Archive | May, 2012

Memento Mori

21 May

I spent some time last year working on mixed media pieces, trying out different combinations of materials and techniques. This one combined drawing, watercolour and screenprinting. I started with an A1 sheet of Somerset 250gsm and squeegeed some acrylic System 3 paint, mixed with Acrylic Medium across it, giving a randomised background colour. Then I made a photographic screen of repeats of a drawing I did of a human vertebra and printed it on top in a lighter colour, making a rather macabre wallpaper effect. I separately did two drawings in pencil and watercolour, one from a life model I work with regularly at the life drawing group at Swansea Print Workshop. The skull is drawn from a female skeleton who lives at the Elysium Studios. Her name is Felicity. I cut the screenprinted paper and mounted the watercolours from behind.

The piece is called ‘Two Women’ and is in the spirit of ‘Memento Mori‘, a tradition in European [and latterly American] art, dating back to Roman times, where the viewer is reminded that death is the inevitable consequence of life, typically by including a skull. Memento Mori often overlaps with the similar tradition of ‘Vanitas’ in European art. By putting the dead and living heads in the same pose, I try to emphasise that ultimately the two women are linked by death.

Pêcheurs, Matelots et Mamelles

20 May

Husb and I went to The Vojon for a curry earlier this evening and felt a bit portly afterwards, so as it’s a rather lovely evening we went for a long walk along the beach. Swansea Bay is now a lovely golden sweep, very different from the murky, polluted beach of our youth. I stopped to draw some of the fishermen who were strung out along the shoreline in little knots of two and three. On the horizon are the twin islands of Mumbles, a little fishing village at the western end of Swansea Bay [and where Catherine Zeta Jones lives when she’s in town]. Legend has it that in the dim and distant past, French matelots sailing into the Bay saw the islands and exclaimed ‘Mamelles! Mamelles!’ [Breasts! Breasts!]. The name Mumbles is supposed to have come from this. I’ll leave it to you to decide how bosomy the islands are.

20 May

A lovely, funny cat post. Just like all the cats I ever had lol.

Boots And Bumpers

19 May

Sometimes I just don’t want to do any drawing in my sketchbook. I spent a few hours in the studio, working on a large piece with oilbars and wiping most of it off with bits of rag and I really didn’t want to sketch. But I forced myself to, because it’s a completely different sort of drawing to the studio work and I think it’s good discipline for me. It doesn’t have to be a detailed, finely wrought piece of work, it’s just chilling out and having a scribble. So I did a quick sketch, just a few minutes, of mine and Husb’s booted-up feet lounging together on a footstool [there’s romantic]. He’s wearing his well-worn walking boots and I’m wearing my new Converse bumpers. I don’t know what they’re called these days. When I was a kid they were daps, then bumpers. My parents called them gyms. I bought them a couple of weeks ago when my 12 year-old great niece dragged me into a posh shoeshop and ordered me to buy some decent shoes because, apparently, my fashion sense is ‘awful’. That’s news to me. I didn’t know I had any fashion sense.

Creepy Alien Children!

18 May

Here’s one of the life drawings I did last night. It was a 15 minute pose and there was a lot of tension in the body which was quite difficult to draw. I’ll definitely work on it some more; it has potential. I was pootling about on Facebook earlier and came across this example of a child’s skull, showing all the teeth – the visible milk teeth and all the ‘teeth-in-waiting’ – absolutely gruesome. No wonder they have such enormous heads! That’s why they’re so difficult to draw. It’s hideous and fascinating at the same time but I won’t be able to look children in the face and go ‘aaaahhhh’ any more because now I know they’re a cross between Alien and Predator under that cute little visage!

It comes from an interesting science oddity site.

I might draw this. It would look good on a T shirt.

Pimp My Monument

17 May

Pimp My Monument.

Another bonkers and hilarious skit about poor, unsuspecting Tenby! 🙂

Cake And Contrapposto

17 May

My hobby is baking cakes. I don’t particularly like eating them but I love making them. I usually make one for life drawing group at Swansea Print Workshop on Thursday evenings and tonight did a classic sponge cake filled with home-made strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream. None of it made it back home – these artists take no prisoners! 🙂

Tonight’s model is in her forties and has strong features and a powerful body. I love drawing her because she’s very fit and flexible and holds some terrific poses. I did three drawings of her tonight and this is my favourite, a thirty minute pose in conte and oil pastel into my Bockingford sketchbook. I like the foreshortening and the awkwardness of the left arm. It’s a pleasing composition and it’s definitely going to be reworked as a more complex drawing and then made into a large monotype.There’s a terrific twist going on, a sort of horizontal contrapposto.

Fracking unbelievable

16 May

Oh dear, another bonkers diatribe about poor little Tenby from the witty pen of this master of drollery :). It hurts when I laugh this much.

Fracking unbelievable.

Stir Crazy Celtic Knots

16 May

I was ‘babysitting’ the current show at Elysium Gallery earlier this afternoon, doing my volunteer stint for the day and a shy young man wandered in, wearing a Big Issue seller’s tabard. He asked if it was alright to come in, he was very nervous. I made him welcome and he really liked the exhibition. I chatted to him and he said that he loved art and when he finishes selling the mag each day, he goes back to his tiny room and spends hours drawing Celtic Knotwork. Celtic Knotwork!!!! Have you ever tried drawing Celtic Knotwork? I have – it’s really hard. And this guy is absorbed in it for hours each day. It’s so easy to judge people by their appearances and fail to see the human being behind the stereotype. He said he’d call in again. I hope he does.

When I left the gallery the sun was streaming down, rare for Swansea and I didn’t want to go back to my studio – I’m getting a bit stir crazy and the place smells of rabbit skin glue at the moment – horrible. So I went walkabout and sat on a wall by the Big Issue office in St. Helen’s Road. I sketched the people using the traffic crossing. It wasn’t easy because they don’t stay still for long and dart across the road really quickly, so it was a good exercise for me. They weren’t bunched together in a group – I drew them singly and tried to fit them together as best I can. Back to the smelly studio tomorrow – hope it rains.

The birth of Lego

16 May

Another droll spoof about the little seaside town of Tenby. What did Tenby do to deserve this? Very funny writing from a talented comedy writer.


The birth of Lego.

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