Archive | November, 2011

A Corset and A Quickie

30 Nov

Oooh got to go and get my corset and big hat on and go to the monthly Steampunk Meet so won’t have much time to post today. Here’s a large drawing I did from a small life drawing in a sketchbook. I used a large piece of Somerset Velvet, coloured with black and pearlised acrylic paint squeegeed onto the surface a la Gerhard Richter. I workined it up with conte crayons and soft pastels.

Drawing in pastels and conte crayons: male nude.

Now for some Earl Grey tea, cucumber sandwiches, ladies in bustles and men with handlebar moustaches 🙂

Mucky Hands and Monotypes.

29 Nov

Starting a monotype - VERY thin ink.

I spent a happy morning yesterday making some direct line monotypes down at Swansea Print Workshop. The trick to getting a good result is to roll out your ink VERY very thinly. I used Intaglio Printmakers oil-based litho/relief ink in black and a Japanese rubber roller inked onto apiece of Perspex. Don’t be tempted to add more ink because your paper will stick to the plate and there’ll be an awful blobby mess instead of some lovely lines. I based my monotypes on some life drawings I had done and I made tracings and reversed them and stuck each to the back of a piece of paper.

Direct line monotype: drawing onto the back.

I used a Zercoll 145gsm which is a lovely creamy colour. Previously I’ve used Fabriano Academia 120gsm,  acid-free cartridge paper and even acid-free tissue. I’ve never had good results from paper that’s heavy or textured. I put the paper face down onto the inked plate and I use a 2H pencil to draw deftly onto the back of the paper and then use an HB to go over key lines that I want to emphasise, keeping the pencils very sharp. You have to be VERY careful not to lean on the paper or rub it in any way or there’ll be a dark patch. When you’ve finished, peel it off and there it is! Easy peasy. And you can use the tracing again and again.

Direct line monotype: finished!

And now I’ve got mucky hands.

I Knows ‘Ew Luvs Me ‘Coz ‘Ew Buys Me Chips

28 Nov

Mixed media: 'I Knows 'Ew Luvs Me'.


This large mixed media piece started as a simple life drawing in conte crayons onto Somerset paper [250gsm] that I had squeegeed with black acrylic System 3 ink mixed with pearlised and acrylic medium. This gave me a dark, uneven surface to work on. I collaged on some interesting hand-made papers I had knocking around, tearing them into tiny squares and added a couple of blockprinted skulls that I’d printed up on tissue. I like to use text a lot in my larger scale work, repeating a phrase over and over so that it becomes a rhythmic pattern across the page. I did this onto tracing parchment and pasted pieces over parts of her body. I fnished off the drawing with oil bars.


I like to use skulls / bones in my work as it’s in the European Vanitas tradition where artists would constantly remind us of our own mortality. The primitive figure to the right of the woman is a lino print I did based on a drawing of a pertoglyph, an ancient rock carving, I made during a journey around Pakistan. The petroglyphs were carved onto large rocks at the side of the road up the Karakoram Mountain range in the Northern Territories. It’s a very primitive man printed onto a highly textured hand-made paper.


The phrase I used is ” ‘I knows ‘ew luvs me ‘coz ‘ew buys me chips.” This is a well-known Swansea phrase in the local dialect and it’s meant to be a tender declaration of love in these parts. [For non-British readers – chips are fries]. 😉

The Dreadlock Lecture!

27 Nov

Ink sketch: The Dreadlock Lecture.


Sometimes I get to hear about art lectures at the local university and friends smuggle me in. I went to one a couple of months ago, a lecture on drawing, given by Professor Deanna Petherbridge. I often draw when I make notes, especially when the subject is something arty. I started out drawing the Professor but then I got fascinated by the dreadlocks on the head of the chap in front of me. Don’t see many dreadlocks, especially greying blonde ones and I couldn’t resist getting absorbed into drawing his hair. And the curly-headed woman in front. Here’s a close up.

Ink sketch: middle-aged dreadlocks.


It was great doing all that patterning. I’m not a photo-realist so I can let rip and draw what I want. Faber Castell Pitt pens into an A6 silk-bound, recycled sari sketchbook. The paper had an unusual woven texture. I assume it’s because it’s made from sari material.

Drawing Through A Window Darkly

26 Nov

Sketch in ink and conte crayon.

