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Cold And Cloudy

17 Jan

birkrigg

Husb and I spent a few days in the Lake District with family last week. I didn’t do much drawing because I was spending quality time with my relatives, but we had a quick walk up on Birkrigg Common and I had a bit of a scribble en plein air. It was bitterly cold and the sky was dark with looming clouds except where a streak of sunlight stabbed its way through and reflected off the sea of Morecambe Bay in the distance. I drew into my A4 brown paper sketchbook from Seawhites of Brighton with conté crayons in black, white and sanguine.

Sofa To Sea…..

30 Dec

dragons head 1

Husb and I forced ourselves out of our comfort zone aka the settee and took off to the magnificent Rhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula for a brisk walk. It was bracing as we headed past the National Trust centre towards Worm’s Head which had been cut off by the ferocious sea this afternoon. I found a spot that wasn’t quite as windswept as everywhere else and did some drawing en plein air, using black, white and sanguine conté crayons into an A4 hard-backed, spiral-bound brown paper sketchbook. I did a quick impressionistic sketch, partly because it was not easy drawing in high winds, and also because I don’t like working naturalistically with land- and seascapes.

Impression Of Heat

21 Dec

hot earth 2

I did some quick, impressionistic sketches while I was walking around on my visit to Portugal a couple of weeks ago. The earth is stratified, horizontally and vertically and made up of bright hot colours, reds, oranges, yellows and browns which contrast so vividly with the brilliant blue of the sky and sea.

I used Daler Rowney artist quality soft pastels into a 15cm square Khadi paper sketchbook, The paper is lovely, very textured, heavy and deckle-edged. I think it’s worth paying out for really good quality materials because a little goes a long way. These pastels have lasted me ages and there’s plenty more pigment left.

Balanced Rocks

17 Dec

stones 2

Exploring the local beaches around Albufeira last week, Husb and I found a cove full of balanced rock sculptures. It was a small sandy cove with a rock pavement jutting out from the base of the deeply fissured cliff and it was covered with little cairns. I drew this one with black, sanguine and white conté crayons into an A4 size brown paper sketchbook.

Hot Earth

14 Dec

hot earth

 

Here’s another drawing I did into my little Khadi sketchbook last week on the coast of Portugal. The colours were incredible, bright blue sky and sea and hot red and orange earths veined with dark greys. Extraordinary geology. There were also a lot of rock balancing sculptures in a little cove just to the east of Praia de Oura. It only just occurred to me that I should have tried drawing with the coloured earths! I’ll just have to go back.

 

rock stacks 1

 

 

Aloe Vera and Custard Tarts

13 Dec

aloe

I took a small Khadi sketchbook with me on my recent trip to Portugal and drew en plein air with Daler Rowney soft pastels. The landscape is very dramatic and I spotted these gigantic wintry Aloe Veras spearing the land and sky. The colours are so intense in the bright winter sunshine, so different to the soft greys and greens of home.

 

custard

 

Most of our walks along the beach ended up in the old town of Albufeira where we chanced upon a lovely tiny cafe and patisserie, the Pastelaria Barhon, that served heavenly Pasteis de Nata (Portugese custard tarts) that we had to eat to revive us because it was so tiring walking in the hot sun. Honest!

 

Back From The Sun

11 Dec

Yuccas

Husb and I have just got back from a few days in the sun. We bagged ourselves a package holiday to southern Portugal, Albufeira, to get some winter warmth. We had to leave the cats in the hands of a kitty sitter and they look fatter than ever. And I suspect that Sparta Puss might have got her paws on the computer when we were away! It’s a gorgeous place with fantastic geology and flora so I got down to some scribbling, using Daler Rowney artist soft pastels into my small square Khadi hand-made paper sketchbook. The heat and sunshine created such completely different colours to those I’m used to back home in Wales. And arriving back was a shock to the system. It’s been snowing heavily here and we landed to temperatures below freezing bbbrrrrrrrr …..

Workers’ Mates

27 Nov

2017 Punjabi Storm

I’m a gallery artist at the excellent Workers Gallery in Ynyshir where up to 20 invited artists are selected annually to have a square metre of permanent exhibition space and to work with the gallery to develop the exhibition programme and run regular residency and demo days. The Workers’ focuses on art made in Wales but also has a special programme of international artists throughout the year. It’s a lovely gallery, worth visiting.

Supporters of the gallery often become ‘Workers Mates’ for an annual contribution of £20 and in return they receive special exhibition opportunities, offers and VIP invitations. It’s an interesting model of working as it embeds the gallery in the local community through the Workers’ Mates scheme and also gives artists an opportunity to curate their own exhibition area.

I just visited last week and changed my ‘square metre’ to show these fairly new monotypes that haven’t been exhibited before. They’re based on impressionistic drawings I did during my last visit to Pakistan while I was travelling through The Punjab, and I used the 3-colour reduction technique with Caligo Safewash relief inks onto BFK Rives paper. See my Techie section for more about the technique.

 

 

Punjab To Rhondda With Cake

20 Nov

Winter Woodland artist residencies Nov 2017 b

I’m doing a one-day artist residency at The Workers Gallery in Ynyshir this coming Friday so if you’re in the area, or fancy that trip up the Rhondda Valley that you’ve been promising yourself, please pop in and see me. I’ll make a cake. Maybe a Victoria Sandwich.

Victoria Sandwich

When I did a residency in Pakistan, at the Zaira Zaka Print Studio three years ago, I travelled from Rawalpindi to Lahore across the vast expanse of the Punjab through some incredible weather conditions including the most ferocious thunderstorm I have ever experienced. In the car, I did 50 very quick impressionistic drawings of the journey into a small Khadi sketchbook, and these have inspired a series of small monotypes. I have done 10 so far and I’ll be working on some more at my residency in Ynyshir.

I edited the 50 original drawings together into a short video with a soundtrack taken from the sounds around me during my month-long stay. Here it is….

Close Up

16 Oct

20171013_125220

Although my visit to Avebury on Friday was a quick one, I spent some time looking closely at the magnificent stones there. They are covered with fantastic growths of lichens and the surface of the stones has been weathered and eroded across the millenia. I took a close-up drawing of a section of this stone.

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