Archive | March, 2018

Abstracting The Falls

31 Mar

aberdulais 2

Here’s the second drawing I did at Aberdulais Falls. It’s a picturesque place that has been immortalised in art over some centuries, even being painted by Turner himself. There no way I can compete with Turner so I looked for the abstraction in nature to focus on. I sort of squinted a bit to make my vision slightly fuzzy and concentrated on drawing the shapes I saw as the falls tumbled away below me. I used firm upright and diagonal lines to represent the rocks and cliffs and freer, more squiggly lines for the water, in white, sanguine and black conté crayons into my A4 brown paper sketchbook.

Before The Deluge

30 Mar

aberdulais 1

It’s a Bank Holiday and rain is forecast so Husb and I got out of the house before the deluge started and went off to Aberdulais Falls for a bit of a walk, some historical instruction and to do a quick scribble or two. I used white, sanguine and black conté crayon into my spiral bound A4 brown paper sketchbook from Seawhites of Brighton. I worked very quickly as it is still quite cold, just getting down the basic details of the scene. Then off to the cafe in the old schoolroom to warm up and have a cup of tea and slice of bara brith.

Crazy Hair, Don’t Care

29 Mar

crazy hair dont care

I’ve been working on this painting for a little while, I rarely paint but this is a birthday present for my dear young nephew, just turned 14 and the owner of some very unruly hair. I painted this from a photograph which I particularly like for its typical teenage insouciance.

I used Liquitex Heavy Body acrylic thinned with water into translucent glazes, which I overlaid, rather like painting with watercolour. It’s painted onto a stretched, gessoed white canvas.

More BogArt

28 Mar

ew knows

More BogArt! The interesting and quirky Cinema & Co in Swansea is more than just a place that shows films, it is a space for comedy, music and art as well. The exhibitions in the main cinema change monthly but there is a great bit of exhibition space in the cinema’s two toilets (also known as the Bogs in British slang). So owner Anna Redfern offered me the space to curate BogArt and I jumped at the chance. It’s a captive audience for the art, after all. The one above is a mixed media piece, based on an original life drawing, called “I Knows ‘Ew Luvs Me Cos ‘Ew Buys Me Chips” which is a bit of a joke here in Swansea….

holocaust

And the one in the smaller bog is an ink drawing on Mylar film, inspired by my wintry visit to Berlin in the snow, where I saw the Holocaust Memorial under a layer of soft whiteness.

Crafty Cat

27 Mar

Sometimes I want to do something, keep my hands occupied, but I’m arted out, so I settle down to do a bit of crafting. Art is hard work for me, crafting, like baking, is very relaxing. I made a stack of origami lilies which will end up on a string of LED lights as fairy lights. I got the instructions from the new BBC series, MAKE! Craft Britain where this guy demonstrated a couple of different origami models. Just after I photographed them, Sparta Puss threw them on the floor. Because that’s what cats do.

Number 96

26 Mar

Voogd V 96

 

Almost three years ago, I decided to draw one hundred, thirty-minute sketches of Baby Boomers, people of my generation. I thought it would take me about a year. Wrong! Funny how life gets in the way. I did most of them in 2 years but got stuck on the last handful; it has been so hard to find mutually convenient times. So today I was delighted to draw Number 96! This is a fellow artist visiting from the USA, who is staying with friends nearby. She’s the right age and willing, so I paid her a visit, with home made cake (a jam and buttercream sponge, with home-made loganberry jam – home grown loganberries too) and had a chat about her life experience as a Baby Boomer and then drew her. It was interesting to talk with someone from a different culture because although we are the same generation, much of our experience has been very different.

Baby Boomers are the generation born between 1946 and 1964, a big bump working its way through time.  Eventually, I’m planning an installation featuring all the drawings I’ve done, but that’s a long way off yet. First of all, I have to get the last 4 Boomers into a room and draw them.

Layering

24 Mar

detail 3

I’ve been carrying on painting, I don’t normally paint but this is for a special someone. I don’t really know how to approach paint so I’ve come at it from the point of view of the printmaker that I am and I’m adapting a technique I use for monotypes, where I layer translucent glazes of yellow, red and blue, creating all the colours from the interplay of these colours on top of each other, adapted by the intensity of the brushstrokes. I think, if I remember correctly, that the Impressionists did something similar, they didn’t mix their colours before application to the canvas.

The monotype technique I use was taught to me by USA-based artist/printmaker Vinita Voogd, if you want to see how I do it please click here to my Tecchie section.

A Grand Night Out

23 Mar
Kathe

Image: Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945), Self-portrait with hand against cheek (before July 1906) © The Trustees of the British Museum

So this evening, Swansea was buzzing with crowds of arty types milling between no less than 5 galleries opening exhibitions on the same night. I dropped into the effervescent Galerie Simpson to start with, then up to the magnificent Glynn Vivian Art Gallery for the opening of “Portrait Of The Artist – Käthe Kollwitz”. I’ve been desperate to see this show, which had been at Ikon in Birmingham last year, in partnership with the British Museum and supported by the Dorset Foundation. She is one of my heroes and I love her work so much. I’m a total fangirl.

According to the gallery, “Kollwitz’s unique artistic talent, her technical prowess and intelligence, and above all her humanity, can be seen in this exhibition. There is much about the life and work of Kollwitz that instils hope, that is inspiring and life affirming, despite the burden of hardship and sorrow carried by so many of her figures and by herself. Her emphasis was often on what was distinctive about women’s experience, including the fundamental nature and potency of maternal love. She believed that art could be a force for good in society.”

And there’s a book! I had to have it. The exhibition carries on until the 17th of June and I might be running a weekend printmaking masterclass there, linked to the exhibition……. It’s worth a trip to Swansea to see this and the other shows on at the moment at Galerie Simpson, Volcano, Mission Gallery and Elysium, but not on Mondays.

 

 

 

Off And On

22 Mar

collage 1

Sometimes the ideas flow and I don’t have enough hours in the day to get them down onto paper, other times I struggle for inspiration, ideas fall flat and I find it hard to do any artwork. Like many other artists, I have strategies to try and get through these lean times. One is to do lots of sketchbook work and another is to have something creative that I can pick up and put down. I’ve been working on this collage, off and on, for a few months now. When the ideas really dry up, I just get absorbed in this, it’s on a piece of A4 card and the visual matter is mostly from old landscape calendars and National Geographic magazines, ripped and stuck down with Pritt stick glue. It relieves the pressure of constantly trying to be creative.

Home Comfort

21 Mar

Sparta 2018

In times of stress and worry, I retreat into my home. It’s my cave, my fortress, my refuge and my comfort. I close the door on the bad old world outside and batten down the hatches to weather any storms that life throws at me. My chubby cat, Sparta Puss is an integral part of my home comfort. She sits and purrs and brings a feeling of peace and calm and normality.

I work part-time for the homelessness charity, Crisis, as a fine art tutor and I really appreciate how lucky I am to be able to go to my own home which is safe and secure and warm and dry. I am lucky that I don’t have to endure living in a war zone or a refugee camp. The insecurity and stress of not having anywhere to call your own, not being able to close your door onto the outside world and feel safe, it is awful.

To find out more about the work done by Crisis, please click here.

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