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Quickies In The Museum

2 Dec

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I work for a homelessness charity a few hours a week, teaching fine art. Mostly I don’t get the chance to join in myself, but today I was demonstrating sketching en plein air ao I got stuck in and did a few examples. We were working in the National Waterfront Museum, a lovely place that has kindly given us space to run a course in acrylics. We did some quick thumbnail sketches, focusing on composition and working in ballpoint pens and Liquitex acrylic inks. Here are mine, 2 took five minutes and the third, ten minutes.

Breakfast With Dippy

1 Dec

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Went on a family trip to Cardiff today with Husb and two younger relatives, to see Dippy the Diplodocus who is touring the UK. The National Museum in Cardiff had laid on a breakfast viewing, with sausage baps, warm cinammon rolls and squidgy dino-themed cookies. It was grand. We were all excited to see the legendary Dippy and I had to have a scribble, from behind with some severe foreshortening. Lovely stuff.

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Dippy is huge! He will be staying in Cardiff at the National Museum until the end of January and it’s free to go and see him.

Massed Michael Sheens

25 Nov

 

I spent a very absorbing couple of hours this evening developing an embroidery of the actor Michael Sheen at the Sew Swansea workshop. It’s part of the 9to90 Creative Workshops this year.

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I haven’t done embroidery for decades, not since I was a child, watching my mother embroider and trying out little bits of stitching on scraps of material. It seems very much like drawing, but slower.

Patti McKenna-Jones and I are running  free workshop this coming Friday – please see the leaflet above.

The 9to90 sessions will culminate in an exhibition of massed Michael Sheens at GS Artists next month…..

What’s That When It’s At Home?

24 Nov

I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for decades, just getting on with it, doing my art, mostly sketchbooks from reality, life drawing and printmaking, while working with marginalised people – the homeless and the drug and alcohol dependent. As far as I was concerned, these were not two different things, but are inter-dependent. When people asked what I did, it took ages to explain. Now, apparently, I’m a socially engaged artist. So there we are.

Afghan refugee children

It isn’t just about how I integrate living as an artist with working with people at the edge of society – it also informs the artwork I do. For example, I made this monotype (above) from my first visit to Pakistan over a decade ago now. It was a relatively peaceful period and we were visiting the Khyber Pass and I was inspired by Afghan refugees travelling back to their homes.

walking to greenham

In my sketchbooks, I draw from real life, both the ordinary that’s around me every day and the special events like demonstrations and meetings. Here’s a drawing I did on the march to commemorate Greenham Common back last year.

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Sometimes my work is directly political, like “Here Be Dragons” that was commissioned last year by Sky Arts TV channel.

Flag final

And the flag of Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd designed for the AUOB Cymru marches.

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Recently, I’ve become an artist-in-residence and researcher in the FIRE Laboratory in Swansea University’s Department of Bioscience, working at the interface between art and environmental science.

Or I just draw people getting on with their lives on the streets of Swansea….

 

So when people ask what I do, now I say “I’m a socially engaged artist” and they go “So what’s that when it’s at home then?”

 

And it takes ages to explain …..

Take A Hike

23 Nov

There’s so much going on in Swansea this weekend and I’m going to give it all a plug because there’s a lot of people living in Swansea who are professional complainers and bang on about nothing happening, which isn’t true, so why not get into town tomorrow (Sunday) and take a hike around the city calling in on the fabulous things happening, all of them free.

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Art and artists’ cards at Swansea Print Workshop

First off, start with the hidden gem that is Swansea Print Workshop which is having Open Days from 10.30 – 4.00 each day until Wednesday November 27th, with original art, artists’ cards, and amazing antique and modern machines dating from Queen Victoria’s era.

Open Days November 2019[10897]

Then stroll down West Way onto the seafront (about 2 minutes walk) to the National Waterfront Museum which is hosting the Green Fayre – I went today and bought some fab vintage tools and a really nice vintage glass brooch from Tools For Self Reliance Cymru who lovingly refurbish old tools.

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Jeweller’s pliers, a burnisher, a scraper (for mezzotint) and a glass brooch all for £7.50

Then round the corner to Swansea Museum , a proper old Cabinet of Curiosities sort of place which is now displaying drawings and screenprints from Swansea Print Workshop with its collection of antique taxidermy.

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And then if you want more, round the other corner is the Mission Gallery that has just launched its Winter Garden show and if you’re hungry for more – try out the Glynn Vivian art gallery that’s showing the official Swansea City 50 years exhibition and has a fab cafe too. Oh and they’re taking entries for the Swansea Open as well.

PHEW!!!!! If you’ve got a car you can also catch the last day of Deanne Mangold’s Open Studio at Class Glass in Llansamlet.

There, that should fill up anyone’s Sunday ……

Tucked Away

21 Nov

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Just a quick sketch that I did at GS Artists a few days ago, scribbling people in the audience. These little drawings underpin my artistic practice, I have thousands of them, tucked away in cupboards all over the house.

The Debut Of Musical Scribblefish

19 Nov

A blog I wrote for the FIRE Lab (Freshwater Interdisciplinary Research and Evaluation Laboratory) about our new public art engagement activity – it was fun, fishy – and mucky!

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Please click on the link below ….

The Debut Of Musical Scribblefish

Blind Contour And Continuous Line

18 Nov

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Here are some more heads I drew on Saturday at GS Artists. I started with a speed sketch using the blind contour technique, where I kept the pen on the paper and didn’t look at it at all as I drew, keeping my gaze on the person. It’s a good warm-up exercise. Then I moved onto a continuous line drawing.

 

 

Unsuspecting Heads

17 Nov

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Here are some heads from my sketchbook. I like to keep sketching, it underpins my artistic practice, so wherever I am, out and about, I like to have a scribble and I like to scribble heads because I love drawing expressions of people who have no idea that I’m visually stalking them!!!!! I did these at GS Artists yesterday, at the launch of the latest exhibition, There Is A Politics Of Space As Space Is Politics….

Controversy, Art And Having A Scribble

16 Nov

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I went to GS Artists on Swansea’s High Street this afternoon for the launch of their new exhibition and a panel talk and a tasty vegan lunch. Of course, I had to have a scribble. I was sitting next to fellow scribbler Patti McKenna-Jones and she was having a scribble too.  The panel included artists Gavin Turk, Debbie Rees, Jane Simpson and Owen Griffiths and there was a lively and at times controversial discussion from the floor.

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