Archive | December, 2015

The Beautiful Machine

31 Dec

sewing 1

A while back, I had a small rubber stamp made up from a silkscreen print I did based on the fabulous Frida Kahlo, an artist I admire very much. I printed it onto small leftover pieces of a beautiful Japanese Shiohara paper that I had been using for another print job.

sewing 6

I had been wondering what to do with them and I finally decided on making them up into a self-contained installation that I will be building over the next week.The first stage is to make them more robust  – the Shiohara is a lightweight tissue and won’t take a lot of handling. However, it’s also a well-made natural fibre paper and can be sewn so I made a start by sewing them onto a very robust handmade paper – 300gsm – that I’d bought at the Tate Gallery a few years ago. I’d been wondering what to do with that as well! They really suit each other.

sewing 3

I’m sewing them on an antique Singer sewing machine. It’s Edwardian and dates from around 1904 and it’s a great piece of mechanical engineering as well as being extremely beautiful. It’s so finely balanced, it’s a joy to use. I’ll be carrying on with this in a couple of days, after the holiday.

So a very happy New Year to everyone, I really appreciate you looking in at my blog. Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chi gyd.

 

 

Thank you, Diolch x

30 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog. Thank you, all you people who have subscribed and who read my blog. I really appreciate it and also the comments and feedback I get. Knowing that you are reading it keeps me going. Have a lovely New Year. Blwyddyn newydd Hapus i chi gyd xxxxxx

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 33,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 12 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

 

Out Of The Gloom

29 Dec

window 2

I’m ploughing on with atmospheric sketches based on digital photos from the old church in Swansea that I visited a few weeks ago. I’m trying to keep it as minimal as possible, with more black than white, emphasising the chiaroscuro. I’m using conte crayon into an A4 ‘Ebony’ sketchbook by Daler Rowney. I took the photos on my Samsung phone and downloaded them into Adobe Photoshop where I did a bit of tweaking to bring up the black balance, then I drew from the adjusted photos.

Chiaroscuro In A Doorway

28 Dec

door

After a bit of a break for Xmas and too much good food and gallivanting, it’s head down for a bit more serious work. I’m carrying on with my series of small drawings from photos taken in the old church recently, using the simplest of materials, white conte crayon into an A4 Daler Rowney ‘Ebony’ sketchbook. I’m trying to explore atmospheric mark making and get out of my comfort zone, which is a fine pen into a little sketchbook. These drawings emphasise chiaroscuro and I hope they’ll eventually lead to some more finished work in manier noir style drawings or even some mezzotints. These interiors remind me a bit of German Expressionist film sets, one of my favourite periods of art and printmaking.

Wellies And Woods

27 Dec

chelray

This afternoon, Husb and I went for a family walk in the gorgeous Penllergare Woods, just north of Swansea. It’s a spectacular Victorian garden, established by the photography pioneer John Dillwyn Llewellyn, that is being restored to its former glory. He had the valley of the Afon (River) Llan landscaped in the ‘Picturesque‘ style.

twin trunks

I took some photos and did a quick scribble of two of my young nieces in their wellies. It was an overcast and occasionally drizzly afternoon and the sky looked bleached out.

waterfall

The river was very high because of the recent torrential rains and the waterfall was much more fierce than normal. Penllergare Woods is well worth a visit, there are miles of beautiful walks and a very nice tea room with home made cakes. It’s a trust run by volunteers and relies on the support of visitors to keep it going.

reflect

Little Lou Lou

26 Dec

loulou

Husb and I visited relatives today and met the latest little addition to the family, a naughty Tortie called Lou Lou. She’s about 5 months old, shorthaired and looks like there’s some Siamese in her. She’s very leggy with big ears and a long nose and huge saucer eyes all wrapped up in a brindled tortoiseshell fur coat. And of course she’s made of tightly wound elastic bands with an uncanny ability to run up curtains.  I scribbled into my little ‘Cat’s Meow Journal’ by Peter Pauper Press, it’s lovely to carry around with me, just the right size to be portable with a strong elastic band to hold it closed and a gorgeous cover of cat cartoons. The drawings were very quick, she doesn’t stay still for long.

 

Cats, Moon, Sonic Screwdriver

25 Dec

Xmas moon

It’s been a very drizzly day and there’s thick cloud this evening so there’s no sign of the Xmas Full Moon, so here’s a photo of the Xmas Eve nearly-full moon that we saw last night bouncing up over the rooftops opposite.

2015 Xmas

And first thing this morning, Sparta Puss and Ming The Merciless wouldn’t let us sleep a bit longer. They insisted on waking us up at 7am for their breakfast as usual. No chance of a holiday lie-in.

sonic screwdriver

My absolute favourite Xmas present – a River Song sonic screwdriver. I’ve wanted one for years and I’ve been hinting and finally the hints sunk in and Husb gave me this. I waved it around liberally during the Doctor Who Xmas Special this afternoon, flashing the lights and making sonic screwdriver noises at appropriate moments. Oh joy!!!!

Xmas Day

And finally, a quick daily scribble, Husb watching the TV. We haven’t set foot out of the door all day, just slobbed around, watching TV, cooking (I made a lemon-layered pudding from my favourite 1970s cookbook), eating (dear Mother-in-Law gave us a large box of cheeses – top prezzy) and pandering to the cats.

I hope everyone has had a nice relaxing holiday and had lovely presents.

And Now For Something Completely Different!

23 Dec

knitting

Or a change is as good as a rest. I’m arted out! I wanted to have a break so I started knitting. I’m making some fingerless mittens, very useful for someone who does a lot of outdoor scribbling in all weathers. You can find the pattern here, from another blogger, Crafty Little Sewnsew. I’m using some lovely natural wool from the gorgeous Trefriw Woollen Mill in North Wales, which uses water from the River Crafnant to drive the turbines to weave beautiful traditional Welsh tweed. It’s been operating for nearly 2 centuries, most of that time it’s been owned by the same family. Sparta Puss has been helping me. Not!

Nothing Fancy

22 Dec

stripped back

Another vista from the old church, a spooky corridor beyond a heavy door. It was a dark and rainy day when I took the photos, no artificial light and precious little natural light which added to the atmospherics of the place. I decided not to use a flash because I wanted the deep shadows and high contrast, the effect of chiaroscuro. I used the simplest materials – a small white conte crayon into a Daler Rowney spiral bound A4 Ebony sketchbook. Nothing fancy.

And A Cranny

21 Dec

cranny

Yesterday I drew a nook in the old church and today I drew a cranny. I was lucky enough to be able to take some photographs in an early 20th century church a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been drawing from them using white conte crayon into my Daler Rowney Ebony sketchbook. It’s pulling me away from my usual reliance on fine, detailed line and into intangibles, atmospheres and emotions. I’m so enjoying it and getting ideas for manier noir drawings and mezzotint etchings. I’ll be doing a lot more of these sketches I think, I’m finding it very stimulating.

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