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Visceral

19 Oct

RM2

 

Another drawing I did recently at a spoken word event at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, with Rufus Mufasa, David Pitt and Eleanor Shaw amongst others, using surrealist drawing  techniques. I did this drawing while listening to one of the contributor’s telling the story of her experience of giving birth. Her words created very powerful and abstract imagery and I worked with Daler Rowney pastels onto vintage paper. It was a visceral experience and not one I’m used to as I normally work directly from life. It’s good to be pushed out of my comfort zone.

 

Surrealist Drawing

18 Oct

RM6

A few weeks ago I did some live drawing at a spoken word event at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, with Rufus Mufasa, David Pitt and Eleanor Shaw amongst others. I normally work directly from life, but this time I let my hands be influenced by the rhythm and meaning of the words and music and just drew. This is similar to surrealist drawing and really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I did this – almost – automatic drawing while listening to one of the contributor’s story about her nervous breakdown. Her words were graphically visual.

Tall And Thin

16 Oct

Arthur Neave

Husb and I popped out for a cuppa this morning, round the corner. I had a scribble. There was an extremely tall and thin woman in the coffee shop and it was weird drawing her because I had to keep checking the proportions of the sketch. But she really was that tall and thin. I used a ballpoint pen into my A6 bound sketchbook with a quirky factory print on the front.

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.

Splatter!

14 Oct

splatter 1

I work part-time for a national homelessness charity, just a few hours a week where I run fine art courses for people who use the service. Today I started an acrylics painting course. I like to jump straight in with something practical so I did a group abstract painting exercise. After a quick explanation of what ‘impasto’ is, I laid a canvas roll onto the table and everyone – there were six of us – grabbed a pot of Daler Rowney System 3 paint and, using either a palette knife or fingers (rubber gloves provided), splattered paint onto the canvas as we walked around the table.

splatter 2

After we’d all done one circuit, we changed our pots of colour and went round the table again, splattering as we went. And a few more times, building up random layers of colour. Finally, we put the paint down and spent a minute or so scraping and scratching through the paint layers, revealing the colours underneath.

splatter 4

 

Then we used some old window mounts to look through and work out the compositions we liked best. This led to a discussion about what makes good art – controversial – and I’d taken some examples of Jackson Pollock’s work to look at, to get a theoretical and historical perspective.

The Daler Rowney System 3 acrylic paint, mixed with screenprint medium, was kindly donated by Swansea Print Workshop. They let us have acrylic paints left over after their screenprint courses, which is great because they’re expensive quality paints. We worked in a room kindly lent by the National Waterfront Museum.

Window Licking Good?

13 Oct

Husb and I regularly babysit one of our very young relatives and last week I took him on his first trip to the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. There’s a fabulous exhibition from their archives at the moment – a wonderful and quirky selection of artwork.

windowlicker

I find babies very hard to draw. The proportions of their faces are really weird – they’re like little aliens. And they don’t stop wriggling. I tried my best, sketching quickly using the continuous line method. Maybe I should try when he’s asleep. Anyway, I took him round the exhibition, mostly I let him crawl – he was really quick on the polished floors. The bit he liked best though was when we went to the (excellent, new) cafe on the ground floor and he crawled over to the big window that looks out onto the street, pulled himself up and gave the window a good licking. I tried my best.

Responding To A Story

12 Oct

DP1

 

I went to the Glynn Vivian art gallery last week, to do some live drawing at an event involving poets, storytellers and musicians. I normally draw directly from life but I went right out of my comfort zone for this one, allowing the words, music and spoken rhythms to flow into my hands and direct the marks I made onto vintage paper with Daler Rowney artists pastels. This drawing was done in response to David Pitt’s story about a caged songbird and a desert.

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.

Picking Up The Ambience

7 Oct

RM5

I spent a couple fo hours at the Glynn Vivian art gallery on Saturday morning, drawing at a spoken word event, @peoplespeakup, which was part of the Swansea Fringe, with Rufus Mufasa, David Pitt and Eleanor Shaw amongst others. I like drawing in public, I think it’s good for people to be able to see how an artist works. When people go into a gallery and see perfect works of art on a white wall, they don’t get to appreciate all the hard work, practice, mistakes and rubbish drawings that preceded it.

RM4

I did some warm up drawings in my sketchbook, using a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen and the continuous line technique. This helped me to centre myself in the space and pick up on the ambience of the surroundings.

Cleaning Up

26 Sep

cleaning up

 

I was down at Swansea Print Workshop this afternoon, doing loads of monotypes (more about those tomorrow) and as I was cleaning up at the end, the printing inks blended together. I liked it. It was a pity to wash them away.

Technical note: they’re Caligo Safe Wash oil-based relief inks in Process Yellow, Magenta and Cyan.

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