Archive | May, 2015

The Bird Is Back!

31 May

richard bath 3

Richard The Bird has come back for a holiday. His trained monkeys are off on their travels again so he’s having a vacation with us and the kittehs. He has already established who’s boss and we hairless apes are definitely bottom of the pecking order. He’s just taken a bath in his waterbowl and pelted me with some of his nuts and a piece of mango. Ming the Merciless is nonplussed, nothing distracts her from the boiler and the food bowl. Sparta Puss is prowling around looking for a way to get into his cage, but it’s built like Fort Knox. So I’m expecting some animal mayhem over the next few weeks.

I managed a couple of quick scribbles with graphite into my A5 hardbacked sketchbook. It’s a bit disconcerting because most animals (except cats) don’t like being stared at, which is necessary for drawing them. But this one stares straight back at me!

Live To Draw Again!

30 May


This is a 10 minute sketch of fellow artist Chris Harrendence who is one of the 4 members of The Plebeian Scribblers and we spent a day last weekend doing ‘live’ drawing in Fringe Arts Bath. We had a set amount of time split into 10-minute slots. Once 10 minutes was up, we changed position and went onto another 10-minute drawing. We did 10 drawings each, quite a body of work for one day. It was boiling hot and very tiring but worth it. We had loads of people stopping and looking at what we were doing, we’re all very committed to taking art out of white cubes and into public spaces. The other Plebeian Scribblers are Patricia McKenna-Jones and Melvyn Williams.

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I used a selection of graphite sticks and Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens into an A4 hardbound Daler Rowney sketchbook. It’s a challenge to work in such a formal way, normally I cast around and choose what I want to draw carefully, but this time we were given a specific street to work in and we had choreographed our positions so we had to draw whatever was in front of us during each 10 minute stint. Sometimes I was just looking at a shop window full of advertising and merchandise, so I did a couple of drawings of reflections and some of adverts, not normally what I’d choose to do. We all thought it was worthwhile though so The Plebeian Scribblers might live to draw again!


Käthe And The Clothes Horse

29 May

kathe final 2

I printed up and the two silkscreens I have been working on for the last week or so. I’m doing some editions from drawings I made of some of my favourite artists starting with Suzanne Valadon and Käthe Kollwitz. They’re small enough to print at home, if they were large I’d have booked the vacuum press at Swansea Print Workshop. I improvised a drying rack with my clothes horse. It worked perfectly well. I’m making a series of these to take to the London Art Car Boot Fair in a couple of weeks, I’m aiming to do eight artists. I’ve never taken my work to anything like this before so I don’t know what to expect. Exciting though.

We have some family sprogs on a sleepover tonight so I made a huge amount of pancakes. There seems to be no limit to the amount of pancakes that small children can eat. They like weird fillings. I’m old school – lemon and sugar will do me. The sprogs however are far more adventurous – cockles, duck and maple syrup went into one, duck, honey and lemon into another. And they want more for breakfast!

From Idaho to Ynyshir

29 May

A great artblog from Melanie Ezra with news of an international miniature print show that has travelled from the North West USA to The Rhondda Valley

From Idaho to Ynyshir.

Best Chips In Dyfed

28 May

best chips

Husb and I took off in the car and headed into West Wales today, through the fleshpots of Lampeter and the mean streets of Aberaeron, all the way to Aberystwyth to see the Shani Rhys James retrospective at the National Library of Wales. It’s a fair old journey so we stopped for a bit of dinner at Lloyds in Lampeter, who advertise “the best chips in Dyfed”. They were well tidy and they were served with the best mushy peas I have ever tasted and two very tasty faggots with onion gravy. I had a quick scribble of the elderly lady on the next table who ate her chips with one hand and held her newspaper in the other.

Shani’s exhibition is fabulous; there’s only a couple more days left but a lot of the work will be appearing in a new show at the Millenium St. Ives in Cornwall soon.

