Archive | January, 2018

An Extraordinary Face

31 Jan

Eddie Ladd

I know I’ve been banging on about Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero, but it’s a big deal for me and I was beside myself when I went to the official launch last week. There I was , a scruffy urchin from a council estate, hobnobbing with the great and the good in the arts and it was a bit overwhelming, to be honest. One of the many highlights of the day was sitting opposite the wonderful Welsh actor, Eddie Ladd. It turns out that she and I have been Twitter chums for some time, but we use different names so I didn’t realise until the day of the launch. Of course, I couldn’t resist having a scribble. I didn’t have much time and it’s not the best likeness, but practice makes perfect, eh? Eddie has an extraordinary face and I hope to draw her again, but with a bit more time.

Here’s a brief film of the commissioned work I have done for Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero.

The Essential Elements

30 Jan

WW1

 

I went to the launch of ‘Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero’ last Friday. I was besides myself with excitement! But I still had a scribble. I usually do. This young actor, Mathew Prichard, in World War 1 uniform stood to attention throughout the launch. I drew him in my A4 brown paper sketchbook from Seawhites of Brighton using black and white conté crayons. It was tough getting the hat right, hats are hard! But I’m pleased with the result, I worked very quickly, capturing the basic details of the face, the essential elements.

 

 

 

The launch event featured a short film about me and my model, David, by filmmaker George Morris, here it is below…..

 

 

“Nawr Yr Awr \ Now The Hero is an immersive theatrical experience that will take the audience on an extraordinary journey through three intertwining narratives of war; from Celtic history, the First World War, and today’s conflicts. 

Drawing on an epic poem, some rejected paintings, and an intimate portrait of a Swansea soldier serving today,  Marc Rees’ bold production brings the stories of war to life, but counterpoints the tragic telling with hope.”

The Ghost

29 Jan

Darkness 2 ghost

I work a lot with a three-colour monotype technique that produces a full colour unique artwork on a sheet of paper (BFK Rives 250gsm). Then I put a second sheet of paper onto the plate and put it through the press again to take a second print with the ink (Caligo Safe Wash) that’s left to give a fainter ‘ghost’ monotype. Apparently the artists Degas and Monet used to work over their ghost monotypes with oil pastels, but I generally leave mine as they are because I like the way the oil-based inks break up in a very Impressionistic way. I also like the contrast with the full colour first proof.

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Detail from a ghost monotype

This is the ghost of “The Darkness”, a work commissioned as part of Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero….

“…. an immersive theatrical experience that will take the audience on an extraordinary journey through three intertwining narratives of war; from Celtic history, the First World War, and today’s conflicts.

Drawing on an epic poem, some rejected paintings, and an intimate portrait of a Swansea soldier serving today, Marc Rees’ bold production brings the stories of war to life, but counterpoints the tragic telling with hope.”

Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero was launched last week and will culminate at the end of September in Swansea with a festival weekend in and around the historic Brangwyn Hall.

The gestation of this work is the subject of this short film by George Morris and it shows the process from initial drawing to finished monotype via the fascinating vintage printing presses at Swansea Print Workshop.

It’s All About The Process

28 Jan
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Detail of “The Darkness”

I am so fortunate to have worked with the artist Marc Rees, filmmaker George Morris and my long-term life model, David Williams, to create a unique monotype for the “Now The Hero / Nawr Yr Arwr” art happening / event / extravaganza that will climax at the end of September. I worked from one of the drawings I did in the Brangwyn Hall (see yesterday’s post) using one of the fabulous antique presses at Swansea Print Workshop.

Darkness 2

I used a monotype process similar to that used by Impressionist artists Monet and Degas. If you want to find out more, check out the process in my “Techie Stuff” section here. It’s called the three colour reduction monotype technique and it’s a complex process. The final monotype took a full day’s work at the print workshop. A long day, too.

You can see the process and the inside of the print workshop in George’s film below. It’s a very honest reflection of the relationship between an artist and model, where inspiration comes from and also the technical processes we use.

Nawr Yr Awr \ Now The Hero is an immersive theatrical experience that will take the audience on an extraordinary journey through three intertwining narratives of war; from Celtic history, the First World War, and today’s conflicts.

Drawing on an epic poem, some rejected paintings, and an intimate portrait of a Swansea soldier serving today, Marc Rees’ bold production brings the stories of war to life, but counterpoints the tragic telling with hope.”

