Archive | July, 2012

Sad Day, Happy Flowers

31 Jul

Yesterday was a sad one, the funeral of my dear aunt who died after a long illness, aged 87. Although we had been expecting it for some time, it’s still a shock and grieving is hard. She’s the last of her generation on that side of my family, which means that my cousins and sibling and I are now the elders. That’s a sobering thought for a bunch of baby boomers who still feel like we’re 25 – well in our heads anyway. She lived through World War Two and before that had suffered terrible poverty during the Great Depression. Her husband of 66 years and childhood sweetheart had gone to school without shoes or socks, whatever the weather. We, thankfully, have no idea of that level of poverty anymore. They created the welfare state after the war, the National Health Service, free universal education, decent housing, social services, pensions, all done for our benefit, to make sure we didn’t suffer the deprivation they had. And now we see selfish millionaire public-schoolboy politicians trying to dismantle what that brave generation worked so hard and so selflessly to achieve. I have no words to describe my contempt.
As we waited in the watery sunshine for the hearse to arrive at the pretty little church in Waunarlwydd, I noticed a small group of pale purple pansies growing out of a crack at the base of the step leading into the church. Nobody had doused them with weedkiller and people stepped over them carefully. I love pansies, they have those daft little faces in the middle of their nodding heads with big ears. It cheered me up to see them surviving in such an unlikely place, so I drew them in my sketchbook.



Etched Out!

29 Jul

Had a full-on intaglio week – made three new solar plates and proofed seven. This is one I based on a much larger life drawing. I’m using text repetitively in some of my work because I like the pattering effect it gives. I drew this onto Mark Resist rather than Truegrain as it’s cheaper – I’m pleased with the result. I have black etching ink ingrained into my fingers and I’m shattered. So much time on my feet and then the allotment today on top of it all. Never mind, picked 4 pounds of blackcurrants – they’re cooking away in the kitchen for jelly, butter and cordial; three pounds of redcurrants – they’ll be jellied too; some luscious spinach and beetroot for tea tomorrow.

Trad & Mod

28 Jul

I’ve spent the best part of the last year working on a large-ish scale, mostly A1 or A0 drawings and monotypes, but the past couple of months I’ve been enjoying these tiny, A6, ink drawings in the life drawing group I attend. I’m using a traditional dip pen and Indian ink onto handmade paper, bought from the Tate gallery shop, coloured with splatters of sepia ink. I’m adding tone to the drawings with black, sanguine and white conte crayon. I like this pose, it looks very modern and contrasts well, in my opinion, with the traditional drawing techniques. This was a one-hour pose [great, dedicated model] and I worked directly onto the paper with pen – I guess I’m a masochist 🙂


27 Jul

Sparta Puss here! I’ve taken control of the furless monkey’s pooter-box again. They’ve been out for a curry and an ice-cream and now they’re lying around like large sea-mammals out of water. Why any mammals would want to live in the sea is beyond me! Anyway, I’ve been busy hunting lately; a few dead ones but mostly bringing them in alive because it’s such a laugh watching the baldapes running round in a panic, shrieking the place down. It’s enough to make a cat laugh! They had some of their furless monkey-pals around for tea the other day – chicken and bread and butter pudding – I licked the pud, it was full of custard. I brought them a live mouse to spice things up a bit and they got terribly annoyed; said I was upsetting their visitors. Wusses!

The she-monkey has been doing etching stuff again. Keeps her out of trouble and off my case. Here’s one she did of me – it’s called a solar plate and she’s printed it in Intaglio Printmaker’s etching ink – Drypoint Shopmix with a smidgen of Easy Wipe in black onto Somerset 250gsm paper. I knew that.

Magpies And Ming

26 Jul

After three months of torrential rain, we have a heatwave. Normally I’m not a sun lover but I’m not complaining about this because the early summer weather has been so brutal. Unfortunately, I’m a gingery Celt and burn to a frazzle in strong sunlight so I’m keeping out of the sun throughout the day and getting outside in the early mornings and the evenings. I was sitting in the garden about 6am today, the cats and the local magpies were winding each other up, magpies screeching raucously. Of course I reached for my sketchbook and had a scribble, catching the young magpies on the roofs.

