Archive | July, 2013

New Tool

22 Jul

Finally caught up with the 21st century and got a tablet, a Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0. Oooh get Me! So now I’m trying to find my way round the drawing apps. This is my first attempt at a digital scribble. Long-suffering Husb manned up as usual. I love playing with new tools.


Norman & Celtic

21 Jul

21 dynefor

Husb and I spent a lovely afternoon in Llandeilo, meeting up with a friend and going for a walk through the woods to the old Dynefwr Castle which dates from the 12th century, Norman times. The heatwave was going full blast and it was really hot by the time we reached the castle so I found a shady spot to sit and scribble. Here’s a bit of it, drawn into my A5 clothbound sketchbook that I’d prepared with ripped parcel paper, drawn with Faber Castell Pitt pens, sizes S, F and B in sepia. I used a bit of Indian ink wash on the shadows and a touch of white conte crayon in the highlights.

21 dynefor 2

We passed though an old overgrown graveyard next to a small chapel and I took a snap of this amazing gravestone, completely carved with Celtic knotwork designs.

OUCH! And Icecream.

20 Jul

20 fortes

Went to Mumbles this morning with Husb and Maminlaw and I FELL OVER! In the street. Just like that with no warning. I don’t know how it happened, but I ended up on the pavement cut, bruised but otherwise no damage except to my pride. There was nothing for it but a medicinal icecream so Husb drove us around the coast to Forte’s icecream parlour in Limeslade where I managed a vanilla wafer. It picked me up a bit and I sketched this, with bruised and bleeding hands, mind! I suffer for my art.

There are still many Welsh / Italian cafes and icecream parlours in South Wales. Many Italians came here during the late 19th century, mostly from the Bardi region, escaping the poverty of farming to try and make a better life as miners. They established a network of cafes, icecream parlours and fish and chip shops. Forte’s is one and still make their own gorgeous icecream to an old family recipe.

Beauty In Death

19 Jul

19 dead crow

Husb and I went to the Mission Gallery’s new show opening tonight and nearly fell over with the heatwave after about 10 minutes so we left and strolled along the seafront on our way home and came across this dead bird. It’s some sort of crow and was fairly recently dead as only a couple of flies had found it. Such a beautiful creature, black and glossy and at repose. Then as we arrived home, some friends arrived and stayed for some ice cold home-made elderflower cordial. It’s so refreshing in this weather. Our friends asked if we’d taken a photo of the bird.

“Ew no!” I said, “that would be weird!”

“And standing around for 10 minutes in public drawing a little corpse isn’t?” they asked.

Hmm. Fair comment. Drawn into my A5 cloth-bound sketchbook, prepared with ripped brown wrapping paper, with Faber Castell Pitt pens, sizes S, F and B in sepia. I added a grey ink wash later.


18 Jul

18 overworked

Just back from life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop (I took a Victoria Sandwich for tea break) and I concentrated on this one long pose. It’s on an A3 canvas sheet, prepared with scribbly oil bar in yellow ochre. I drew with carbon and white oil pastel. It was a nice pose but difficult with both hands and feet – lots of hard work. The right foot is way overworked; I just couldn’t get it right and kept going over it. I should have left it sketchy. Still, there’s enough in it to work from and it will probably be adapted and used in some future work.

On the Head and Shoulders of Giants

18 Jul

More bonkers hilarity from the pen of Notsogreatdictator Smith …… featuring Carwyn Jones’ nipples …. oo-er…..


On the Head and Shoulders of Giants.

Time For Bed

17 Jul

17 musingHad one of those days. Locked myself out of the house this morning, did my admin volunteering at Swansea Print Workshop all afternoon and then went down to the allotment to dig – dug up my garlic. Then I came home and hadn’t done any drawing today so here’s a quickie of Husb at his computer. I drew him from below, using a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen, size F in sepia into an A5 clothbound sketchbook that I’d prepared with ripped brown packing paper, stuck in with Pritt stick. The T shirt was highlighted in white conte crayon. And now I’m off to bed zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Desperate Drawing

16 Jul

16 feet

You know I’m desperate when I blog a drawing of my feet. It means it’s the end of the day, I haven’t done any drawings in my sketchbook, I’m sat in front of the telly feeling guilty because I haven’t done any drawing but I can’t be bothered to move. So I grab my sketchbook and pens from the little table next to my telly-chair and I draw my feet. Great artists like Van Gogh, Durer and Rembrandt did self portraits of their faces. I do self portraits of my feet. But then, they didn’t have telly. And comfy Swedish chairs.

By the way, that’s scribbly cross-hatching on my legs, not hairs.

Ways With Windows

15 Jul

15 window 1

I did some drawing when I was at Walcot Mortuary Chapel in bath last week, using Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens onto recycled Bockingford that I’d prepared with an old tea bag. I decided to experiment and transfer the drawing to a drypoint plate.

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Traditionally, drypoint is an intaglio printmaking technique where the drawing is scratched into copper plate using a hardened steel drypoint tool. But with the wonders of modern technology, it can be done much cheaper and easier using proprietary plastic-coated paper drypoint plates or, as I’ve done here, some cheap, foil-covered card that’s available from craft shops. I scratched the drawing straight into the surface of the card then inked it up as for an etching plate and printed onto dampened Bockingford. I thought it was a bit bland so I did another proof onto some Somerset paper that I’d used some time ago to try and take an embossed print from a bunch of crocosmia stems with their seed heads still on. The seeds stained the paper brown and I like the effect of the drypoint intaglio print overlaid on the top.

Sisters In The Graveyard

14 Jul

14 sisters

Another hot and tiring day. Went up to Bath again to take down the Commensalis exhibition. That week just flew by. We had a ‘closing’ for the show, afternoon tea with lashings of tea and home made Victoria Sandwich. It was very busy but I had a few minutes for a quick sketch and drew these two young sisters dozing in the sun amongst the gravestones.


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