Archive | September, 2012

Final Hospital Heads?

30 Sep

Final hospital heads? I hope so. Dad-in-law is home now and hopefully won’t have to have any more extended stays in hospital. These are the last two heads I drew during visiting time, two very sleepy guys nodding off. It gets boring sitting in bed all day and it’s very warm in there as well.

The Tree Palace

29 Sep

I took a stroll up High Street yesterday, making the most of the late afternoon sunshine after the torrential rain of the past few days. I stopped and sketched the top of the old Palace Theatre which is now derelict and covered in large buddleia bushes. It looks like it’s smothered in trees.

Dating from 1888, it was a traditional music hall, Charlie Chaplin appeared there, and also a theatre and cinema before becoming a nightclub in the 1970’s and a gay bar in the 1980’s. It’s shame that it’s fallen into such an awful state of repair. It’s a Grade 2 listed building but that doesn’t seem to count for much. Dad-in-law can remember standing on it’s roof during World War 2 watching while the city centre was being decimated by enemy bombers. It’s a distinctive wedge-shape, a bit like the Gridiron building in New York, but shorter. It’s one of several old, distinguished buildings in Swansea that have been allowed to become derelict and, in the middle of a recession, there doesn’t seem to be much hope of them being saved. What a shame, it survived the Second World War but is likely to be destroyed by 21st century economics.

Good news though about the Albert Hall, another old building that I sketched and blogged about a few months ago. It looks as if the Metropolitan University, formerly the Art College, might be taking it over and turning it into a performance arts centre. Brilliant. Fingers crossed for The Palace.

Loosening Up

28 Sep

Sometimes I get into a rut with my drawing and I’d been spending too much time doing the Renaissance thing on tiny scraps of paper, so this week at life drawing I used my dip pens and Indian ink, along with wash and brushes, into an A2 cartridge pad. It made my linework much freer. I sketched two poses to warm up then worked on the one-hour pose below.

Stuff I Draw With

27 Sep

I’m doing some subtractive drawings on card prepared with two coats of acrylic gesso and overlaid, when dry, with compressed charcoal. It means I have to be a bit inventive with drawing materials, which include aluminium oxide paper, wire wool, a craft knife and bits of rag. Great fun.

Here’s the small one, based on the sketch I made at a life drawing session. I hope to finish it tomorrow and start on the huge pieces I’ve stretched onto the wall next week.

Three Little Pigs

26 Sep

Sometimes I get up to some weird things. Earlier this evening I went along to the old police station which has been redeveloped as housing, a cafe/bar and artist studios. There are some odd little spaces within the depths of the building, including a small first floor courtroom! An artist friend is making a film inspired by George Orwell’s book, Animal Farm, and invited some people to take part. We donned pig masks, had our mugshots taken and sat in the juror’s boxes, posing as a porcine jury while a ‘farmer’ recited poetry to us from the witness box. Opposite sat three pig’s heads in white collars, posing as judges. It was a bit gruesome, facing three dead pigs that were oozing rather unpleasant fluids, but that’s the reality of farming and butchery and it was a good opportunity to draw something I wouldn’t normally have access to. I held a human leg a couple of weeks ago, regularly use rabbit-skin glue in the studio and this evening scribbled some dead pigs. What a job.

Wet Dogs And Runners

25 Sep

All last week, the weather was gorgeous – a real Indian summer. Then Sunday arrived – and Husb had entered the Swansea 10k race, hoping to improve on last year’s time. The weather was ATROCIOUS! Pouring rain and ferocious winds didn’t put off thousands of runners, though. We went down early to see two of our great-nephews and a great niece run in the junior 1k races – bless them, they did really well and got soaked to the skin. Then Husb got stuck into the main race, while I waited around in the rain and gales, giving him moral support. I tried drawing but only managed one because my hands froze.

The race was won, as usual, by Kenyan runners. I wonder what they make of it, coming from a very hot country at high altitude to run in one of the wettest countries on the planet, just a few yards from the sea. Husb managed to shave 6 minutes off last year’s time, despite the awful weather. I scribbled the dog-walkers on the beach which runs alongside the race route. It gives some idea of the bleak, windswept conditions. Maybe next year I’ll manage the 5k? 😀

Back And Raring To Go!

24 Sep

I’ve had five whole days away from the computer. The RSI problem came back with a vengeance and coupled with a nasty lurgi, I decided to take a bit of a break from t’Internet. I’ve still been busy in the studio though, developing some plans for a series of larger scale subtractive drawings. I stretched some sheets of Fabriano Accademica onto the studio wall and gave them two coats of acrylic gesso. I rubbed in compressed charcoal over the surface of two of the sheets and coated the third with graphite, smoothing it over with a rag dipped in turpentine. Then I transferred one of my life drawings to a smaller bit of charcoal-coated card to do a practice piece before committing myself to the larger paper. I like this technique very much; the resulting drawing is rather like a mezzotint.

This shows the stretched paper coated with compressed charcoal either side of the piece I covered with graphite, before it had been smoothed over with turpentine.

Tatts And A Full Cooked

19 Sep


Husb and I were up and about early on Sunday, helping to hang my latest exhibition, Rinascere, at The Brunswick. It opens this evening, with lashings of cake, from 7.30 pm so if you’re passing, please call in. I’m exhibiting with two other artists, Patricia McParlin and Aled Rhys Hughes and the exhibition continues until November 30th.

After we’d hung the work, Husb and I felt the need for a Full Cooked Breakfast so off we went to the local greasy spoon caff and had their finest FCB, with extra black pudding on the side. nom nom nom. I had time for a quick scribble and spotted this chap in the corner, tucking into his FCB and sporting some splendid tattoos. Then my enormous breakfast arrived and I lost interest in him. I need to diet for a week to work it off though 🙂

Here’s one of my little solar plate etchings from the Rinascere exhibition…..


Talking Heads

17 Sep

Dad-in-law almost got out of hospital today, but a last minute cough foiled his escape bid, so I get to keep on drawing patients and visitors for a little while yet. These two chatting away in the corner had quiffs and may have been Teddy Boys when they were younger – they’re about the right age. Drawn with a Pilot V5 pen [0.5mm] into my new-ish purple silk, embroidered and recycled sari A5 sketchbook with a tassle and a little tiny bell.

Cream Crackered

16 Sep

Did loads today – up early to lend a hand putting up my next exhibition at The Brunswick – opening party on Wednesday 19th from 7-ish if you fancy dropping by; then a long stint digging in horse manure on the allotment – ahh nothing like wet poo in the relentless drizzle! Then a quick soak in the bath followed by afternoon tea with my new neighbours – lashings of tea and Jammy Dodgers – my favourites. And finally, visiting at the hospital. And now I’m cream-crackered. Here I am yawning. I cheated. I did this some time ago. Good night zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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