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A Very Quick Dead Horse

16 Jan

mari siglo

Here’s the last drawing I did of the Ystradgynlais Mari Lwyd when it appeared at Gellionen Unitarian chapel a couple of weeks ago. I did it in a few seconds so I had to just get down the fundamental details of what I was looking at. I used mostly white conté crayon, a stub on its side, with a couple of very quick details in sanguine and black. Speedy drawings are good for getting down proportions and spacing, I find.

mari siglo 2

 

Mari Lwyd is the ancient Welsh tradition linking back to the ancient Celtic / Gaulish goddess Epona and the Welsh mythological horse goddess and Queen of the Underworld Rhiannon from the Mabinogion. The New Year is welcomed by parading a life size puppet constructed around the skull of a horse along with a group of characters who each have a role to play in the celebrations.  There are links to a similar traditions in the UK, the Laare Vane (White Mare) on the Isle of Man and the Hobby Horse in parts of England. The tradition had almost died out by the mid 20th century after decades of opposition from Christian ministers across Wales, but it is now undergoing an enthusiastic revival.

Face To Face With A Dead Horse

13 Jan

ystrad mari 1

 

Husb and I are spending a few days in The Lake District with family and I have taken a break from drawing.  It’s great scenery around here but I’m not much of a landscape person to be honest, I’d rather draw cityscapes.  I did a lot of drawings last weekend at Gellionen Chapel’s Mari Lwyd event, here’s a close up of the Mari’s head. Quite gruesome I suppose if you’re not used to the tradition,  but the Mari Lwyd is really funny in ‘person’.

ystrad mari 2

 

 

 

Chuffed To Bits

22 Nov

mono 10 chine

 

I just heard today that I have had 2 artworks accepted into the Swansea Open exhibition, running from December the 3rd to January the 6th. It’s returned after a gap of about 5 years, while the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery was closed and being refurbished, and it’s great to see it back. I’m chuffed to bits as Swansea is full of talented artists and the competition is stiff.

 

mari 2

 

I submitted two monotypes of the Mari Lwyd, based on drawings I did in my sketchbook at the end of last year. The Mari Lwyd is an ancient Welsh tradition, where groups of revellers wander the streets and pubs accompanied by a life size puppet constructed around a decorated horse’s skull. It may hark back to the worship of the Celtic horse goddess, Epona.

Bat Walk

19 Sep

Bat Watch

Husb and I spent a happy hour or so up at the lovely Rosehill Quarry this evening with a load of other people on a ‘bat walk’ headed up by Swansea University’s Dr. Dan Foreman. I had a scribble of course, with a 6B graphite stick into my ‘cat’ notebook. I focused on making marks to represent the tree-studded quarry bowl in an abstracted manner. A couple of bats made it into the picture. Not the vampire bats that Dr. Foreman mentioned though, just Pipistrelles. Apparently the warmth of our collected bodies attracted gnats and midges (oh yes, they made their presence felt) and the bats were attracted to the insects. We were like a sort of batty fast food joint.

 

 

A lot of my artwork is available on my Artfinder gallery.  If you’d like to have a look, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

Gors Fawr, near Mynachlog-ddu in the Preseli mountains, a lush green bog fringed with glowing hills.

 

Sniffles And Sweets

16 Sep

I am such a wimp. I’ve got a cold and I’ve retreated to my settee with a blanket, aspirin and a big bag of sweets – Gummy Bears, my favourites (I rarely eat sweets except when I’m not well). I can’t work up the motivation to do any art while I’m wallowing in sniffly misery so I’m looking back through my archives of digital drawings to start putting them in order.

wp-image-865096536

This is a group of drawings I did from photos of foxes a few years back when I first had my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet, using a free app called Markers.

 

 

Twijazzling And Sheeptacular

31 Jul

lino arthur

The Royal Welsh Show was on last week, the biggest annual agricultural show in Wales. I’ve been a couple of times but I find it a bit odd because I’m a proper townie. A while back, I visited some chums who raise pigs, in very nice humane conditions, and did some scribbling. One of my sketches became this lino cut of their Mangalitza Boar. Here’s their website, it’s very interesting but perhaps best avoided if you’re vegetarian or vegan.

There’s a new online publication called The Eye Magazine all about life in Wales. I spotted this article, a spoof about the Royal Welsh Show. It’s hilarious. Seriously funny. Take a few minutes to read it, it’s only short. It’s called “Twijazzling Furore At The Royal Welsh“. Twijazzling is such a bonkers concept I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes off. Do watch the “Welsh Sheeptacular” video in the article. It’s genius!

 

The Art. The Megaliths. The Film. The Rain!

29 Jun

 

Coming soon to Cinema & Co, an exhibition by Rose Davies, a film by Melvyn Williams, an illustrated talk by Dewi Bowen……..

 

 

 

For a limited period I am putting a new drawing of an ancient monument on my Artfinder gallery every day.  If you’d like to check them out, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

 

 

 

The Man In The Cafe

13 Jun

man in cafe

Husb and I often pop into the cafe upstairs in Waterstone’s bookshop, for a coffee and a chat in the comfy seats. I often have a quick scribble as people are generally absorbed in what they’re doing and I can sketch without them noticing. Here’s a recent one, in my tiny flowery sketchbook, it’s about a size A6, maybe a bit smaller. I photographed it in my herb pot in the back garden, on top of the sage and golden marjoram.

Stuffed

25 May

Tonya and owl

I can only manage to get to life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop for the second half on Thursday nights so the sessions are already well under way. Tonight, I wandered in and saw that our model was flanked by two stuffed birds, an owl and a jay. It was tough drawing two different creatures side by side, the scale is so very different as well as the anatomy. But at least neither of them moved much, the model because she’s very experienced and the owl because it’s stuffed.

 

I have put my series of drawings en plein air of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to see more, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page. So did you know that Elvis Presley is descended from the Welsh? This drawing below is the legendary grave of Saint Elfys (Elvis) in Pembrokeshire, not for from the Presceli Mountains. Elfys? Presceli? Elvis Presley? Coincidence? hhhmmmm

St Elvis

Priapus And Placentas

5 Apr

Priapus

Back on the trail of ancient megaliths with prehistorian Dewi Bowen and filmmaker Melvyn Williams, with my portable drawing board, a folder full of prepared papers and a satchel of drawing materials. We headed out to the Gower Peninsula and pitched up at this magnificent large stone near Weobley Castle. Called Samson’s Jack, or Mansel’s Jack, Dewi described it as “big and priapic” but pointed out that some of its priapic features are now hidden by a thick hedge and barbed wire fence. I found a vantage point to draw from and stepped back into something very squelchy. I’m used to squelchy because the Welsh countryside is covered in many and varied manures rendered squelchy by constant rain, but this was a new variety of squelchiness, it was sheep placenta. There was a lot of it around because the field was home to lots of heavily pregnant and birthing sheep and tiny newborn lambs. I carried on drawing. I’m not put off by squelch and did this drawing with conté crayons and Daler Rowney artist quality soft pastels.

 

I have put my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to see more, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page. This one is the legendary grave of Saint Elfys (Elvis) in Pembrokeshire, not for from the Prescelli Mountains. Elfys? Prescelli? Elvis Presley? Coincidence? hhhmmmm

St Elvis

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