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The Same Thing Every Year!

15 Apr

herstory

It’s the same every year on our allotment (community garden). Husb and I resolve to do the correct thing and work on it for an hour, then two, then three and so on, building up the muscles that have atrophied over the deluge that passes for the British winter. Unfortunately, the deluge keeps on happening in this little corner of Wales and so whenever there’s a rare glimmer of sunshine, we rush down to the allotment and work for as long and as hard as we can to keep on top of the couch grass and weeds that thrive in our temperate wet climate. Yesterday was one of those days. We went down in the morning to do a “couple of hours” but ended up working through nearly seven hours of hard labour. It felt great at the time but today….!!!! I’d be on my knees if I could bend down, which I can’t.

Welfare poster

This afternoon was the launch of a group exhibition that I have some work in, at The Welfare in Ystradgynlais. Here I am with “Herstory”, the collaborative piece I did for International Women’s Day with graffiti artist Unity. I think I’m making a good job of disguising the fact that every muscle in my body (so it seems) has seized up! Oh, and it poured with rain. Again.

The Difference Of Materials

14 Apr

 

The difference of materials. I was engrossed in drawing at Galerie Simpson on Swansea’s High Street a couple of days ago. I’d taken a few sheets of very different papers and lots of drawing materials and I settled down to draw a fascinating clay sculpture by Tomos Sparnon which is in the current exhibition.

sculpture 3

The first drawing I did in white, sanguine and black conté crayons onto a piece of smooth heavyweight cartridge paper that I had prepared with a coat of white acrylic gesso and then when it was dry I sponged it all over with my sepia home-made walnut ink. After drawing in conté crayons, I filled the area around the drawing with a square ended brush dipped in the walnut ink. I love the way the ink flows over gessoed paper and how it holds the brushstrokes. It’s a delicious ink to use, like liquid silk.

 

Then I moved my chair to take in a different angle and drew, again with the white, sanguine and black conté crayons onto a sheet of heavily textured grey Khadi paper. The result is completely different. I know I’m stating the blatantly obvious, but I was surprised at the extent of the differences. You can just see Tomos’ sculpture in the background.

 

Man Engine

12 Apr

manengine

Back last week I was rummaging through the drawers in my plans chest and pulled out some used paper that I thought could be reused and today I got my chance. Swansea hosted Man Engine , the largest mechanical puppet ever constructed in Britain, which has been journeying up from Cornwall. It’s amazing. I was invited to take part in a live drawing event (with afternoon tea) at Galerie Simpson on Swansea’s High Street to coincide with the behemoth’s progress through the city. It’s very slow moving so I managed to sketch the giant head outside the gallery on the pavement as it rumbled by. I drew with black, white and sanguine conté crayon and some of my home-made sepia walnut ink onto a recycled cyanotype print on Bockingford paper. If you want to know how to make walnut ink, please check out my blog post here.

Gold Mine In The Rain

2 Apr

Dolaucothi

It’s the British Bank Holiday so of course, the rain was tipping down. Husb and I got fed up looking out of the window at the Easter deluge and took off up to Dolaucothi to have a look around the Roman goldmine. It’s a lovely part of the country and we had a good time, despite the torrential sky juice.

The mines were originally worked in pre-Roman times, then the Romans invaded and took them over. Then they fell into disuse until the Victorians had a go and they finally closed in the 1940’s so there was a lot of historical stuff to see on site. I had a scribble, sheltering in the engine house and sketching the industrial machinery and landscape outside, using white, sanguine and black conté crayons into my A4 brown paper sketchbook.

Abstracting The Falls

31 Mar

aberdulais 2

Here’s the second drawing I did at Aberdulais Falls. It’s a picturesque place that has been immortalised in art over some centuries, even being painted by Turner himself. There no way I can compete with Turner so I looked for the abstraction in nature to focus on. I sort of squinted a bit to make my vision slightly fuzzy and concentrated on drawing the shapes I saw as the falls tumbled away below me. I used firm upright and diagonal lines to represent the rocks and cliffs and freer, more squiggly lines for the water, in white, sanguine and black conté crayons into my A4 brown paper sketchbook.

Before The Deluge

30 Mar

aberdulais 1

It’s a Bank Holiday and rain is forecast so Husb and I got out of the house before the deluge started and went off to Aberdulais Falls for a bit of a walk, some historical instruction and to do a quick scribble or two. I used white, sanguine and black conté crayon into my spiral bound A4 brown paper sketchbook from Seawhites of Brighton. I worked very quickly as it is still quite cold, just getting down the basic details of the scene. Then off to the cafe in the old schoolroom to warm up and have a cup of tea and slice of bara brith.

