with three short poses from the brave and dedicated models who must have been freezing. It was only 6pm and it’s been sunny all day, but there was a bit of a chill even fully clothed ……

Then we went into the Waterfront Museum, which stayed open late, and worked through til quarter past eight, drawing, drawing, drawing. This is the first pose, just 2 minutes. Short poses really make you focus on quickly capturing the essence of the subject, not the detail and I think they are more lively and dynamic than the longer poses.

I used three conté crayons in white, sanguine and black into an A4 spiral bound brown paper sketchbook from Seawhite’s of Brighton.

 

23 Sep

I love this blog. Great recipes, interesting folklore and a lovely way to mark the seasons.

https://gathervictoria.com/2018/09/22/crabapple-rosemary-hand-pies-ancestral-offerings-for-mabon/

Warm Spiced Apple Cake

22 Sep
SPW John Abell

‘Diary Of A Dead Officer’, a collection of lino prints by John Abell and a hand printed book published by Old Stile Press.

 

There’s a lovely exhibition of contemporary printmaking at Swansea Print Workshop this week (until September 29th) and if you fancy popping in to see it tomorrow afternoon (Sunday 22nd), I’ll be show sitting (which is a much nicer way of saying invigilation IMHO) from 1.30 – 4.30. If you haven’t been to the print workshop before, I’ll be happy to show you round our remarkable collection of antique and modern printing presses as well as the lovely exhibition. And there will be tea and coffee and warm spiced apple cake. How can you resist?

“NOW THE PRINTMAKERS”, SWANSEA PRINT WORKSHOP, 19A CLARENCE STREET, SWANSEA. EXHIBITION RUNS SEPTEMBER 22ND TO 29TH (except Monday 24th), 10.30 – 4.30.

I Exploded A Flag

20 Sep

exploded flag 1b

I’ve settled into my new elysium studio which I have until mid-October because I’m the artist-in-residence for the Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero art festival. I’m working on a new commission but I can’t say much about it just yet. I exploded a flag. It was harder than I thought it would be. I like the look of it.

Art, Cake, Cake, Art

19 Sep

 

Invite Now The Printmakers a

 

Such a lot happening over the next week or so in Swansea and it all kicks off this Friday with the opening of the exhibition, “Now The Printmakers” at 5.30 pm at Swansea Print Workshop. Inspired by the work of Frank Brangwyn and Kathe Kollwitz, the show focusses on the work of three contemporary print artists – John Abell, Andrew Baldwin and yours truly as well as a group show of a dozen or so of our artist members. I’ll be there at 5.30 – with lashings of cake – but within the hour I’ve got to shoot across the city centre to the start of my Open Studio event at Volcano, also with lashings of cake…..

 

Invite Here Be Dragons a

And there are other exhibitions opening across the city that night – at Mission Gallery, Galerie Simpson and the Glynn Vivian, with the opening times staggered so art lovers can get around and see lots of them. It’s all leading up to next weeks major international art festival, “Now The Hero / Nawr Yr Arwr”, but more about that tomorrow……

If you’re out and about in Swansea on Friday 21st September, please pop in to one or more of the venues and get yourself some art and cake. There will be bara brith, banana cake, spiced apple cake and Victoria Sandwich……

bara brith 2

Traditional home-made bara brith

 

 

 

 

Remember Greenham 2

18 Sep

A fabulous drawing blog from Patricia McKenna Jones https://wp.me/p3ci8e-dE

Like Chalk And Cheese

17 Sep

I went to a weekend etching course at Trefeglwys Print Studio the weekend before last with two other printmakers – one of whom was Husb. He did some beautiful work but looking at what we produced emphasised that we’re like chalk and cheese. Here’s Husb’s beautifully modulated head of a child, burnished into a copper mezzotint plate, and my bonkers Mari Lwyd, an ancient Welsh traditional life-size puppet with a horse’s skull. Vive le Difference 😀

baby

 

mari mezzo plate

 

Mad Mari: The First Proof

16 Sep

first proof

In the last half hour or so of Andrew Baldwin’s weekend etching workshop at Trefeglwys Print Studio, I did a first proof print (on the left) of my coffee lift / spit bite aluminium etching plate, using Charbonnel black ink onto soaked Hahnemulle paper. I’m really pleased with it. It’s completely different to the faux mezzotint Mari Lwyd that I did on the first day (below). Same subject but a completely different interpretation. I like them both.

double drop 1

 

 

Spit And Splatter

15 Sep

mad mari 1

Carrying on with the coffee lift plate I worked on at Trefeglwys Print Studio last weekend, after washing the coffee off the plate, leaving the black B.I.G. etching ground masking most of the aluminium, I dipped it in copper sulphate solution for quite some time to etch the exposed areas really deep so they’ll give a good strong black when printed. Then when I was happy with the amount etched, the B.I.G. ground was cleaned off with non-toxic paint stripper.

 

mad mari 2

Then I started to etch the rest of the plate using a spit bite technique, brushing and splashing and splattering copper sulphate solution onto the aluminium. You have to keep rinsing the plate because the copper sulphate leaves a dark ‘rust’ on the plate as it etches and this will eventually build up and stop the etching process. You can see it above – the darker areas to the left of the Mari Lwyd’s face. After the very precise and tight process of the mezzotint plate I also did at the workshop, I wanted to be much freer and looser with this one.

Tomorrow …. finishing the spit bite etch and printing the plate …..

And here’s one of Andrew Baldwin’s videos demonstrating coffee lift and spit bite

 

Mad Mari

14 Sep

mad mari 1

So as well as working on a copper mezzotint plate at Andrew Baldwin’s weekend course at Trefeglwys Studios last weekend, there was also time to prepare an aluminium plate with coffee lift and spit bite. I used another of my drawings of the traditional Welsh Mari Lwyd from one of my sketchbooks. The Mari Lwyd is weird looking at the best of times but in this drawing she looks proper mad. The first stage is to degrease the aluminium plate (soy sauce and whiting powder) and then draw onto it with instant coffee. I used brushes and a large-ish nib pen and a bit of splatter. Then once the coffee was dry, I coated it with Andrew’s B.I.G. etching ground and baked it in the oven for 4 minutes to set it. Then it was washed in cold water to lift off the coffee, leaving the design showing through the black ground (above).

More teccie stuff tomorrow ……

The Mari Lwyd (Grey Mare) is an ancient Welsh tradition rooted in the celebration of the Celtic horse goddess, Epona, and appears around the New Year, always accompanied by a band of revellers who often travel from pub to pub. The tradition was almost wiped out by Christianity and just a few Maris were left in Wales by the mid-20th century, but there has been a strong revival in recent years. The Mari Lwyd is a life-sized puppet based on a real horse skull and is therefore very heavy. The Mari’s skull is usually decorated with flowers, ribbons and bells and the eye sockets are often filled as well, giving a sinister appearance. She wears a white shroud to hide the puppeteer underneath, who operates a contraption that snaps the skull’s mouth open and closed.

 

Mari 1

Mari Abertawe (the Swansea Mari Lwyd) celebrating the New Year in a local hostelry with her companions

 

Real horse skulls are quite hard to come by these days, but there are card flatpack ones available – see here.

 

 

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