Cat Face – my drawing on video

28 May

Here’s a short video of my drawing of Sparta Puss, step by step. It’s a digital drawing done on a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 with a free Markers app. I saved the drawing frequently and then Husb edited it together on Adobe Premiere Pro with a free soundtrack from Purple Planet.

She was in a strop when I drew her and kept staring at me, which was great for sketching but I don’t know what I did to offend her. But that’s the story of my life.

Kathë and Suzanne – First Proofs

27 May

First proofs

I’ve been working on silkscreen portraits of artists Kathë Kollwitz and Suzanne Valadon and today I printed the first proofs.

I wasn’t sure which paper to use so I did proofs on four different printmaking papers, one an acid free cartridge and three vintage papers by Saunders and Co. I used Daler Rowney System 3 black acrylic ink mixed with screen printing medium, one third pigment to two thirds medium. The good thing about acrylic ink is that it’s washable so it was easy to clean the screen afterwards.

Tomorrow, in daylight, I’ll take a close look at the proofs and make a final decision on which paper I’ll use for printing the editions and get cracking on them. Over the next couple of weeks, I intend to do 8 silkscreen portraits of my favourite artists.

Telling A Story

26 May


Sometimes when I’m out scribbling on the street, a story unfolds. There were three elderly people sitting on a bench in Bath last Saturday enjoying the street artists in A FAB Intervention when a woman wandered over to them and started talking in a very animated way. That made the drawing more interesting for me to do and made for a better composition. I used a grey graphite stick into my A4 hardbacked sketchbook.

I was in Bath as part of The Plebeian Scribblers, a group of 4 artists who draw in public. We stood in a square formation facing outwards and drew what was in front of us for 10 minutes, then the timer went off and we each turned 90 degrees to the right and drew for another ten minutes. This was repeated twice more (forty minutes in all) then we had a break for half an hour because it was BOILING, hottest day of the year so far! We did two more stints during the afternoon, I was shattered by the end.

Hot And Sweaty Scribbling

25 May


Here’s a sketch I did out on the street in Bath last Saturday as part of Fringe Arts Bath. I drew throughout the afternoon with The Plebeian Scribblers, a group of 4 artists from South Wales who draw in public. We took a timer and changed position every 10 minutes so each sketch is time limited. It’s a challenge to draw crowds of people on the move and locate people within the cityscape with fairly accurate proportions. I drew into my A4 hardbacked sketchbook with a grey graphite stick.

It was brilliant sunshine, the first day of a long Bank Holiday weekend and Bath is a very popular tourist destination anyway so it was hot, sweaty and teeming with people. And The Plebeian Scribblers wear a uniform of boiler suits or bib’n’braces which made me a bit hot and sweaty too! Bath is a great place to visit, loads of history, lovely architecture, great shopping and very, very quirky. This is a book about Bath (The Naked Guide To Bath) written by the brilliantly named Gideon Kibblewhite and it’s one of the best I’ve read about the place.

Car Park In Cardiff

24 May

simon dark

Husb and I went to the Art Car Bootique in a car park in Cardiff today, mainly to visit Dylan’s Mobile Bookstore featuring guest artist Simon Dark. I stopped for a few minutes to scribble Simon as he created some of his stencil art about authors – Dylan Thomas, William Burroughs, Edgar Allen Poe, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and my all-time favourite, Hunter S. Thompson. The place was packed out and buzzing and we met lots of lovely people and had loads of conversations. That’s one of the best things in life, chatting to friends.


We spent the previous day in Bath, drawing as part of a live art group, The Plebeian Scribblers, in vivid sunshine and today’s event was bright and sunny too so I think we’ve built up our Vitamin D reserves after the long Winter and miserable Spring. I hope this weather stays throughout the Summer, or at least for tomorrow’s holiday Monday.

I drew with black and grey graphite sticks, white Conte crayon and Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens into an A4 hardbacked sketchbook that I had prepared with ripped bits of brown wrapping paper stuck on with Pritt Stick. The sketch took about 4 minutes.


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