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A Real Townie

23 May

Rose 6

I’m a real townie, the countryside is where the landscape lives along with lots of animals and birds I don’t know. I know what pigeons are, and seagulls, robins, sparrows, magpies and blackbirds. I am reasonably familiar with starlings, tits, sparrows, crows and budgies. On my “Walk and Draw” field trip along the Tawe riverbank last weekend I saw a jay (colourful), a kingfisher (even more colourful) and a grey heron (big). There were a few people fishing and we stopped to sketch this one guy. I did a quick drawing with ballpoint pen into my A6 cloth covered sketchbook.

En Plein Air

21 May

 

Rose 2

 

Here are a couple more drawings done en plein air last Saturday on my first field trip for the FIRE Lab project at Swansea University. I walked with a colleague up the Tawe river bank, 15 kilometres in all, and spent some of that time sketching. I like the drawings for their immediacy, the way they’re rooted in the moment.

 

Rose 3

I used compressed charcoal and chalk into a spiral bound A4 size brown paper sketchbook. I like using brown paper because it gives me an instant mid-tone.

Walk And Draw

20 May

Rose 1

I did a fifteen kilometre walk last Saturday, along the Tawe River path, from Sainsburys in Swansea to Tescos in Pontardawe. It’s really impressive how the path has been extended and improved over the past few years. There were loads of people using it too, walkers, cyclists, runners and people fishing. I did some ‘walk and draw’ sketching along parts of it, using compressed charcoal and chalk into an A4 ring-bound brown paper sketchpad. This is my first field trip for the FIRE Lab project at Swansea University…..more to come about that …..

Africa In Madeira

4 Apr

 

Madeira 2

Husb and I spent a few days in Madeira, an amazing place, and we went and explored the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens and Museum in Funchal, after a crazy ride up the mountain in a cable car swinging wildly in the wind.

Madeira 4

 

There’s a fabulous permanent exhibition, “African Passion” from sculptors from Zimbabwe in the 1960s.  I had a scribble with some conté crayons in white, sanguine and black onto grey tinted handmade paper. The two beautiful sculped heads that I drew are by Boira Mteki (1946-1991).

Madeira 3

 

It’s rare to be able to see so many, over 1,000, artworks from Africa from many artists, and the effect is extraordinary and the tropical gardens surrounding the museum are also spectacular.

A Bit Of A Lift

3 Apr

Husb and I have spent a few days in Madeira, a gorgeous mountainous island in the Atlantic. The climate is wonderful so we set out with a picnic and drawing materials to climb and explore the upper reaches of Camara do Lobos. The little terracotta tiled houses are scattered higgledy piggledy up the steep slopes, reached either by winding roads snaking their way up precipices or via incredibly steep footpaths and steps that are almost vertical, and in places quite terrifying, but much more interesting as they lead to all sorts of nooks and crannies.

It seems that every spare scrap of land is cultivated and we passed papayas, tangerines, figs, bananas, dates, custard apples, avocados and fruits we weren’t familiar with, possibly loquats and tamarillo. But above all, grape vines, millions of them. We stopped to eat our sandwiches and I had a scribble onto handmade paper tinted grey, using Daler Rowney soft pastels. When I got back to the hotel, I thought the drawing needed something to lift it a bit so I touched up the wooden struts supporting the vibes using a white pastel. I think it’s made the world of difference.

Tent City II

12 Mar

st paul's 2

Here’s another monotype I did recently with chine collé from an original sketchbook drawing at London’s “Tent City” a few years ago, the Occupy London protest outside Saint Paul’s Cathedral. My sketchbooks are full of scribbles from life and I don’t often find a way of using them, but recently I’ve done a small series of monotypes from the more political ones. The paper is vintage from the W. H. Saunders mill; the ink is Caligo Cranfield Safewash oil-based relief ink; and the chine collé is tissue paper.

It’s one of the artworks I’m exhibiting with the artist Patti McJones at Swansea’s Cinema & Co for the rest of this month as part of the celebration of International Women’s Day.

A Heavy Fog

19 Feb

kilns 1

Here’s a drawing I did a while back, en plein air, walking on the Brecon Beacons in winter with a sketchbook of black paper and a stick of white soft oil pastel. It was a very misty day, the fog hung heavily over the landscape and washed out the colour from the surroundings.

 

 

 

 

Tent City

13 Feb

tent city

Back in 2012 I was up in London for a couple of days and looked in on the Occupy London camp outside St. Paul’s Cathedral. I had a scribble, it was a higgledy piggledy mass of multi-coloured tents and ramshackle structures and it was great to draw in my little sketchbook. This is a detail of a larger monotype I’ve just done, based on my original drawing. I’ve used Caligo Cranfield Safe Wash relief ink onto a lovely vintage paper by WH Saunders and various tissues for chine collé to add splashes of colour.

This monotype will appear in my forthcoming exhibition, “Revolting Women” with artist Patricia McKenna-Jones, on International Women’s Day, March 8th at Swansea’s Cinema & Co.

 

 

Foggy And Hangliding

30 Dec

worms head

Husb and I met up with some friends today for a good walk down at Rhossili, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and a short drive from where we live. I took a brown paper sketchbook and some conté crayons to have a bit of a scribble. It was windy, cold and damp which didn’t make it easy to draw en plein air, so I stopped after a quick sketch. We walked down the steep path to the beginning of the causeway to the islands, which were cut off by the tide and then clambered back up the hillside. It was really foggy when we arrived but it lifted and some people took to hangliding above the huge beach.

Collage En Plein Air

29 Dec

Foxhole 7

Husb and I went for a walk down to Foxhole Bay on the Gower Peninsula today, partly to get some exercise and also to get some art work done en plein air. The land and sea are very rugged and I decided not to draw but to do some collage using papers I prepared quite a while ago, scribbling over recycled prints with oil pastels. I also had some sheets of sturdy watercolour paper that I had brushed with my home-made walnut ink.

 

 

We clambered down a steep, rough path and settled about 30 feet above sea level, on a flat area that is the remains of a rare Ipswichian raised beach, which was the sea level sometime in the past, probably before the last Ice Age. It was a good place to work, I laid out my board and ripped the different collage papers, laying them down on the watercolour paper and rearranging them, taking photos as I worked, inspired by, rather than slavishly copying, the environment around me. It’s an interesting way to work outside; the work of art is ephemeral, it exists in the camera. When I finished I smooshed the paper back into my folder to use another day.

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