I always carry a sketchbook and I’m ready to take any opportunity for a quick sketch. I was sitting in a restaurant in Berlin with a group of artists a couple of winters back. It was freezing – literally 20C, and we were eating, drinking and chatting. Jane was gazing out the window into the darkness with her brown handbag on the sill. It’s always a challenge to draw the dark, especially through the reflections of a window, but Jane was deep in thought and stayed still until I finished.

Faber Castell Pitt pens and sanguine conte crayon into a spiral bound A6 sketchbook.

Drawing A Postcard From America.

25 Nov

Ink drawing: Homeless man in Grand Central Station.

When I’ve visited New York City I’ve spend a lot of time hanging out and sketching at Grand Central Station. It’s a gorgeous building and there’s a vast crowd of people moving through it and lots of opportunities for sketching. There were always a lot of apparently homeless people there, getting their heads down in a corner for a sleep. It was awkward for them because railway police kept waking them up. This young man was asleep behind his hat. It seemed to work as I spent a long time sketching him and other people and the police didn’t seem to notice him.

The drawing is in Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens into a Tate Gallery Postcard sketchpad, with very thick card pages robust enough to send through the post. I didn’t rip the pages out; I filled the book with drawings while I was there and wrote messages on the back of each postcard to my husband and gave the little book to him as a present when I got back to Blighty.

Abusing Watercolour!

24 Nov

Ink and watercolour life drawing.

I once met some watercolour artists. I showed them the life drawings I did in ink and watercolour. They were aghast! Apparently I broke all the rules! Oh Well. There we are then 😉

Faber Castell Pitt pen and Windsor and Newton half pan watercolours into an A3 Cotman watercolour pad.

Where Do You Start With A Crowd?!

23 Nov

Ink sketch: festival crowd.


Drawing a life model who sits still for ages is one thing, sketching a crowd at a festival is much more of a challenge. People move – they dance! They get up and go off. How inconsiderate. Anyway, got this lot mid-afternoon at the Green Man Festival a couple of years ago [fabulous little folk/rock/psychedelic/arty festival on the Welsh borders if you fancy going]. The weather was uncharacteristically warm and dry and sunny for a British August and everone was chilling out so there wasn’t too much movement going on.

I find it hard to know where to start a crowd drawing but this one was easier than usual because I was at the top of a slope looking down which gave an exaggerated perspective that I really like. I couldn’t be bothered to put in lots of little dots and circles to represent the crowd down the bottom, the sunshine and ambience got to me and I shut my sketchbook and chilled out. That sounds like a good idea – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


oh yes – Faber Castell Pitt pens size S, F and B into an A5 bound Daler Rowney sketchbook.

Big Drawing, Little Drawing.

22 Nov

Ink sketch: Cahir Conree, County Kerry, Ireland.

Last week I went to the opening of Mary-Ann Kokoska’s fabulous exhibition ‘Drawing: Land and Sky’, featuring her HUGE three-dimensional drawing installations based on the vast landscape and wild weather of Colorado USA, where she lives and teaches. Her drawings are room sized and overwhelm the viewer with their vastness and intensity.

Drawing Installation: Prickly Wrap by Mary-Ann Kokoska.

This floor to ceiling drawing at Elysium Gallery in Swansea shows her multi-layered technique, overlapping different types of paper and mylar film [mark-resist] which give extraordinary depth to the drawing and it curves out of the wall into the gallery space. Each mark is carefully considered and she can take several months to make one of these vast drawings.

Unlike me. I rarely do landscapes but now and again, when I’m off travelling, I have been known to make the occasional study. It usually takes me all of three minutes 🙂 ! And they rarely exceed an A6 page. Here are two quick scribbles I made last year during a trip to Ireland. We took a back road and crossed a mountain range on our way to Dingle in County Kerry – it’s called Cahir Conree. Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens into a silk-bound A6 sketchbook.

.”]Mary-Ann’s amazing exhibition continues at Elysium Gallery in Swansea until December 23rd. Wednesday – Saturday, 12.00 – 5.00. Free entry.



There’s No Escaping The Scribblegeek!

21 Nov

Drawing in conte crayon: coming round for a cuppa.

I’m such a scribblegeek that it borders on an obsessive compulsive disorder and no-one escapes, not even friends who pop around for a cuppa tea. What could I do when my pal is sitting there with that Egon Schiele pose? Just HAD to get the conte crayons and dash off a sketch into my A2 bound sketchbook. Trouble was, her tea went cold because I wouldn’t let her move. Surprised I’ve got any friends left 🙂

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