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City Centre Thug

7 Nov

city centre thug

 

This image has had quite a lengthy journey. I did the original drawing (below) of a seagull, or city centre thug around these parts, at Swansea Museum weeks ago, working with Edinburgh-based printmaker Kelly Stewart, sketching antique taxidermy birds and bugs from the Museum collections.

 

 

Then I created a transparency to transfer the drawing onto a photosensitised screen. When it was exposed, developed and dried I tried out a load of trial prints onto cheap newsprint paper, using Daler Rowney System 3 acrylic paint, black with a hint of purple, and some printmaking medium.

And finally I printed an edition of 6 onto Fabriano Rosapina paper (285gsm) with one Artist Proof and one leftover, which is a reject. Fabriano paper comes from the Italian town of Fabriano which has been a centre for papermaking for nearly eight hundred years.

 

Strangeness

3 Nov

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Here’s a digital drawing of a strange little fella. S/he will be appearing on Twitter tomorrow on #MacroinvertebrateMonday. Check it out 😀

Who Ate All The Pies?

31 Oct

scourge the seagull

Who Ate All The Pies?

I spent the afternoon down at Swansea Print Workshop, working alongside other artists, heads down, printmaking. I worked with two others, preparing silkscreens with Azicol photosensitive solution. I’m going to make a photoscreen from a drawing I did recently, of a seagull during a drawing day at Swansea Museum.

 

screen gull

 

I drew a stuffed seagull from their collection of antique taxidermy. There are loads of seagulls around here. They steal people’s food from their hands. They’re getting bigger. And more intelligent. One day they will take over the world!

Brain vs Eye

15 Oct

Zoo lab 3

The Skull On The Wall

I spent an hour sketching in the Zoology Museum at Swansea University this evening. There was this big skull high up on the wall, with HUGE horns. I have no idea what it is, I was so engrossed that I didn’t think to find out it’s name. I started with a quick warm-up sketch, using the blind continuous line technique, looking at the subject rather than the paper and keeping my pen on the paper at all times.

 

Zoo lab 2

 

Drastic!

It was mounted high on the wall so I pulled a chair under it and drew it from below, an unusual angle and one that would give me a bit of a challenge. Well, that was an understatement! The thing is that our brains adjust what we see all the time. The brain often overrides the eyes, making us see what we think we see, not necessarily what’s there in front of us. Especially with some drastic foreshortening like I had here. It was tough to draw, I had to keep telling myself “draw what’s there, not what you think is there”.

 

Zoo lab 1

Apart from the crazy foreshortening, I had trouble drawing the bit where the skull joins the horn so I did a little study of that bit, to analyse and understand it.

 

 

I’m currently artist in residence with the FIRE Laboratory in the Department of Bioscience at Swansea University. It’s great to have access to facilities like this little museum.

The Scourge Of The City

8 Oct

scourge the seagull

I did this drawing of a seagull a couple of weeks ago at Swansea Museum from a stuffed seagull in the Museum’s stores. I think it’s a herring gull (but I’m not sure). If it is, then it’s on the conservation danger list, which surprises me because there are thousands of them around here. They’re the scourge of the city’s bin collectors as they rip open black bags and raid them, spreading rubbish all over the street. It’s a spectator sport in the city centre, watching them snatch food from people ambling along, eating in the street.

chocolate all in one sponge

 

Talking of eating, I was having visitors round earlier so I baked a cake. A quick and easy chocolate all-in-one sponge, flavoured with freshly grated orange rind and iced with chocolate buttercream, which I make with Welsh salt butter, icing sugar, cocoa and a splash of vanilla. I kept it well away from seagulls.

The Bugs

6 Oct

 

Here’s a selection of bugs from my series of silkscreened postcard-sized prints I did recently at Swansea Print Workshop. One’s a cockchafer and the other a violet ground beetle from a collection at Swansea Museum’s archives.

 

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I printed some onto paper prepared with chine collé. I had printed sheets of handmade paper made from recycled saris, using a Gelli plate, Caligo relief inks and discarded fruit nets to create patterns. Please click here to find out more. They’re busy little critters ….

A Tissue Issue

5 Oct

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Workibng with Kelly Stewart at Swansea Print Workshop last week, I experimented with different ways to screenprint my range of drawings. I’ve always liked the chine collé technique especially with handmade paper made from recycled saris. I get it from the haberdashers in Swansea Market and it has a great texture and a some juicy colours.

 

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I used Japanese Nori glue to stick it down – it’s made with seaweed. The sari paper is quite thin, but very strong, so it was easy to silkscreen over it – thicker paper might have caused some technical problems. The term chine collé is French for tissue collage and these fine papers have traditionally been imported from Chine, Japan and the Indian subcontinent.

 

The Bits In The Middle

4 Oct

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The first stage in producing my recent set of screenprints was doing the drawings.

 

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Then came the bit in the middle. I had to produce a set of transparencies. Some were photocopied from the original drawings onto a special Overhead Projector (OHP) acetate – the two bugs and the heron.

 

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Some were redrawn onto cellophane using a brush and black acrylic paint – the two snipe. One was photocopied directly onto good quality tracing paper – the fruit net. And the text was handwritten onto Trugrain film using a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen.

 

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The final stage is to transfer the transparencies onto a silkscreen.

work station

 

Beginning To End

3 Oct

snipe

I started with an ink and wash sketch of a snipe (using my homemade walnut ink at Swansea Museum) drawn with brushes.

 

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Then, at Kelly Stewart’s screenprinting session at Swansea Print Workshop, I redrew it onto cellophane with brushes and black acrylic paint. These are the transparencies I used to create photoscreens.

 

work station

And then I screened them onto different papers, Fabriano and Somerset, with Daler Rowney System 3 Acrylic paint, mixed with Screenprint medium in an 80:20 paint to medium ratio.

 

That’s it from beginning to end.

The Cheeky Cockchafer

2 Oct

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Another of the small silkscreen prints I did recently. I started off by redrawing a little sketch of a snipe, but this time I did it onto cellophane with black acrylic paint. That formed a transparency for transferring to a photoscreen. I wanted to incorporate bits of rubbish to reflect the environment that much of our wildlife has to put up with. I used the net from a bag of fruit and put it through a photocopier onto a piece of good quality tracing paper. This became another transparency. I printed with Daler Rowney System 3 acrylic mixed 80:20 with screenprint medium onto Fabriano paper.

 

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Here’s a variation on the theme, with a cheeky cockchafer sneaking in ….

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