As I stood and drew, Ming The Merciless came and sat at my feet. So I scribbled her as well. It’s a very odd angle, I was almost directly above her, but it’s a good exercise to draw from stange angles. I picked some blueberries from the plant in the large pot and had them for breakfast with yoghurt and tea. Lovely. By 9am I couldn’t stand it any more and spent the day sheltering in my studio, like a vampire 🙂

A Dandy, An Exile And Cult Pens

25 Jul

Went to the little village of Ystradgynlais this evening to see some new lithographs. They’re created by a very talented young Welsh artist, John Abell, who won a bursary from the Josef Herman Foundation to spend a week at the world-famous Curwen Press to develop a new body of prints. Josef Herman was a refugee artist fleeing the Nazis before the second World War and he settled for a long time in this part of Wales. John is the first winner of this bursary and it’s very exciting to see an artist developing at the start of their career and it’s also great to see work of such passion.

Of course, I took my sketchbook with me, the little A6 recycled paper one in a leather cover and my Pilot V5 pen. It’ll run out soon – I’ll have to get onto Cult Pens and get some more. I drew the artist (a self-confessed Dandy) and then another artist. The drawings are a little bit wonky because I forgot my specs :(.


Cult pens. Honestly. I’m SUCH a geek!

Ice Cream And Martini

24 Jul

A fellow blogger calls me the ‘Martini artist’ because I draw anytime, anyplace, anywhere. That dates the both of us as it’s the slogan from Martini adverts from way back when dinosaurs roamed the planet :).  I never pass up the chance to have a quick scribble. This was in a cafe in Mumbles a couple of evenings ago. It’s a very comfy cafe-bar with well padded seats and magazines left about the place. We were listening to Swedish Folk/Jazz duo, Anna Eriksson and Andreas Noren. Fab.

I don’t normally have a sweet tooth, but when it’s very hot, as it has been for about 4 days now, I get a craving for sweet things. Maybe it’s something to do with dehydration. Anyway, I ate icecream twice yesterday AND the day before so I thought I mustn’t do that again. Then these little fellas jumped out at me when I was walking through town. They’re like jelly babies but much older and with bad attitude. I saw them off. All of them. Take No Prisoners! 🙂

Captain Cat And The Rubber Slug

23 Jul

I did about a dozen drawings on the street during the ‘Disruptions II’ event in Swansea on Saturday afternoon – this is the last one I’m going to blog but the set is going up on the Elysium Artspace website some time soon. Here’s Wanda Zyborska performing to unsuspecting citizens as a large rubber slug-like living sculpture  made from recycled rubber inner tubes from agricultural machines.

It’s the start of the summer holidays and after months of torrential rain I took advantage of the sunshine and the company of a small nephew to go out sketching. I bought the nephew a new sketchbook and some charcoal pencils, ignoring his plea for a new Nintendo DS (I don’t even know what that is). We sat in some shade in the Swansea Marina and drew the sculpture of Captain Cat, a character from Dylan Thomas.  The boy’s drawing is a lot better than mine. Here it is. He’s 8.

23 Jul

It’s a year since I started blogging, while I was sitting with my little cat who was dying. My friend has just lost her beloved cat this weekend and I thought I’d repost this first blog as a reminder of how important pets are to so many people……


Bobbit came into our family in July 1993 and 17 years later I’m sitting with her as she sleeps her last sleep, dying gently and quietly with familiar sounds and smells and her human and feline companions around her. If she was suffering I’d take her to the vet for euthanasia, but she’s slipping away peacefully and I want her to die here, in her home.

People who don’t have pets don’t get the relationship. A pet shares part of your journey through life and when a pet dies, that part of your journey is over and you take a new route without your companion. Bobbit has been travelling with me for 17 years and now her journey’s nearly over, mine will change.

It’s a long time for a little cat to share my life. When she arrived aged 8 weeks, she hadn’t ever been outside and we took her…

View original post 310 more words

Freaky Slug People

22 Jul


Yesterday I was a recorder in the ‘Disruption’ happening which was happening in Swansea City Centre. I was one of the artists recording the performances through the medium of drawing. There were some really freaky things going on, which certainly disrupted the city centre. Two blood-stained body bags were carried up the street to the front of a deserted building and two bizarre ‘slug people’ rolled out onto the floor, where they stayed for two hours twitching and occasionally making strange shrieking noises.


They got a lot of attention. Their faces were made of nylon stocking masks with revolting googly eyes and slashed mouths. Very horrible but also fascinating.

I wandered up and down the street drawing the happening in an appropriate costume. Here I am. It was hot and smelled of rubber.

Photograph by Sandra Demar.




%d bloggers like this: