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A Benchmark Of Home

28 Feb

Benchmarks 2

I went to the opening of the new  exhibitions at Elysium this afternoon. The larger gallery is devoted to work by the resident artist Mark Folds, called Crises, while the smaller gallery has three large-scale pieces made by members of Crisis, the homelessness charity, called “Benchmarks”.

Benchmarks 3

Mark has been working with five people who have experienced homelessness, using materials usually associated with home – wood, benches, carpets, beds – to produce these life size artworks.  

Benchmarks 1

 

The title of this show, Benchmarks, means something that serves as a standard by which we measure or judge others. And other people are often very quick to judge those who are or have been homeless. But also, homeless people are often not noticed, are hidden, are ignored because so many others are complacent about it.

Benchmarks 4

Crisis is an organisation that recognises the importance of creative activities in helping people to move into a stable lifestyle, supporting many creative tutors across the UK in visual arts, crafts, music and creative writing. and recognising how the arts can be used to educate people and improve skills as well as offering people something to do with their time.

The exhibition runs until April 18th at 210, High Street SA1 1PE.

Scribbling In The Book Shop

27 Feb

waterstones cafe 2020

 

I spent today doing lots of little bits of stuff, catching up with things I’ve been needing to do. One thing I’ve neglected for a while is sketchbook scribbling so I called into Waterstones cafe on my way home for a nice cup of tea and a relaxed scribble. It’s one of my favourite places for chilling and sketching; it’s been converted from the old Carlton cinema which is a beautiful building, inside and out.

International Womens’ Day 2020

13 Feb
EL gold small

By Esther Ley

 

International Womens’ Day 2020 is coming up fast and my fellow artist Patti McJones and I have been asked to organise this year’s event at Cinema & Co. It’ll be our fourth year in this great venue. If you’re in Swansea on March 12th around 5.30 – 7.30, you’re very welcome to join us – local artists Esther Ley and Sally Davies are exhibiting with Patti and me. And there’ll be lashings of home made cake, of course.

Sally and Esther are launching their new exhibition, “Every Wrinkled Line” and Patti and I are installing our latest ‘Bog Art’ works.

In the cinema – EVERY WRINKLED LINE – “Women have always been scrutinised and judged, and our worth measured on a scale of supposed ‘beauty’. We are presenting work that need not be judged, the images aren’t beautiful, empowering or even a testament to adversity- they are an honest reflection of a life lived.”

In the Bogs – PATTI MCJONES – “I use my art to point at things. Injustice, hypocrisy, protest or just interesting individuals are the perennial subjects of my work. My real love is documentary speed sketching; ink-capture of protest and music really is the most exciting thing for me. Some of these I then turn into prints, paintings or murals“.

Also in the Bogs – ROSIE SCRIBBLAH – ” ER GÔF was inspired by a winter visit I made to Berlin where the Holocaust Memorial was under a deep white muffled blanket of snow. The massive black monoliths snaking across the site threw extraordinary shadows, forming delicate monochromatic patterns between dark slabs. As that generation of elders that fought World War 2 is dying out, there is a terrifying rise of xenophobia across Europe and the responsibility of remembering the horrors of industrial scale murder falls onto the shoulders of us, their descendants.”

 

Patti McJones, Rosie Scribblah, Sally Davies

Scribbling At Speed

2 Feb

sunday dinner

Sometimes there’s a lot of pressure to always turn out a ‘proper’ drawing but I don’t think that’s what sketchbooks are for. Artists need to practice, just as musicians do and my sketchbook is, for me, a great way to practice. Speed drawing helps to hone skills, forcing you to focus on what’s absolutley vital in the subject. I scribbled this in about a minute earleir today when I was having a pub lunch. The father and his little girl were at the bar and I had to work quickly to catch something as the child was excited and rushing around. I used a ballpoint pen into my A6 sketchbook.

And Finally….

25 Jan

Mari Port Talbot

Here’s the last of the Mari Lwyds I sketched at the recent Gower Wassail. This one’s from Port Talbot, the Cwmafan Mari who was bedecked loads of bows. That should be the last of the Mari Lwyds until next New Year …..

The Dim Mare

24 Jan

Mari Gwyr

It’s been Mari Lwyd season here in Wales, an ancient tradition harking back to the worship of the Celtic horse goddess. There have been quite a few Maris stalking the area and they’re all different, they all have their own personalities. Here’s a quick sketch of Mari Gwyr, the Gower Mari. She’s plainer than most and her strange headgear, a cross between a beret and a beanie, make her look a bit dim, in my opinion.

Here Comes Mayhem

23 Jan

Plygain 6

At the Plygain celebration over the weekend, after there had been plenty of Welsh carols sung and a break for tea and snacks, we had some surprise visitors. Some local Wassailers accompanied by the Coppertown Mari Lwyd (Mari Trecopr). We moved quickly from traditional Xmas hymns to Mari-led mayhem.

Plygain 5

The Mari Lwyd arrives with her companions and knocks on the door to be let in. It’s the job of the people inside to keep the mischieveous Mari out so there’s a battle of wits and rhyme – a sort of ancient rap battle – until the Mari and her gang are let in. This frisky Mari tried to knock back a glass of mulled wine!

This wonderful evening of Welsh tradition was led by David Pitt (who inhabits the Mari) and Margot Morgan, who organises the Aderyn Du (Black Bird) Brynmill Community Choir.

Scribbling Singing

21 Jan

Plygain 3

Here are a couple more sketches I did at the Plygain celebration last weekend in Swansea. Plygain is a Welsh language carolling tradition going back at least to the 13th century. It had almost died out but is now going through a healthy revival. In the past, families would have precious books of Plygain carols handed down through generations. Plygain is competitive – carollers take it in turns to sing and no carol can be performed more than once during the service, so these ancient family books of Plygain carols are precious.

Plygain 4

I sketched the carollers as they sang. The top drawing was done using the continuous line method – it’s easier to judge perspective and proportion I find. Then a few speed sketches just of heads.

Toffee Evening, Noson Gyflaith

20 Jan

Plygain 2

I carried on sketching at the Welsh Plygain celebration, while all the rest sang. Traditionally, Plygain took place in church at around 3am on Xmas morning and ended at first light. People generally stayed up all night, doing all sorts of things to keep awake. One that was popular with younger people was the making of Cyflaith (toffee) and Christmas Eve was often known as Noson Gyflaith – Toffee Evening. Games were played and stories told to stop people from dozing off.

Plygain is unaccompanied carol singing in the Welsh language and traditionally was only sung by men, but these days it’s undergoing a revival and everyone can join in. I sketched some of the men at last night’s Plygain. I used the continuous line method as I find it’s the best to get the right proportions and perspective in a roomful of people.

Drawing The Singing

19 Jan

Plygain 1

Husb and I went to a Plygain celebration this evening, a very traditional Welsh singing event. Plygain was at it’s height between the 17th and 19th centuries, although there is a mention of something similar in the Red Book of Hergest in the 13th century. But by the early 19th century opposition from the church sent it into decline and it only survived in a few places in Wales. Like many other traditions though, it’s making a comeback. I don’t like singing so I scribbled instead.

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