Archive | April, 2015

Evil Foreshortening (Female Nude)

30 Apr


Just back from life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop. I had a choice of where to sit so, thinking aloud I said, “Shall I sit side on to draw an easier pose or shall I sit front on and do the really nasty foreshortening?” My sadistic fellow artists said, as one, “Front on! Do the foreshortening!” I was daft enough to listen. It was tough.


I started out with large graphite blocks and conte crayon onto a piece of Saunders paper, size A2, but I just couldn’t get the proportions right (bottom drawing). So I turned it over and started again with compressed charcoal and chalk (top drawing). It’s better but the foreshortening was really vicious. Oh well, good practice. It’s top quality paper and I don’t want to waste it so I’ll probably cover it with a layer of white gesso and re-use it, so this blog will eventually be the only record of the drawings.




29 Apr

scribbling sparta

Sparta Puss here. I managed to get my paws on the pooter box again. My trained monkeys are still busy faffing around after the rat I brought in to entertain myself. Turns out the wily rodent is some kind of genius; the stupid simians have nicknamed it Ratstein after some supposedly clever hoomin scientist. As if! It’s managed to set off two traps and grab the food without getting caught so now the hairless apes have borrowed a massive trap from some mates. It’s called The Big Cheese and they think it’ll outwit Super-rat. I caught it with just my paws – WITHOUT opposable thumbs, take note – and it’s been outwitting the monkeys for days.

In between running around shrieking like, well, like a monkey, the she-ape has been daubing dirty sticks onto some nice clean paper and claiming that the resulting mess looks like me. Poor thing. She’s deluded. Idiot.

The Dog House

28 Apr


Greetings hairless apes. Sparta Puss here. It’s been a long time. My trained monkeys have been keeping me away from the pooter box but I managed to distract them for a while. It’s Spring and every year I bring them some rats to play with. Such fun. The she-ape jumps on chairs and squeals and the he-monkey does his soppy liberal thing of trying to shoo the stupid rodent out through a door before giving up and setting traps.

They’ve been curfewing me the past couple of years, locking the catflap throughout the night to try and stop me doing it, but I snuck this one in during the day and let it loose in the kitchen. It was there for days before they realised. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!! It’s great sport. I overheard them saying I’m in the dog house. Seems just like the normal house to me. Which is mine anyway. I’m going to the kitchen now to watch the monkey mayhem.

Ciao Miao 😀

Curry House Quickie

27 Apr



Went out for a belated birthday curry with some of my lovely family this evening, an eat-as-much-as-you-like buffet mmmmmmmnomnomnom. They had a particularly good sag aloo. Of course, I did a quick scribble into my A5 hardbacked sketchbook with my Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens.


26 Apr


It’s been a hectic few days and it won’t let up until tomorrow afternoon, when I think I will go to bed for a few days! I was up in London last Thursday, did loads of things but managed a quick sketch on the Tube. This chap was cat-napping through his evening commute. He was fasto! I know how he feels!

Plumb Tuckered

25 Apr


It’s the end of a long and tiring day, but I managed to finish the manier noir drawing I was working on. And now to bed 😪

Darkly Drawing

24 Apr

Day 1 WP

Spent a happy day at the Creative Bubble artspace in Swansea with the 15 Hundred Lives collective on our monthly public art event. I’m continuing with a series of manier noir drawings inspired by a visit to Berlin a couple of winters back. I saw the Holocaust Memorial under a couple of feet of snow and it was even more powerful and awe-inspiring than normal, throwing stark shadows between the dark stelae like a German Expressionist film set.

I learned the manier noir drawing technique from Irish printmaker Aoife Layton. I started by stretching a large piece of Fabriano Accademica paper on my wall and giving it two coats of acrylic gesso. When it was dry, I scribbled over it with blocks of compressed charcoal and then rubbed it in with my hands to get a fairly even, black surface. I draw with wire wool (steel wool) and fine grade aluminium oxide paper, or sand paper, rubbing away the black to reveal tones of grey and white highlights. It gives a dramatic, sculptural, chiaroscuro effect. The phrase manier noir means ‘in the dark manner’ and is often used to refer to mezzotint prints.

These are three separate drawings; I’m working on one piece of paper because it’s easier to prepare one larger rather then lots of smaller pieces. Eventually I’ll separate them and frame them up, probably in very plain boxy frames, for an exhibition coming later this year.

A Distinguished Head

22 Apr


Here’s another of the 30 minute portrait drawings I did recently at Swansea Museum. Not easy getting a likeness and a reasonable drawing in such a short time and of course I can see everything that’s wrong with it! If I was doing a formal portrait then this would have been the first of several drawings until I got it the way I like it. The sitter is very distinguished looking and I think I captured some of that with the drawing. I used Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens into an A5 ringbound sketchbook.

I’m doing another live drawing day soon with another 7 sitters. It’s part of the ‘museum experience’ I’m doing as part of the 15 Hundred Lives collective which is on until May the 17th.

Stick People

21 Apr


Husb and I spent the last day of our short Belgian break having a wander around Brussels in the unseasonal heat. We stopped under the shade of a tree in a park for a while and watched while a group of young men kicked a ball around. I scribbled them, they moved fast and were very energetic so it was hard to do anything more than contorted stick figures. They remind me a bit of Lowry.

Then I drew the people lazing in the sun. I noticed that many have stooped shoulders and dropped heads because they’re constantly using Smart phones. I used a graphite stick into my A5 hardback sketchbook.

Bruges, Swansea, Leeds.

19 Apr

I can’t get enough of Sir Frank Brangwyn’s work. Here’s another study I did from a drawing at the Brangwyn Museum in Bruges. The original is in charcoal and chalk onto a brown paper. I used four grades of graphite into my A5 hardback sketchbook, much smaller than the original.


These days drawing in this sort of style, early 20th century, tends to be associated with comic book artists, as does the sort of narrative in art that Brangwyn and Klimt practiced. I love comic books and graphic novels as much as I love the Secessionists and German Expressionists. A Facebook friend told me that there’s a lot of Brangwyn’s work in Leeds as well, so if you’re anywhere near there, or Bruges or Swansea, do check out his art. It’s fabulous.

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