More BogArt

28 Mar

ew knows

More BogArt! The interesting and quirky Cinema & Co in Swansea is more than just a place that shows films, it is a space for comedy, music and art as well. The exhibitions in the main cinema change monthly but there is a great bit of exhibition space in the cinema’s two toilets (also known as the Bogs in British slang). So owner Anna Redfern offered me the space to curate BogArt and I jumped at the chance. It’s a captive audience for the art, after all. The one above is a mixed media piece, based on an original life drawing, called “I Knows ‘Ew Luvs Me Cos ‘Ew Buys Me Chips” which is a bit of a joke here in Swansea….

holocaust

And the one in the smaller bog is an ink drawing on Mylar film, inspired by my wintry visit to Berlin in the snow, where I saw the Holocaust Memorial under a layer of soft whiteness.

Number 96

26 Mar

Voogd V 96

 

Almost three years ago, I decided to draw one hundred, thirty-minute sketches of Baby Boomers, people of my generation. I thought it would take me about a year. Wrong! Funny how life gets in the way. I did most of them in 2 years but got stuck on the last handful; it has been so hard to find mutually convenient times. So today I was delighted to draw Number 96! This is a fellow artist visiting from the USA, who is staying with friends nearby. She’s the right age and willing, so I paid her a visit, with home made cake (a jam and buttercream sponge, with home-made loganberry jam – home grown loganberries too) and had a chat about her life experience as a Baby Boomer and then drew her. It was interesting to talk with someone from a different culture because although we are the same generation, much of our experience has been very different.

Baby Boomers are the generation born between 1946 and 1964, a big bump working its way through time.  Eventually, I’m planning an installation featuring all the drawings I’ve done, but that’s a long way off yet. First of all, I have to get the last 4 Boomers into a room and draw them.

BogArt

15 Mar

BogArt, art in the toilets, is an innovative feature of the quirky artspace that is Swansea’s Cinema & Co. I took advantage of these spaces to display work by some of Swansea’s female creatives for the exhibition I organised for International Women’s Day on March 8th (continues until 20th). I like displaying art in toilets, lots of people get to see it. And if Marcel Duchamp could display an urinal as a work of art, I’m happy to put art in the bogs. It has been such a pleasure to exhibit work by so many talented and committed women artists and I am privileged to be surrounded by so much creativity.

Herstory

‘Herstory’, a collaboration by Scribblah (me) and Unity (Amelia Thomas)

 

ally jay

Four vaginas by Ally Jay Phillips, named after areas of Swansea: Wind Street, Castle Gardens, The Bay and The Kingsway.

 

On the left, drawings by Doodlemum (Angie Stevens) and on the right, drawing en plein air from Scribblah (me)

vagina herstory

Art in the toilet – BOGART!

Coming Full Circle

10 Mar
b in

The triptych from the inside

A few weeks ago I was privileged to join one of Fern Smith‘s women’s circles, part of her ‘Seven Sundays In Spring’, walking through the beautiful deer park in Dynefwr, Llandeilo, drawing an extraordinary wintry tree in my sketchbooks, here’s one of the sketches below… 

Drawing 3

One of my original sketchbook drawings

I have thousands of sketches and dozens of sketchbooks locked away in cupboards and I only choose a few to develop into another piece of work, and this is one of those times. I was invited to do a pop-up drawing at the Women4Resources event for International Women’s Day at Creative Bubble today. I decided to do a triptych onto detail paper that I taped to the window, so that people outside could see the drawing developing without coming in – it’s a democratic way of doing art because it reaches out to people, not everyone is comfortable coming into an artspace.

d in

I started out with my home-made walnut ink, blocking in the base of the tree and working into it with sanguine conté crayon to develop a texture. Then I brushed in the upright trunks.

 

Then I switched to white gouache and brushed in another layer of uprights, trunks and branches. And finally, I used a black conté crayon to work tiny marks into the area of the sky behind the branches.

The work looks different from the outside, with the white branches much more prominent and the black sky almost invisible. I guess that if I ever exhibit it I’ll have to consider framing them with glass both sides.

a out

The triptych from the outside

And so full circle, from the drawing en plein air to the triptych in the window, from Fern’s creative women’s circle to International Women’s Day, it feels complete.

 

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