Archive | July, 2015

Colour Reflected

31 Jul

front and back

I did a series of life drawings a while back, doing linework with Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens and using my box of Winsor & Newton half pan artist watercolours to overlay colour washes in a choppy style. I posted one a couple of blogs ago and some people asked to see more. So here you are. There are some large mirrors at Swansea Print Workshop which is great for doing quite extensive drawings with reflections.

A Sculptural Head

30 Jul



Just back from life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop, working with one of our elder models who has a fantastic, expressive face, full of character and experience. I prepared my sketchbook with some ripped brown parcel paper, stuck in with a Pritt stick and drew firstly in a mid grey graphite stick to get the basic proportions right and then worked into it with white conté crayon and dark grey graphite stick. I was quite free and spontaneous with the mark making and I like the result, I think it’s sculptural. This drawing took about 25 minutes.

Watercolour Nude

29 Jul

back view

I don’t often work with paint but now and again I get out my rather lovely box of Winsor & Newton half pan artist watercolours and use them with my Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens, to create colour washes with the line work. I don’t use the watercolours entirely in a ‘traditional’ way, but I tend to use them very choppily, maybe a bit more like gouache.


A Speedy Head

28 Jul


I has a few minutes left at the end of life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop last week so I scribbled the model’s head very quickly on my Samsung Galaxy Tablet Note 8 with the free Markers app.

Working Flat Out

27 Jul

day 1

I’m working flat out for the group exhibition I’m in next month at Oriel Ceri Richards, with Sylvie Evans, collagist and Graham Parker, painter. We’re part of a collective called 15 Hundred Lives and as well as exhibiting together, we do a monthly public access event at the Creative Bubble artspace where we open the doors to anyone who wants to come in and see what it is that artists do all day. It’s our second anniversary at Creative Bubble in August so as well as the exhibition, we’re also putting on a big arty birthday bash. That’s why I’m working flat out!

I’m doing a drawing using the manier noir technique. It’s French for ‘in the dark manner’ but I like to call it Drawing Darkly. Here’s some information about it 🙂

Faces From The Dark

26 Jul


I have some lovely vintage papers and I’m trying out different ways of using them. I used a silkscreen squeegee to randomly coat a few sheets with acrylic paint, firstly in black and when that was dry, overlaid with a translucent bronze. Then I sat and looked at a sheet with a piece of willow charcoal in my hand. I had no idea what to do, I sketched a few lines, rubbed them out with a wetwipe (the acrylic surface wipes clean) and then lightly sketched some ellipses. I picked up a piece of chalk and then the faces began to emerge out of the dark without my bidding.

I don’t normally work from my imagination, usually directly from life, from my sketchbooks and occasionally from photographs, so it’s interesting what emerges without any references. The preparation of the paper and the method of random drawing without a stimulus is a bit like some of the techniques of automatic drawing used by Surrealists to develop their creativity. The painter, Gerhard Richter, also used a squeegee extensively in his work, to apply paint. I like using the squeegee, it’s so random.

Ecstasy And Male Pattern Baldness

25 Jul

male pattern

Husb and I went off to Cardiff last night to the cinema to see Julien Temple‘s new film, The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson, a truly amazing film about the legendary Doctor Feelgood guitarist. Extraordinary. We arrived a bit early so I did some scribbling in the auditorium. There were a lot of men with not much hair so I decided to concentrate on drawing male pattern baldness. Why not, eh? I drew into my leather steampunk sketchbook with a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen, size F.

A Night At Life Drawing

23 Jul


Just back from life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop, the regular Thursday night group and I am shattered, so just a quick blog from me. I focussed on the model’s face, drawing with my Samsung Galaxy Note 8, using a free Markers app. I saved the drawing regularly and put it into the slideshow below to demonstrate the different stages of the drawing.

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And now, goodnight zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Why Life Drawing?

22 Jul


I’m often asked why I do life drawing. Partly it’s because the portrayal of the human form in European art dates back around 40,000 years to cave paintings; partly because I love to study anatomy, it’s complex and I love it; and partly because I was trained in the discipline of regular drawing exercise, which underpins all my art. Even when I veer off into abstract mark making, the practice of many years of life drawing feeds in to what I do.

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I drew this with a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 using a free Markers app, saving regularly to show the different stages of the drawing.

Grow Up, Step Up

21 Jul



I’ve been working on a series of tiny reduction relief prints and last week I printed the first colour. Today I began cutting the second colour from the blocks. This is called the reduction or ‘suicide’ method as you systematically destroy the block leaving no room for error. I was chatting to an experienced etcher today who said he found the reduction method too terrifying. I guess I may be a masochist! It’s a risky business as I don’t work from detailed designs, I do a rough initial drawing straight onto the block and then cut instinctively so I won’t know if it works out until I print the next colour. The temptation is to cut away too much; you can always cut away a bit more once you’ve done a proof print, but you can’t add anything back.


The imagery has been inspired by a visit I made to the Berlin Holocaust Memorial a couple of winters ago. It’s not a slavish copy but an interpretation of what I saw and how I felt about it. My inspiration was strengthened this evening when Husb and I went to the cinema to see ‘Woman In Gold‘, an extraordinary and moving film. My generation grew up with parents and grandparents who had been involved in massive world wars and the aftermath hung over our childhoods. As that generation of elders that fought World War 2 is dying out, there is a terrifying rise of xenophobia across Europe and the responsibility of remembering the horrors of industrial scale murder falls onto the shoulders of we Baby Boomers. We’ve had a privileged existence and now it’s time to grow up, step up and do the right thing. We stand on the shoulders of giants, we mustn’t forget what they fought and suffered for.


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