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The Starting Point

18 Aug

The Warrior Turns small

Yesterday I posted about the upcoming immersive art event in Swansea in September – Nawr yr Arwr / Now the Hero. I will be exhibiting some of the work I have been doing over the past decade with a young , now not so young, soldier who is also a life model. I’ve been looking through it all and it’s a big body of work. The starting point is life drawings, which I do most weeks at Swansea Print Workshop.

Warrior Turns print l

From the hundreds of drawings I have in sketchbooks and portfolios, I select some for development, usually into original prints. This one started as a pastel sketch on a canvas sheet and I developed it into a full-colour monotype (see my Techie section for how to do it). Very early on, I started to investigate the idea of The Warrior and this is reflected in the work I’ve done. This was done near the start of our working relationship and it’s called ,”The Warrior Turns To Face The Darkness“.

 

 

I Cried

17 Aug
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My monotype based on an original life drawing of my model, a young Welsh soldier

Swansea, September 21st to 30th 2018.

I’ve been involved in the expansive art project Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero for some time and it’s all coming to a head in Swansea at the end of September. It’s part of a whole load of specially commissioned art projects from “14-18 NOW WW1 Centenary Art Commissions“, a nationwide programme of innovative and thought-provoking art events that commemorate – not celebrate- World War One.

Some of the highlights for me have been Cummins and Piper’s amazing gigantic installation of “Weeping Poppies” -I saw it at the Tower of London- and Jeremy Deller’s “We’re Here Because We’re Here“, commemorating those who died in the Battle of the Somme. I stopped in my tracks in the centre of Swansea as a group of VERY young men in WW1 uniform walked silently by. I cried. My grandfather was just 14 years old when he enlisted. He lied about his age.

 

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Image credit: ‘we’re here because we’re here’ conceived and created by Jeremy Deller in collaboration with Rufus Norris, photo by Eoin Carey

I have been working with a life model, a young soldier, for 10 years and our working relationship – and the work I have produced – are a part of Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero. You can see a short film of us below. As well as the film, many of the drawings and original prints I have made over the last decade will be exhibited at Swansea Print Workshop and Volcano – I’ll write a bit more about this over the next couple of weeks.

 

“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.”

nya

 

 

 

 

Putting The Work In….

1 Aug

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Putting The Work In…. So the past few days I’ve been slapping an underpainting onto a canvas but now the serious stuff has to start, I need to get stuck into the details. I want to have the head thrown back from the torso so I took a few photos of long-suffering Husb (I guess he must be my Muse) and drew this one into my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet using a free Markers app. I blocked in the background in a beige-y colour and then worked up the drawing with white and a couple of brown shades, finishing with orange on the eyebrows. I used the stylus and my finger, the stylus gives a more defined line. Husb is very tall and I am short so I am used to seeing him from this angle. I love a nice bit of foreshortening.

Here’s how far I’ve gone with the underpainting ….

I’ll get the head painted on in more detail next ….

Anything Goes…

31 Jul

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I’m not a painter. I draw, I make original prints, I experiment with mixed media work. But I rarely paint. So as far as I’m concerned, anything goes. If something doesn’t work out, I can paint over it and start again. So I don’t know what the rules are (well, some of the basic ones, but that’s it) and I’m going to do whatever takes my fancy. When I do printmaking, I prefer to work with just the three primary colours, Process Cyan, Magenta / Red and Yellow and I’m trying to keep to this principle with this painting; I’ll see how it pans out. I’m also keen on trying to draw more than paint, using very thin washes of translucent colour that flow from the brush with the sort of lines and marks I use in drawings.

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Just Get On With It!

30 Jul

Just Get On With It!

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I find making art really hard. People often say to me, “how lovely to work at something you enjoy“. WRONG!!! It’s blood, sweat and tears all the way for me. I get stuck in cycles of creative self-doubt which are absolutely paralysing and I’ve been in one for some months now. So today I gave myself a good talking to and told myself to just get on with it. I started a painting a few days ago, putting on a dark ground and then a rough underpainting in pale grey, so today I mixed up a fairly thin wash of black acrylic ink (Liquitex Heavy Body) and did some quite quick and intuitive linework.

Although I have an original life drawing for reference, I am trying to work without it as much as possible, and rely on my imagination and intuition. I really must snap out of this and stop being so afraid to create. After all, if I don’t like what I do, I can always cover the canvas with gesso and start again.

Another Life Drawing (Female Nude)

29 Jul

Another Life Drawing (Female Nude)…

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Here’s another life drawing I did at Swansea Print Workshop’s drawing group this week. It was a thirty minute pose that I drew on my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet with a free Markers app.

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I started with a mid-brown ground laid down with my finger and then worked the drawing up with a light brown large brush tool, again using my finger to draw. Finally I did some fine line work, using the stylus.

Back To Life Drawing (Female Nude)

27 Jul

Back to life drawing (female nude).

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I started back to life drawing group this week after a break of several months, life got in the way. I think the break did me some good, I’m a bit looser and I’m taking more chances and playing around with distorting the figure.

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I drew onto my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet with the stylus and my fingers, using a free drawing app called Markers. The slideshow shows the different stages in constructing the drawing.

Practising What I Preach

26 Jul

Male nude 3

I’ve been doing quite a bit of teaching lately and I encourage people to experiment, to loosen up, to enjoy playing with the materials and see what turns up. And I really should practise what I preach! So I’m trying to chill out and splash about with paint and not work directly from life as I normally do – although I am working from a life drawing, but very loosely. Let’s see how it turns out.

I don’t like working directly onto white so I put on a basic wash made from diluted blue, red and yellow Liquitex acrylic paint. Then I blocked in the figure with diluted white Liquitex.

Inspired By Frank

15 Jun

Coming up in August – I’m running a weekend printmaking workshop inspired by Frank Brangwyn , one of my artistic heroes. An outstanding draughtsman, painter, printmaker, muralist who exhibited with the Viennese Secession but unlike Klimt and Schiele, Frank had the mis/fortune to live to a ripe old age and fall out of fashion; he’s due for a reappraisal and revival.

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I am involved in a large immersive arts project that’s climaxing in September called Nawr yr Arwr / Now the Hero, the brainchild of artist Marc Rees, which is centred around the magnificent Brangwyn Hall in Swansea, which houses the beautiful Brangwyn panels. As part of the lead up to the final act, I’ll be running a two day print course at Swansea Print Workshop, inspired by Frank’s panels and the remembrance of World War 1 (he was a war artist too).

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One of Brangwyn’s magnificent paintings

 

Here’s a short film about me, my model, my monotype and Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero

And if you want to see more about the monotype technique I use, please visit the Techie section of my website, here.

Drawn To Monotype

5 Jun

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I’ve been searching through my older work today. I do it from time to time because I find it helps me to analyse what I’m doing now. And also it reminds me what I have tucked away in my plans chest, often things I had forgotten.

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These two reminded me how crucial drawing is to my art practice. The first was done during the weekly life drawing session at Swansea Print Workshop. I liked the composition so much that I used it to develop this monotype, a technique I often use when I want to work in colour. I’ve never been particularly interested in painting, I’d rather use a printmaking process any day. You can find out more about this process in my Techie Stuff section here.

 

WAM night June 2018

Just a reminder about this night coming up fast in the Rhonddda Valley

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