Archive | October, 2013


21 Oct


We have some little relatives staying overnight so there’s a scribbling opportunity while they watch cartoons. Unfortunately, they’re really hard to draw, with weird heads and ridiculously oversized eyes. I did a couple of digital sketches of the 6 year old but I don’t think either looks like her.


But that’s the way it goes. You can’t expect to do a good drawing every time, the important thing is to keep practicing. I hope that I can get a good likeness before she grows up.

Window Dressing

20 Oct

window 2

I’ve spent a couple of days working with the 15 Hundred Lives art group on a big draw at the Creative Bubble artspace in Swansea’s City Centre. We were joined by a number of artists, art students and members of the public as we drew over cardboard-covered walls. It was a challenge to draw on cardboard and I found it frustrating at first, I just couldn’t get to grips with what I’d planned. But then I gave up and decided to go with the flow of the materials and started pulling bits of the cardboard open along the folds. I put drafting film into the spaces and drew spooky faces onto them. It looks a bit like a sinister advent calendar now. But with Halloween coming up it sort of works. I drew the main figure from a sketch of a ‘sagger’ that I’d made some time ago and the spooky faces from sketchbook scribbles I made during Disruption II, a performance art event in Swansea back last year. There’s also work from Graham Parker and Daniel Leek in this window.

other window

At the end of the 2 days, we cut the cardboard up and put some of the images in the windows. It’ll stay there until our next event in November. The window above includes work by Jenny Chisholm, Viv Howell, Sylvie Evans, Chris Harrendence and Lucy Read, amongst others. Creative Bubble has given our artgroup the use of the premises for two days a month up to Xmas. We’re running events called ‘What Do Artists Do All Day?‘ so that people can wander in and see us at work and see what it takes to produce a piece of art from scratch. This month we had guest artist Jenny Chisholm and we hope to have a different guest artist each time, to show a range of artistic disciplines.

window 1


18 Oct

rose 1

Work in progress on a very big drawing at the Creative Bubble artspace where there’s a 2-day Big Draw going on. This figure is based on a quick sketch I did recently of a ‘sagger’, you know, those lads who wear their trousers almost around their knees. I’ll be adding some more figures tomorrow.  I’m working in the window, shame to waste the space.

Pink Plaster

17 Oct


Here’s a digital drawing I made from a photograph. I like to draw people on the street but sometimes they move too quickly and I need to take photos for reference. I’m going to be working on a large drawing at the Creative Bubble shop in the city centre tomorrow and Saturday and I want to do a number of figures. I’ve been practicing and here’s one of the figures. He was walking briskly despite his crutches and his leg plaster was bright pink.

In the background is a mural of pink hearts representing Swansea City Council’s Cwtch the Bid, the campaign to make Swansea the city of culture in 2017.

More prelims

16 Oct


I’m working on a preliminary series of 4 reduction monotypes. These are not final pieces; they’re stages on the way of deciding what works and what adaptations are needed before I do the final pieces. Unusually, I’m working from photographs as my starting point. I’ve taken a photo of one of the graffiti-covered industrial ruins in the Lower Swansea Valley and I’ve digitally merged it with a drawing I did from a photo I took a couple of years ago. I’m working on incorporating my own graffiti into the pieces but I’m a long way from perfecting it yet. Graffiti lettering is much harder than I was anticipating and it’s also difficult to render in the medium, reduction monotype, where I’m working with negative space using a cotton bud to remove the ink on the plate. But I’m getting there.

I used black litho/relief ink mixed 60:40 with thick plate oil ontop a perspex 12″ square plate printed onto a creamy T.H. Saunders hand made paper, around 140gsm, using cotton buds (Q Tips), scrim, cotton rags, cocktail sticks (toothpicks) and wooden kebab skewers to do the mark-making.

Princess Pea

15 Oct

15 princess 2

I spent several happy hours at a friend’s smallholding today, up a mountain, out in the fresh air and sunshine, shovelling horse manure! I also hung around while she fed her delightful pea fowl. Most of them are adults but there is one little chick. I’ve nicknamed her Princess Pea.  The adults are huge; Princess Pea is about the size of a Sunday roast chicken. Her parents have elegant headresses but hers is like a stubby Mohican! It was great to have a chance to draw birds up close; for me it emphasises their dinosaur-like qualities. They’re not easy to draw though; like other birds, they don’t stop moving and speed sketching is unavoidable.

15 princess 1

After a while they became very agitated and started making a strange sound that they use to warn of predators.  I suppose that predators would stare at them like I do. I’ve found that dogs don’t like me drawing them either, probably because of the staring, but I’ve yet to find a cat that was bothered. Drawn into my Laura Ashley cloth-bound A5 sketchbook with a Faber Castell Drawing pen size S in sepia.

Big Banners

14 Oct

oppsFor the past few weeks, I’ve spent a couple of afternoons at a local drugs project, working with service users and volunteers to make banners for their Open Day. They’ve been on a series of educational courses and the project wanted banners to reflect this so we started by asking the service users to come up with a list of words that represent their feelings about the programme. We used ‘Achievement; Reachable; Opportunities; Confidence and Purpose’ and also included the name of the programme, ‘Links Coastal’.

I sourced some very cheap rolls of primed canvas, about 2 x 8 feet, in a local cut-price store and Swansea Print Workshop donated a load of used acrylic paints that had been mixed with screenprint medium; this made them very easy to use.We did a practice session on the first afternoon using cheap chalky pastels and sheets of newspaper stuck together and then chose the best designs to reproduce onto the canvas. I really like the results, they should look fab when they’re put up on the project walls.

The Hat Party

13 Oct


We’re in Bath at a friend’s birthday party. It’s a hat party. His little boy has the best hat. Here it is. Now, let’s party!!!!

Still Trying….

10 Oct


Just got back from the life drawing session at Swansea Print Workshop and I’m still persevering with digital drawing on my Galaxy Tablet. The first pose took about 40 minutes and the head was a quickie, about 10 minutes. I used the Magic Marker app.



9 Oct

hashtag 2

I spent the afternoon at Swansea Print Workshop, doing some preliminary studies for a small series of work I want to finish by the end of the month. I’ve been doing some sketches and photographs and I developed a working drawing from these. I scanned and printed it out to fit one of my perspex monotype plates and today I inked the plate in a black litho oil-based ink and did a reduction monotype. The photo above shows me drawing into the ink – I’m using scrim there but I also use cotton buds (Q Tips) and cocktail sticks (toothpicks) to make marks.


hashtag 1

Once I finished drawing, I dampened a piece of WSH & Co British Handmade Paper and took a print on the giant Radcliffe Press using a collagraph setting. I’m not sure if this paper is still manufactured, the only reference I can find to it online is of a handmade book from 1927. I was given some by a kindly benefactor and I tried it out today. It’s a beautiful wove paper but I think it may have been too textured for this technique; I normally use a very smooth paper like Zercall.

I don’t normally do preliminary prints; I generally work straight from a drawing but the series I’m planning has quite complex imagers so I’m going to press on and do a few more prelim prints to iron out any wrinkles before I start in on the major full-colour monotypes.

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