Archive | March, 2013

Hoody And Hat

31 Mar

31 beach

We’ve been cooped up for months so as it was bright and dry, but very cold, earlier today, Husb and I went for a walk on the beach. I wanted to get out and sketch en plein air and blow away the winter cobwebs. I sat down in the dunes behind a couple of people who were huddled up together in hoody and hat, sheltering from the wind. I did about 7 minutes scribbling onto an A3 piece of mountboard, prepared with 2 coats of acrylic gesso, using white, yellow ochre and black oilbars, overlaid with a splash of blue oil pastel. It was very sticky and I threw a handful of sand over it to finish it off. Had a terrific appetite by the time we got home.

A Fractal Scribble

30 Mar

30 mandelbrot

We were shopping at one of those drab out-of-town retail estates and I stopped for a quick scribble of two ugly metal sheds with a tree in between. It’s not easy to draw trees but I picked up a tip a while back. The branches grow according to fractal mathematics and that’s the key to drawing the branch structures. I only did a very quick scribble the other day, but I’ve tried spending longer on a drawing of a tree, building up layers of fractal drawings and it works well.

The maths behind fractals began in the 17th century but became popularised in the 1970’s when Benoit Mandelbrot found a way to visualise fractal mathematics through computer graphics.


Oily Scribbling

28 Mar

28 oilbar

I went out of my comfort zone again tonight at life drawing and used my new yellow ochre oil bar to lay a scribbled base on top of an A3 card I’d prepared with 2 coats of acrylic gesso. I’d normally work with very fine pens, doing lots of linear detail. I prefer oilbars to liquid paint because I can draw with them, but there’s no chance of doing fine work.  I worked over the ochre ground with a black carbon bar and some chalky pastels in red, green and blue. The oily ochre base made the pastels glide over the surface beautifully giving loads of texture. Finally, I scribbled some highlights with a white oilbar.

Tired And Manky

27 Mar

step 1I spent the afternoon at Swansea Print Workshop, editioning a photopolymer intaglio plate. First I cut 15 pieces of BFK Rives 250gsm paper and put them to soak in clean water. I set up my workspace around the hotplate that I preheated and put some Intaglio Printmaker’s drypoint shop mix oil-based ink in black onto the glass work surface and mixed it a bit with a mini squeegee to get it nice and malleable.

step 2

I spread the ink over the  photopolymer plate that I’d put onto the hotplate (with newspaper to keep the hotplate clean). Once it was well covered, I removed excess ink with the edge of a piece of stiff card then took the photopolymer plate off the heat and onto the work surface to continue removing the ink with a piece of washed scrim.

step 3

After a final polish on the areas I want to highlight, I cleaned the edges of the plate with a rag and put the plate onto the small Inverleith etching press. I’d already placed a registration sheet on the press bed and covered it with a piece of acetate to keep it clean. Then, using ‘paper fingers’ I took one of the pieces of paper, that had soaked for about an hour, from the tray.

step 4

I schlepped it against a white board and squegeed it once to get rid of excess surface water, then put it between several sheets of blotting paper and rolled it a couple of times so it was damp, not sodden.

step 5

Again with clean ‘paper fingers’, I placed the paper carefully onto the inked plate, put a piece of clean tissue on top then the three swansdown blankets and turned the wheel to take the whole lot through the press.

step 6

Phew! A perfect print. But I’m tired and manky. 🙂


Scribbling And Sponsorship

26 Mar

cat 5

I don’t work alone in my garret (I don’t have a garret), I like to work with other artists to develop exhibitions and projects. I’ve been a member of an artist collective called Commensalis for about a year now and our aim is to get our work out into the world because art is meant to be seen. But it costs quite a bit to do that and we don’t have any public funding.

cat 7

So we’ve decided to try out crowdfunding for our next show, in Bath, UK in July. There are five of us in Commensalis and none of us has done anything like this before, we’re learning as we go along. It’s an interesting way to get sponsorship. People pledge whatever they want and in return get a reward. It’s a lot of work to put a site together though, especially with five of us, collating information and images, making a ‘video’ and writing up some blurb without sounding like a bunch of arty pseuds. And also deciding on what rewards to give and then making them. Not as easy as it seemed at first. We’re nearly there though and hope to go live with our site on March 30th.

cat 4

These are my Scribblecats. They’re tiny direct-line monotypes onto archival-quality tissue, cut and mounted onto hand-made papers. They’re based on little sketches I made some years ago of two brother cats we had, the late, great Ffred and Sialco (pronounced Shalko). They were both semi-long-haired whites but Ffred was easily the most evil cat that has ever roamed the planet, and completely manky as well. Sialco on the other hand (paw?) was delicate, refined and gracious and always beautifully groomed. I’m doing 25 of these little monotypes for our crowdsourcing site.

PS our sponsorship site is now live and Scribblecats are offering themselves as rewards for our backers 😀


Partied Out Part 2

25 Mar

25 Neath

Back on Saturday night, after seeing the fabulous Bourgeois and Maurice in Neath, we decamped to a pub I hadn’t been in since the mid-’70’s. It’s one of those old heavy metal rock pubs, really dark and grimy with ripped seats, and walls and floors stained by the abuses of many generations of rock fans. There was a metal band at their headbanging best when we arrived but they soon finished and after some classic rock from the DJ at earsplitting volume, a really mediocre band came on so we left. When I was young I’d have been lubricated with plenty of beer and the bands would have sounded a lot better.  Funny that.

The pub was very gloomy and old, quite Gothic and it was interesting to draw a dark place in the dark, so a lot of it is sort of feeling my way round the paper rather than looking at it. It’s also the very last page in my blue silk recycled paper sketchbook, size A6 that I’ve really enjoyed filling. Drawn with a Pentel V5 pen, size 0.5mm.

Husb and I are such lightweights these days; we were home and cwtched in bed by 11pm 🙂

Partied Out!

24 Mar

24 maurice

I didn’t blog yesterday because I was out partying! Doesn’t happen often these days because I prefer to stay tucked up in a blankie on the settee in front of the telly – rock ‘n’ roll eh? A load of us went to the theatre in Neath to celebrate a friend’s birthday and we saw an hilarious comedy / musical cabaret act, Bourgeois and Maurice. That’s Maurice above. She was fairly easy to draw because she didn’t move round much – that’s important for an artist 🙂

Her brother, Georgeois Bourgeois, however, was much harder because he is a very physical comedian, throwing himself all over the stage.

24 bourgeois

I only had seconds to try and capture him. Then we went off to a really sleazy rock pub, but that’s for another blog 😀

International Women’s Day- A&E

24 Mar

A beautiful drawing from a relatively new blogger with a love of sketchbooks………

International Women’s Day- A&E.

Comfort Food

22 Mar

22 ben foreshort

Second day of Spring and what am I cooking for tea? Casserole and rice pudding. Proper Winter fodder because of the torrential rain, gale force winds and freezing temperature outside. No chance of a nice light salad for some time to come. Here’s another sketch I did last night at the life drawing group. It was very difficult to photograph because the Indian ink lines have reflected the light and gone white in some places. I also used white conte crayon for highlights.

Renaissance Head

21 Mar

21 Ben head

Just got back from life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop. Filthy night, really cold, pouring rain and blowing a gale……and today’s the first day of Spring. Joke! Anyway, our model is great to draw, he has a very Renaissance head and excellent muscle and bone definition. I previously used up some offcuts of mount (matte) board and schlepped white acrylic gesso and grey ink wash over them to break the unrelenting surface. This one was a mid grey to start with. I worked onto the board with black and white conte crayons. It’s fairly small, a bit less than A4.

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