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Movement And Proportion

10 Dec

waterstones 6

So a few more quick scribbles from a local café, Waterstones, which is on the first floor so I could look down into the street and draw people going about their Xmas shopping. It was getting dark and it had been raining so the roads and pavements were wet and shiny. This chap was squatting down next to a bench, chatting, and stayed long enough for me to get some of the reflections in.

 

 

It’s harder to sketch people on the move, with just a few seconds to get the essence of the figure onto the paper. I drew with a ballpoint pen into my tiny fabric covered sketchbook, it’s about 5 inches by 3 inches. Although the scribbles were very quick, they help to refine my eye and practise drawing movement and proportion.

 

 

 

Big And Baggy

9 Dec

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Husb and I stopped for a cuppa in Waterstones café yesterday, having a break from the mid-winter gloom. We sat in the window overlooking the street where Woolworths used to be which is now Poundland, it’s a good vantage point for drawing people going about their business. It was getting dark and everywhere was wet so people came and went very quickly. It’s a good exercise to draw quickly, if you only have a few seconds you have to get the main features down and there’s no time to be distracted by details.

 

Everyone’s in big, baggy winter clothes at the moment, but when the rain eases off, the big fluffy hoods come down.

 

 

Millionaire’s Shortbread

8 Dec

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Had a busy day in town today and stopped off for a nice cuppa in the café in Waterstones bookshop .… lovely. Husb had Millionaire’s Shortbread with his tea. It was one of the best he had ever tasted. Lots of the people there read their new books while they drink their tea. I had to have a scribble, didn’t I?

 

 

Living Legend

8 Dec

Living legend small

Husb and I went to a talk at Swansea Art College featuring living legend artist Sir Peter Blake, one of the original Pop Artists and still practicing at the age of 86. He’s a fascinating character and it was great to hear him talking about the examples of the work shown. I managed a scribble, even though I was sitting far away and could only glimpse him between lots of other people. Sir Peter has an exhibition of his work opening at the Glynn Vivian art gallery tomorrow (December the 8th) and he’s also doing the official opening of the Swansea Open as well – it’s at 2.30pm so if you’re in town, call in …..

 

 

 

The Re-Cut

6 Dec

dragon block 1

During the process of developing my recent commission for Sky Arts TV channel, as part of their Art50 programming, I did a number of test blocks to try out different combinations of wood, sealer, ink and paper to find the combo that worked best. It also gave me a chance to experiment with the carving, trying out different tools and cutting styles. Most of the blocks are disposable, just fragments of experimentation, but I took this one to a fairly finished level and I returned to it again today, doing some re-cutting to sharpen up the lettering and give greater definition to the symbolic eye and barbed wire. I’m thinking of printing it up in black on white with red chine collé.

 

sky-arts art 50 mash up

Digital Kitty

4 Dec

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It’s cold and dark outside and the curtains are drawn and Sparta Puss has settled down to do some grooming in comfort. So I grabbed the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet and did a quick scribble using a free Markers app.

And Breathe!

30 Nov

So, after two and a half months of research, preparation, creative blocks, blood, sweat and a lot of hard work, I finally finished carving my very large block of wood and did the first print. And breathe! The block has been sealed with three coats of shellac and methylated spirits (mixed 50:50) and I am using a Japanese lightweight paper, Hosho, in white for the main print and mulberry papers in red and blue for chine collé. The ink is Caligo / Cranfield’s Safe Wash and I’m taking the print by hand with Japanese barens.

 

I inked up mostly in black with some words picked out in red that I did with a different roller. I also prepared and applied mulberry chine collé. Then Husb lent me a hand to put the Hosho paper onto the block and to rub the back with the Japanese barens.

5 first proof

And here it comes. The first proof. The rest will be revealed in the New Year 😀 This is a commission for the Sky Art 50 programming which is scheduled for March 2019.

 

sky-arts art 50 mash up

 

 

Saint, Sunlight And Scabby Exterior

28 Nov

 

St Christopher b

I did more sketching towards the end of my recent holiday in Italy, in Bologna, than earlier in Florence, mainly, I think, because making art is my profession and drawing while I’m on vacation feels like work. But after a few days I had itchy fingers and started to scribble in my sketchbook again. We visited some magnificent churches and cathedrals; this one below is the Basilica of San Petronio. The outside façade was left unfinished and in quite a rough state, which is in complete contrast to the fascinating interior, allegedly because the architect wanted to rival St. Peter’s in Rome and once the Pope got wind of it, he put pressure on to stop the project from being completed.

 

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One of the many beautiful things inside is a gorgeous painting of Saint Christopher. I managed a very quick sketch which doesn’t do it justice at all. Another fascinating thing is the longest meridian line in the world, marking out a calendar on the marble floor. We stayed and watched it in action just after noon, where a large dot of sunlight appeared alongside the date shown on the floor. It was very exciting!

 

The holiday was arranged by New Scientist magazine and focused on Renaissance art, architecture and science, expertly led by Andrew Spira.

 

The Skinless

27 Nov

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Another quick sketch from my recent trip to Northern Italy, this one from the Anatomical Theatre in the Palazzo Archiginnasio in Bologna. The theatre, built in 1637 by Antonio Levante, is a beautiful room in carved wood which looks, to me anyway, like a classical anatomy theatre should. There are two wonderful life-size wooden statues of the Spellati – the Skinless – by Ercole Lelli and I managed to scribble one of them.

Bokashi!

26 Nov

Hiroshige 1

Husb and I spent a few days away in Northern Italy, exploring museums and galleries on a guided tour arranged by New Scientist magazine. We took in a fabulous exhibition, “Beyond The Wave”, of Japanese Ukiyo e printmakers, Hokusai and Hiroshige in Bologna. I was fascinated by their process. To my surprise, the artists themselves didn’t do any printmaking, but just provided the initial simple ink line drawing (which didn’t survive the process). The drawing was transferred to a number of blocks, up to fifteen depending on the amount of colours, and cut by a carver. Finally the blocks were handed over to a printmaker to produce the fabulous full-colour images that we’re used to seeing today. This process reminds me of that used in the production of modern comics, with the artist producing pencil drawings, handing them over to an inker and then to a letterer. Coincidentally, Hokusai and Hiroshige are a great influence on Japanese Manga and Anime.

In my small sketchbook, I made some little studies of the beautiful simple compositions of some of the prints. Most had very sparse detail and the artist’s original line drawings are usually quite basic. The richness of pattern and colour are down to the skills of the printmaker who often used a blending technique called Bokashi which gives beautifully graduated colours. Ukiyo e prints became very fashionable through Japonism and had an enormous influence on later 19th century and 20th century European art and artists including the Impressionists and post-Impressionists and individual artists including Cassatt, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and van Gogh.

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