Archive | April, 2013

Out Of The Darkness (female nude)

29 Apr

Rose Davies female nude

I’m off to the USA in a few hours to work in Wingtip Press with a group of artists from Idaho, Utah and Oregon. I’m so excited!!!! On one of the days, I’ll be leading the group in a drawing workshop, using the maniere noire style. The phrase means ‘in the dark manner’ and is usually associated with mezzotint. I learnt this technique from Irish artist, Aoife Layton and I love the way that the image comes out of the darkness. The effect is lush and voluptuous. Mezzotint seems to be making a comeback and there are lots of British printmakers using this technique now. Apart from Aoife, I particularly like Martin Langford, who works in mezzotint, etching and linoblock.

And now I must try and get a bit of sleep because tomorrow is going to be a long day.

A day in the life of a box.

28 Apr

Today’s delightful blog from Doodlemum with Arnie the Cat taking centre stage……


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Drawn In The USA

28 Apr

28 studio

Yeah I know, that’s a cheesy title. But what do you expect from an ageing rock chick??!! In 48 hours I will be in Boise, Idaho, working with a group of artists in Wingtip Press. And I’m getting really nervous now, so I’m checking and double checking my lists and I don’t know how many times I’ve made sure my passport is packed and other obsessive stuff. I’ll be doing loads of drawing when I’m in the USA and I like to draw on pre-coloured paper, so here’s some I prepared earlier. I have a mixture of papers; it’ll be interesting to try out some papers I’ve had for ages and not used before; Bockingford, Arches, Somerset, Aquarelle and WSH. I’ve coloured some of the more robust ones with oil pigment – rhodamine red and yellow ochre – after coating them with gesso first. Others I’ve coated with ink wash and I’ve also included a discarded cyanotype (on Bockingford) that I recycled – that’s the one in the front on the right.

I’m just tying up loose ends here but I’ll probably be faffing around until the last minute and you can bet that once I’m on the coach for Heathrow, I’ll remember something I haven’t packed! I’ll be blogging every day from Boise so you can follow my adventures with rattlesnakes and coyotes. Drawn In The USA is the name of the ‘project’ that I put together for funding from Arts Council Wales, who are contirubuting towards the travel costs.

Ciaou Miaou

26 Apr

26 sparta

Greetings bald monkeys. Sparta Puss here. I have taken control of the pooter box while the apes are out. It’s been a while. The monkeys play with their pooters all the time. Anyway, lots been happening since I last addressed you. I’ve been hunting loads of rats and bringing them in and throwing them at the apes. They’re a bit thick and it took them ages to take the hint. There are rats in the compost bin. Idiots. Anyway,they went and emptied the compost and the biggest rat I’ve ever seen ran out! Too big for me – I scarpered up the wall and watched.

The she-monkey was hilarious. She tried to climb the wall too! And the shrieking! Oh if you’d heard her shrieking you’d have laughed as much as I did. Anyway, the male ape, give him some credit, dispatched the rat quickly, but then he buried it! What’s the point of that? It would have fed the three of us! And Little Ming too. I’ll never get the hang of these moronic monkeys.

The she-monkey has been smearing dirt into a paper book again and she claims that the grubby page above looks like me. Humour her, poor dear. It was when I was sitting on top of the boiler overlooking the garden, my favourite place, being menaced by some tulips. I bit them.

Ciaou Miaou

Sparta Puss

A Lady In Black (Female Nude)

25 Apr

25 tonya

Just got back from this evening’s life drawing session at Swansea Print Workshop. This model is great, full of character with a very complex face. I used a piece of discarded mountboard (matte) that I prepared with 2 coats of acrylic gesso. When it dried I sponged an ink wash randomly across the surface. This evening, I drew the figure directly with a traditional dip pen and Indian ink, then brushed on a mid-tone ink wash before picking out the highlights with a white oil pastel. Finally, I did a small amount of very fine pen linework with a Faber Castell Pitt pen, size S. It took one hour and it’s roughly size A4. Time for bed now……..

The Secret Power of The Senedd

24 Apr

What our First Minister gets up to underneath the Senedd! From Notsogreatdictator Smith, with tongue firmly in cheek.

The Secret Power of The Senedd.

Pressing The Piggah!

24 Apr

23 press

I spent the afternoon at Swansea Print Workshop, inking and pressing a little lino block I’d cut earlier this week. The subject is Arthur, the Mangalitza boar from Pontyates. I forgot to take my digital camera so tried using the camera on my phone. It’s rubbish and really complicated to get the image onto my computer, involving something called Blueray, Husb’s smartphone and emails. I won’t bother again. Anyway, here’s a blurry picture of the magnificent Colombian Press, dating from 1855, with the inked block ready to go.

24 arthur

I’m just in the proofing phase at the moment, tryng out different papers, inks and pressures on the Colombian. This one is printed using Intaglio Printmakers Velvet Black litho ink (oil-based) onto a very white, lightweight Japanese hand-made paper.

Bones And Brown Paper

23 Apr


I like studying anatomy. I love the interface between art and science. Sometimes I get access to a skeleton and scribble happily for hours.


These drawings are on very large sheets of brown wrapping paper, using black, white and sanguine conte crayons. Working on this scale gave me the chance to focus on mark-making rather than doing a scientific illustration.

Feathery Fidgety Fellows

22 Apr


I’m part of an artist collective called Commensalis that aims to organise pop-up exhibitions in quirky places to get our work seen by a good cross-section of people, not only dedicated artanistas. We’ve found a geat mortuary chapel in Bath, UK and we’re busy raising some money through crowd-funding to cover the costs of putting on an artshow as we don’t get any public funding.


It’s the first time we’ve tried this and it’s certainly a learning experience. It works by inviting people to become sponsors and in return they can choose a ‘reward’. We’re 3 weeks in and we’ve raised just over 40% of our target, which is really good, but it’s slowed down a bit over the past few days so we’re taking some of the rewards off the site and putting new ones up.


These are some tiny drawings I did a while back just after Woolworth’s Stores closed. I used to sit in Waterstones cafe opposite our local Woollies and sketch pigeons that quickly colonised the lettering on the building’s facade. Once the store had closed permanently, the signage was no longer illuminated so it was cool enough for the pigeons to sit on. They fidget all the time so it wasn’t easy to draw them!


They’re original drawings in pen onto Cotman watercolour paper, mounted onto Fabriano that I coloured randomly with a metallic acrylic medium. The overall size is approximately 15 cms square and they’re ready for framing. They’re available as rewards from our Commensalis crowdfunding site if you fancy giving one of the little fellows a home 🙂

Nude And Flower

21 Apr

21 mari tattoo

Here’s a life drawing of one of our older models; a retired teacher who is covered with tattoos. I drew her in Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens and black and white conte crayon, onto a piece of mountboard that I’d prepared with a couple of coats of acrylic gesso and then randomly sponged some Indian ink wash. After finishing the figure, I focussed in on one of her tattoos, a pitcher plant, and drew a more detailed study of it. Got a lurgi – so many going around throughout the long, hard winter, so cwtched up in a blanket with Sparta Puss snuggled next to me, sipping Beecham’s Powders. I’m sipping them. Not Sparta. She’s a cat. Must shift the lurgi before I go to the USA, which is only NEXT WEEK!!!!!


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