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Anointing The Apple Trees.

11 Jan

mari 4 2020

 

In two days on January 13th it will be Hen Galan, the ‘old’ New Year in Wales, which is heralded by the tradition of the Mari Lwyd (Grey Mare). It’s a pre-Christian custom rooted in the worship of the ancient Celtic horse goddess Epona, known in Welsh culture as Rhiannon.

 

mari 1 2020

 

Husb and I went to the Gower Wassail festival today, which included a parade of Mari Lwyds by torchlight, with lots of music and shouting to ‘wake up’ the apple trees in the orchard, and to anoint their roots with cider. It’s an ancient ritual meant to encourage a good apple harvest next year. Here’s Husb getting dressed as a Mari – traditionally although the Mari is female, the person inside is a man, although these days there are women puppeteers as well. You can see the horse skull on the floor.

Quizzing

7 Jan

brunz quiz 1a

A couple of quick sketches at our local pub quiz. We were abysmal, 28 out of 40 – the winners scored 38! I’m getting back to normal after the mid-winter shenanigans where I took a bit of a break from doing art – or anything much else to be honest, apart from eating my own body weight in cheese! So back to sketching every day. I used a ballpoint pen for these very quick scribbles into an A6 size pocket sketchbook.

Michael Sheen Is Finished!

5 Dec

sheen 9

I finally stopped working on Michael Sheen lunchtime today – I’ve been stitching him up for a week and a half. In my spare time mind, not 24/7. He’s nestled with all the other Michael Sheens down at GS Artists on Swansea’s High Street right now, waiting for the big exhibition opening this Saturday at 4pm.

Will It Ever End?

4 Dec

sheen 8

Still at it, stitching my portrait of Michael Sheen. Getting there but not got there yet. I must hand it in by lunchtime tomorrow. It’s going everywhere with me at the moment, to the pub, to the art gallery. I’m sitting and stitching like the knitters in front of the guillotine back in the French Revolution.

 

 

 

Yeah You Guessed It ….

3 Dec

sheen 7

Yeah you guessed it …. I’m still stitching that portrait of Michael Sheen.  He has a mouth now and the beginnings of eyebrows and his face is nearly finished. I think I can get his hair done this evening. I have about 36 hours to finish it.

Switching Stitching

30 Nov

sheen 7

Still working on Michael Sheen. I’ve nearly finished stitching his face so I had a bit of a change and switched to working on a few curls. His hair is quite salt and pepper in the reference photo, which gives very good definition to the curly bits. I’m making this for the 9 to 90 creative festival in Swansea,  …..coming up soon

Still At It With Michael Sheen

28 Nov

sheen 6

Doing it slow ….. very slow ….. will I finish this by the deadline?

workshops-9to90

 

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.

Here Be Dragons small

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.

b

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 …..

Tucked Away

21 Nov

gsa 4

 

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.

Blind Contour And Continuous Line

18 Nov

gsa 3

 

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.

 

 

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