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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.

Nephew In A Hoodie

29 Jan

Nathan 2020

Nephew in a hoodie. Like it says on the tin. Drawn with a ballpoint pen into my A6 sketchbook. He’s so cute!

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.

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.

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