The Stone With No Name…..

19 Jan llangain

llangain

This is the second stone we visited yesterday in muddy West Wales, near Llangain. Quite a few of the Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments around here don’t have names and this is one of them. It’s a large, fine stone with an unusual feature that makes it look like a face from some angles. It’s surrounded by pylons and power cables. We could here the electricity crackling…..

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

MUD!

18 Jan

llwyn-ddu

Mud. Mud and standing stones. After a break of about three months I’m off out traipsing across the muddier parts of South Wales with filmmaker Melvyn Williams and pre-historian Dewi Bowen. There are still a lot of ancient monuments to be explored, recorded and drawn before Dewi is able to complete his new book. This small group is an unusual configuration called Llwyn Ddu, which translates from Welsh as Black Grove. It’s a strange place with a dark atmosphere so I drew onto a piece of paper I’d prepared with 2 layers of gesso and compressed charcoal. I had then rubbed different tones away with wire wool at random. I used black, white and sanguine conté crayons to draw with.

mud

Mud, mud and more mud. A field in January on our way to the Llwyn Ddu standing stones.

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

The Right Combo

17 Jan mono-10-chine
mono-10-chine

Mari Lwyd (with chine colle)

Spent the day at Swansea Print Workshop making more monotypes based on the drawings I did while I followed around two local Mari Lwyd in December and January. I’m experimenting to find the right combination of ink, paper and glue (for the chine collé). I originally used Bockingford, Somerset then switched to a vintage paper by J Green & Sons (supplied by the Vintage Paper Co in Orkney). Today I just used the J Green paper which doesn’t need soaking, just a little spritz of clean water

Last time I tried out Intaglio Printmaker’s Litho / Relief oil-based ink with varying amounts of Extender but found it too tacky, it was quite hard to work the drawing onto the plate and it didn’t want to release the chine collé when it went through the press, so today I gave Caligo Easy Wash Relief ink a go. It worked much better although it was too loose to hold fine detail through the printing press.

Previously, I tried Pritt for the chine collé but today I used ‘YES’ paste which was much easier to apply and stuck the light tissues to the main print perfectly. Very impressed with it. I’ve changed everything from my starting point, it can take some time and experimentation to get the right combo.

mono-10-ghost

The ‘ghost’ print

After taking the first print with chine collé, I put another sheet of the dampened J Green paper onto the plate and took a ‘ghost’ print which I will work into with artist-quality oil pastels or maybe collage.

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Printing The Plate

16 Jan mono-9-chine

mono-9-chine

After preparing the plate with my image of a Mari Lwyd, I printed it on one of the smaller etching presses at Swansea Print Workshop. For this one I used a vintage paper, by J Green & Sons that was manufactured between 1969 and 1974, sourced from the Vintage Paper Co. I didn’t have to soak it, just a spritz with clean water from a squirty bottle. That saved some time and hassle. It gave a good dense black and plenty of definition.

mono-9-ghost

I put another piece of spritzed paper through to take a ghost print which didn’t, of course, have any chine collé. I’m thinking of working into this with top quality oil pastels.

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Prepping The Plate

15 Jan

mono-9-plate

Working from my recent drawings of the Mari Lwyd, I developed some of them into monotypes. I used a piece of perspex (acrylic sheet) and litho / relief ink mixed with Extender (by Intaglio Printmaker). This was rollered very thinly onto the perspex and I drew into it with cotton buds, wooden skewers, scrim and rags.

mono-9-plateb

I wanted to include some colour to represent the ribbons and flowers that decorate the Mari skull so I ripped pieces of handmade papers made from recycled saris and placed them face down onto the prepared plate. Before putting them down I covered the upper side with glue – I used Pritt – as this is will stick it to the paper I will print the plate on.

More to come ……

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Getting Ready

14 Jan getting-ready-2

getting-ready-1

I’ve been popping down to Swansea Print Workshop since Xmas, experimenting with reductive monotypes based on my recent sketchbook drawings of the Mari Lwyd. As with most things, preparation is everything and here are some of my photos of getting ready. I’m trying out different papers to print on – Somerset, Bockingford, BFK Rives and a lovely vintage paper from the Vintage Paper Co by J Green & Sons that was manufactured between 1969 and 1974. All these papers are top quality and 100% cotton.

getting-ready-2

As I want to include some colour in the monotypes, to reflect the colourful decorations on the horse’s skull, I have a collection of hand made papers to be used for chine collé, some Khadi handmade papers and some lightweight fibrous papers made from recycled saris.

getting-ready-3

I’m using two pieces of perspex (acrylic sheet), one for inking and one for the actual monotype and I’ve set these out onto a newspaper-covered table with my palette knife, roller (brayer), oil-based litho / relief ink (by Intaglio Printmakers) and a selection of materials to use to make marks onto the plate – cotton buds (Q tips), scrim (tarlatan), rags and wooden kebab skewers.

Ready to go!

 

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

A Slow Head

13 Jan jan-2a

jan-2a

After drawing a Quick Nude (10 minutes) at last night’s life drawing session at Swansea Print Workshop, I settled down to do a portrait drawing for the remaining 50 minutes.

I started with roughly blocking in some highlights with white conté crayon onto a piece of brown wrapping paper (about A2 size) then added some sanguine brown tones and then began to work in some black line detail. These first three stages established the basic dimensions of the drawing and from then on it was just a matter of building detail. This is a great model, she’s very experienced and professional and can hold poses and expressions so well. A joy for an artist to work with.

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

A Quick Nude

12 Jan jan-1c

jan-1c

Just back from life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop. I went for a half session after the tea break and did a quick 10 minute drawing to start with. I used white, sanguine and black conté crayons onto brown wrapping paper.

I started with some quick lines in white (left) then added sanguine (middle) and then black linework and more white and sanguine detail (right).

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Echo From The Past

10 Jan mari-1

mari-1

This is the last drawing I did of The Mari Lwyd, Y Fari Lwyd, at Gellionen Chapel last Sunday. Sitting in the pew during the visit from Mari Ystrad (the Mari Lwyd from Ystradgynlais) gave me the time and space to do more detailed drawings than I was able to do a couple of weeks ago when I followed Mari Trecopwr (Coppertown Mari) around pubs in North Gower, which was raucous and hectic but loads of fun.

The tradition of Mari Lwyd was very common until the 1960’s when it had almost died out but it’s now having a revival and it’s terrific to see and draw this echo from the past.

I drew with white, black and sanguine conté crayons into my A4 brown paper sketchbook. I’m enjoying this sketchbook, it gives me a good mid tone to work into. I really like this drawing, I might eventually develop it into a screenprint.

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

A Thin Veil

9 Jan mari-2

mari-2

Drawing the Mari Ystrad at Gellionen Chapel yesterday was a much more peaceful experience than drawing the Mari Trecopwr around the pubs of North Gower a couple of weeks ago and I had the chance to take my time, observe and record at leisure. I finally drew the full figure – the Mari’s skull atop a two legged creature in a decorated white shroud, baggy white trousers and white socks. The huge horse’s skull dwarfs the homo sapien below.

The white – or grey – colouring of the Mari Lwyd dates to pre-Christian times and is the colour of animals that could cross the divide between this world and the underworld. White is also associated with Rhiannon, a Welsh horse goddess and queen of the underworld. At this darkest time of the year, tradition has it that the veil between this and other worlds is at its thinnest and some beings could pass through.

Husb noticed that the spiral pattern on part of the shroud is the same as carvings on ancient stone monuments and temples across Malta. Coincidence? hhhmmmmm

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

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