Start At The Beginning

27 Jan

working drawing 1

Six months ago I had the privilege of working with my model, David who I’ve been working with for 10 years, the artist Marc Rees and filmmaker George Morris. On the first day I drew David in The Brangwyn Hall, which is an amazing place, built in the 1930s for the magnificent Brangwyn panels. On the first day I drew David, who was nude – we had screens around us as The Brangwyn Hall is a public space. I used newspaper and brown packing paper with chalks, charcoal and conté crayons and did about half a dozen drawings. This is where it all starts. I used newspaper and brown paper because these are working drawings, not finished pieces and if I’d used expensive, hand-made paper I would have been inhibited. At the end of the day I chose this drawing to turn into a monotype over the next couple of days.

George has produced a short film of our experience. I’m gobsmacked at how he’s edited such a cool film from three days of footage. Please check it out here….

 

 

“Nawr Yr Awr \ Now The Hero is an immersive theatrical experience that will take the audience on an extraordinary journey through three intertwining narratives of war; from Celtic history, the First World War, and today’s conflicts. 

Drawing on an epic poem, some rejected paintings, and an intimate portrait of a Swansea soldier serving today,  Marc Rees’ bold production brings the stories of war to life, but counterpoints the tragic telling with hope.”

 

The Lord, The Warrior And The Welsh Cake

26 Jan

It’s been an exciting day. I shook hands with a lord, hung out with a Celtic warrior, sipped tea and ate a Welsh cake in an art deco temple in Swansea, and watched a film about my model and me. Here it is….

I’ve been involved in this expansive art project, Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero for some time but couldn’t say anything until the official launch today. I’ll be working mostly on this body of work for the next 9 months …….

Darkness 1

I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow……..

“Nawr Yr Awr \ Now The Hero is an immersive theatrical experience that will take the audience on an extraordinary journey through three intertwining narratives of war; from Celtic history, the First World War, and today’s conflicts. 

Drawing on an epic poem, some rejected paintings, and an intimate portrait of a Swansea soldier serving today,  Marc Rees’ bold production brings the stories of war to life, but counterpoints the tragic telling with hope.”

 

On A Roll

25 Jan

 

poet

 

Sometimes I struggle to pull out my sketchbook and do a scribble every day, other times I’m on a roll, like I was the other night when Husb and I went to The Moon in Cardiff for an evening of rap, hip hop, beatbox, poetry and more at the launch of Rufus Mufasa‘s album, “Fur Coats From The Lion’s Den”. She is really an amazing poet and performer so please check out her album on YouTube and if you like what you hear, please buy a copy as it’s so hard for creatives to make a living.

 

I did a load of sketches that evening as people went up on stage and I got so absorbed in scribbling that I didn’t get the names of them all, so if anyone recognises this poet, please let me know. He’s got a great face.

Flourishes And Scribbles

24 Jan

 

Nina Simone small

 

I’m working on a collaboration with fellow artist, Unity. It’s in the early stages yet but I hope to have more to show in a couple of weeks. We’re basing the work on women artists who have influenced us and I’m starting off with some sketches from photographs of the list of people we came up with.  My collaborator nominated the amazing singer, songwriter and civil rights activist, Nina Simone. Sourcing an image to use was interesting because when you’re looking at someone who was artistically and politically active throughout a long life, you have to decide which stage of that life to represent. Also, working from photos means that you are using an image that has already been conceived by someone else, which is weird for me because I normally draw directly from life. So the dilemma for me is how to put my stamp on it and that comes down to the mark-making. I’m not doing a photo-realist piece as that would just be copying someone else’s vision. So I’m abstracting from the image in front of me and using the graphite to make flourishes and scribbles which focus attention on the marks themselves as well as the illustrious subject. This is my first attempt. I’m going to try abstracting some more, I think.

Sketching And Stretching

23 Jan

2018 beatbox tangent

I was scribbling in the dark at a venue called The Moon in Cardiff last week at an evening of performers of words and music gathered there by Rufus Mufasa at the launch of her album. Of course I had to have a scribble….. Here’s Beatbox Tangent who was moving so fast that a lot of the drawing was done very quickly, focusing on generalisations rather than details. Working like this, the drawings often look a bit stretched. It’s hard to draw in the dark, but good practice.

 

 

The Hairiest Man

22 Jan

hairy man 1

 

Another drawing from the Cardiff gig last week, the launch of Rufus Mufasa’s album, “Fur Coats From The Lion’s Den”. This is Steve Andrews, possibly the hairiest man I’ve ever seen and also a fantastic musician.

hairy man 2

 

 

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