Archive | February, 2016

The Vastness Of Time

19 Feb

Carreg Jack

I was out and about with archaeologist Dewi Bowen (left) and film maker Melvyn Williams (middle) yesterday, following a Bronze Age route to visit 4 sites of ancient stones. I was planning on drawing them all but this one turned out to be a bit on the short side and I couldn’t get any inspiration from it, to be honest and as it was so cold I didn’t want to stick around and draw it. Sometimes you just don’t find a connection with the subject matter.

Carreg Jack 2

Then I turned round and saw this! The spectacular Llansteffan Castle at the top of the hill. Glorious. So then I started thinking about combining the two images sometime. But not in the cold on the beach in the wind. It’s a sofa job with Adobe Photoshop.

This standing stone is ‘Carreg Fawr Nant Jack‘, which translates from the Welsh as ‘The Big Stone at Jack’s Ford’. Although it looks small now, there’s a lot of it under the sand and in the past it stood on pasture land where it would have been much taller. There’s a huge timescale captured in these two photos. The castle is almost a thousand years old, but was built on the site of a much older Iron Age fort, about another thousand years earlier, and the Bronze Age ‘Carreg Fawr Nant Jack’ could be a couple of thousand years older again.


18 Feb

Maen I Llwydion 3

A great day out today, scrambling across the West Wales countryside with irrepressible archaeologist Dewi Bowen and inquisitive film maker Melvyn Williams, finding ancient burial sites and standing stones and drawing in the mud. This site is called Meini Llwydion (Grey Stones) and it’s near Llangynog in Carmarthenshire. After almost 4 months of rain, the ground was absolutely sodden, despite the bright, dry, sunny weather today. The mud put my new walking boots through their paces and the mud won.

Maen I Llwydion 2

People often assume that artists have an easy time of it, sitting around dabbing a bit of paint in warmth and comfort, but here’s the reality – wrestling with a drawing board in a quagmire! The acres of liquid slurry finally got the better of me and I gave up on the drawing board and loose sheets and I drew into my Daler Rowney ‘Ebony’ sketchbook with a white conte crayon. We’ll be continuing this journey across Bronze Age South Wales intermittently in coming months, as Dewi researches for his new book, Melvyn makes his documentary film and I draw inspiration from my ancestors marks on the environment.


17 Feb


Pentre Ifan

Pentre Ifan

Back in the Autumn last year, Husb and I spend a weekend drawing ancient monuments around Pembrokeshire – in the rain, as ever. This is one I drew at Pentre Ifan, in chalk, charcoal and pastels. I drew it over an existing drawing I made in home-made walnut ink onto antique paper of the St. Paul’s catacombs in Malta. I’m chuffed that this drawing has just been sold from Artfinder and is being rehomed in North Wales. More of my work for sale can be found by clicking on the Artfinder widget on the right hand side of this page.

Tomorrow, I’m going on my travels around West Wales again to draw more ancient sites.

A New Man

16 Feb

Feb 1

Here are some drawings from last week’s life drawing session at Swansea Print Workshop. This is a new model and I find it takes a while to get used to a new person to draw. I did four quick drawings to get used to the pose but it just didn’t click so I switched to drawing the head and tried freeing myself up with the markmaking, tried to get away from my usual rather conservative style.

I used willow charcoal and a white conte crayon into an A2 brown paper sketchbook.

Immense Character

15 Feb

I’ve come to the last of my Baby Boomer drawings for a little while as The SPace, where I have been doing these drawings since November, has now closed at the end of its temporary lease. I need to find a new place to continue the drawings over the next few months. This Baby Boomer has a face of immense character. One of the things I really appreciate about doing these drawings of my generation is seeing a lifetime reflected in these faces, so many stories, so much experience leaving their mark.

I have done 42 drawings so far into my sketchbooks and I have 58 to go to reach my target of 100. Several of my models have suggested that number 100 should be a self portrait, so I guess that’s a good idea. I hate drawing myself though because I frown so much when I’m concentrating, I look really cross.







A Face Of Distinction

14 Feb

Another Baby Boomer sketch and I’m coming to the end of this phase of drawings, with around 40 completed. I’ve been doing them at The SPace in Swansea’s High Street but it’s now closed as our temporary 12 week lease is up, so I’m going to have to find another venue to continue my sketches. I loved doing this drawing, my model has such a distinctive face.


13 Feb

Continuing with my series of 30 minute sketches of Baby Boomers, I am so enjoying making these drawings and having conversations that are informing the future development of my work. I’m using graphite sticks into an A4 spiral bound sketchbook. I recently switched from A5 and the drawings are not so tightly cropped. I’m getting plenty of practice drawing spectacles, they’re getting easier.

Flowing Locks

12 Feb

This is the first profile I’ve drawn in my series of 30 minute sketches of my generation. I generally start out sitting opposite the people who come and pose for me and let people decide for themselves how they’re comfortable and then draw them. This is the first man I’ve drawn with really long hair, which I find unusual considering how so many male Baby Boomers had long flowing locks back in the day. Of course, a lot of them have lost their hair completely. I drew this with a dark grey graphite stick into an A4 spiral bound sketchbook.

Curl Envy

11 Feb

Specs and smile

Another curly-headed Baby Boomer, part of my ongoing ambition to draw contemporaries within the next few months. I’ve been surprised at how many of my models have curls. I always wanted curly hair and spent a fortune on perms in the 1980s and early 90s. Perms don’t look natural though and I really envy those with beautiful natural curls, although many curlytops desperately want straight sleek hair. Drawn with mid-grey and black graphite stick into an A4 spiral bound sketchbook.

The Glamour

10 Feb
The Glamour

The Glamour

Continuing with my series of drawings of Baby Boomers, my latest model is at the top end of the demographic and is now aged 70. I have known her for over 40 years and she is still probably the most glamorous woman I know, always beautifully dressed and groomed, the sort of person who makes heads turn when she walks into a room, not because of outrageous clothes or acres of bare flesh but simply because she oozes sprezzatura, an effortless impression of elegance, confidence and charm. In Celtic mythology, the glamour was a magical ability to weave spells on humans.

I’ve been doing these recent portraits at The SPace on Swansea’s High Street. It’s been a short-term project in partnership between Swansea Print Workshop and Coastal Housing Group and it comes to an end on Saturday. It’s been a lovely venue for doing these portraits and I’m going to have to find somewhere else to draw them from now on, I still have to do about 60 of the 100 I plan to draw. I drew this with a mid-grey graphite stick into an A4 spiral bound sketchbook.

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