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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

Blast From The Past….

29 Mar

elephant

Another blast from the past, from The Bagpuss Window, a semi-derelict artspace set up by Melanie Ezra and myself about 18 months ago. It only lasted 3 weeks but we, and lots of other artists and performers, did loads of arty stuff. Swansea Print Workshop lent us a portable etching press so I got stuck in with some paper drypoint plates and produced a small edition based on a little sketchbook drawing I did during my residency in Pakistan a couple of years ago.

Filmmaker Melvyn Williams made some short videos of what we got up to – here are a couple …..

First off, performance poet Rhys Trimble jamming with gong artist David Pitt.

 

And a quick blast of me…..

 

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.

St Elvis

The Sinister Skull

27 Jan

mono-12

I thought I had blogged all the monotypes I made from my Mari Lwyd drawings but I overlooked this one. It was the last that I did that day and maybe because I was tired and hungry, it’s probably the most sinister of the series. Mari Lwyd is actually quite a fun tradition, with lots of banter, drinking and skittishness although people unfamiliar with it are often spooked by the horse’s skull!

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

The Last Mari For Now

20 Jan

mono-11-chine

Here’s the last of the monotypes I made recently at Swansea Print Workshop based on my drawings of the Mari Lwyd. I used a vintage paper made by J Green and Sons supplied by the rather wonderful company The Vintage Paper Co in The Orkneys. The ink is Caligo Easy Wash Relief and the chine collé is hand made recycled sari paper stuck on with YES Paste. I used cotton buds (Q Tips), wooden barbecue skewers, scrim (tarlatan) and cotton rags for the mark making.

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

The Right Combo

17 Jan
mono-10-chine

Mari Lwyd (with chine colle)

Spent the day at Swansea Print Workshop making more monotypes based on the drawings I did while I followed around two local Mari Lwyd in December and January. I’m experimenting to find the right combination of ink, paper and glue (for the chine collé). I originally used Bockingford, Somerset then switched to a vintage paper by J Green & Sons (supplied by the Vintage Paper Co in Orkney). Today I just used the J Green paper which doesn’t need soaking, just a little spritz of clean water

Last time I tried out Intaglio Printmaker’s Litho / Relief oil-based ink with varying amounts of Extender but found it too tacky, it was quite hard to work the drawing onto the plate and it didn’t want to release the chine collé when it went through the press, so today I gave Caligo Easy Wash Relief ink a go. It worked much better although it was too loose to hold fine detail through the printing press.

Previously, I tried Pritt for the chine collé but today I used ‘YES’ paste which was much easier to apply and stuck the light tissues to the main print perfectly. Very impressed with it. I’ve changed everything from my starting point, it can take some time and experimentation to get the right combo.

mono-10-ghost

The ‘ghost’ print

After taking the first print with chine collé, I put another sheet of the dampened J Green paper onto the plate and took a ‘ghost’ print which I will work into with artist-quality oil pastels or maybe collage.

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Printing The Plate

16 Jan

mono-9-chine

After preparing the plate with my image of a Mari Lwyd, I printed it on one of the smaller etching presses at Swansea Print Workshop. For this one I used a vintage paper, by J Green & Sons that was manufactured between 1969 and 1974, sourced from the Vintage Paper Co. I didn’t have to soak it, just a spritz with clean water from a squirty bottle. That saved some time and hassle. It gave a good dense black and plenty of definition.

mono-9-ghost

I put another piece of spritzed paper through to take a ghost print which didn’t, of course, have any chine collé. I’m thinking of working into this with top quality oil pastels.

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Prepping The Plate

15 Jan

mono-9-plate

Working from my recent drawings of the Mari Lwyd, I developed some of them into monotypes. I used a piece of perspex (acrylic sheet) and litho / relief ink mixed with Extender (by Intaglio Printmaker). This was rollered very thinly onto the perspex and I drew into it with cotton buds, wooden skewers, scrim and rags.

mono-9-plateb

I wanted to include some colour to represent the ribbons and flowers that decorate the Mari skull so I ripped pieces of handmade papers made from recycled saris and placed them face down onto the prepared plate. Before putting them down I covered the upper side with glue – I used Pritt – as this is will stick it to the paper I will print the plate on.

More to come ……

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Echo From The Past

10 Jan

mari-1

This is the last drawing I did of The Mari Lwyd, Y Fari Lwyd, at Gellionen Chapel last Sunday. Sitting in the pew during the visit from Mari Ystrad (the Mari Lwyd from Ystradgynlais) gave me the time and space to do more detailed drawings than I was able to do a couple of weeks ago when I followed Mari Trecopwr (Coppertown Mari) around pubs in North Gower, which was raucous and hectic but loads of fun.

The tradition of Mari Lwyd was very common until the 1960’s when it had almost died out but it’s now having a revival and it’s terrific to see and draw this echo from the past.

I drew with white, black and sanguine conté crayons into my A4 brown paper sketchbook. I’m enjoying this sketchbook, it gives me a good mid tone to work into. I really like this drawing, I might eventually develop it into a screenprint.

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

A Thin Veil

9 Jan

mari-2

Drawing the Mari Ystrad at Gellionen Chapel yesterday was a much more peaceful experience than drawing the Mari Trecopwr around the pubs of North Gower a couple of weeks ago and I had the chance to take my time, observe and record at leisure. I finally drew the full figure – the Mari’s skull atop a two legged creature in a decorated white shroud, baggy white trousers and white socks. The huge horse’s skull dwarfs the homo sapien below.

The white – or grey – colouring of the Mari Lwyd dates to pre-Christian times and is the colour of animals that could cross the divide between this world and the underworld. White is also associated with Rhiannon, a Welsh horse goddess and queen of the underworld. At this darkest time of the year, tradition has it that the veil between this and other worlds is at its thinnest and some beings could pass through.

Husb noticed that the spiral pattern on part of the shroud is the same as carvings on ancient stone monuments and temples across Malta. Coincidence? hhhmmmmm

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

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