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Concrete And Astroturf??!!

16 Jul

loganberry cordial

Husb and I are keen gardeners, well, no, that’s not true. I’m a keen gardener and Husb would happily fill the garden with concrete and Astroturf! Our garden is small but we also have an allotment and grow a lot of fruit and some veg. At this time of year, we’re picking our produce which means spending time cleaning and preserving it. Today we made 6 jars of gooseberry and elderflower jam and 6 bottles of loganberry cordial and picked about 4 kilos of jostaberries (a cross between gooseberries and blackcurrants), a kilo of rhubarb and a load of rainbow chard. Not much chance of doing anything arty with all this going on, but I did this drawing a while back of our local castle which overlooks the allotments. It’s an idyllic place, we’re very lucky.

Tomorrow, I’ll be jamming all those jostaberries and making rhubarb chutney.

Walking And Drawing

8 Jul

walk and draw

I spent yesterday evening with a group of really lovely women at a creative arts workshop in the beautiful surroundings of North Gower. We went for a walk in the glorious sunshine and some us us did a ‘Walk And Draw’ which really focuses you on being very selective as you can’t draw everything in front of you – you’re on the move – and there’s way too much to draw in an ever-changing landscape anyway. It’s a good opportunity to get a bit abstracted and develop a shorthand of motifs for different features, a sort of storyline. For example, a sun-drenched path might be translated into a bright crescent swirl of white, an interesting building morphs into a few dynamic diagonals….. I used compressed charcoal, chalk and a soft ochre pastel onto brown parcel paper.

Print Explosion at Volcano

4 Jul
pak1

Punjab Storm #1, a monotype by me based on an original drawing from my residency in Pakistan in 2014

There’s a new exhibition at Volcano on Swansea’s High Street called Print Explosion! It’s the annual show for members of Swansea Print Workshop and I have 8 original prints in it. The opening party is on Friday July 6th, 6.30 – 9.00 pm and the show runs until Saturday July 28th. If you’re passing, please drop by 🙂

2018 SPW poster text only

Out Of My Comfort Zone!

30 Jun

Today! Right out of my comfort zone!

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Designing the book cover

 

I’ve been at Swansea Print Workshop on day one of a weekend course with the excellent printmaker Kelly Stewart. I’m learning how to make a hardbacked screenprinted concertina book inspired by my drawings.

I started with a group of mixed media drawings of Neolithic Standing Stones I had done some time ago, a series I called ‘Yr Helfa / The Hunt‘, done en plein air across South Wales. But it’s often a problem trying to develop work from one genre to another because no matter what ideas you have, you are constrained by new techniques and materials that you haven’t experienced before.

It was hard work and by midday I was almost ready to throw in the towel and leave. But I persevered with Kelly’s encouragement and eventually came up with six drawings / motifs that will be printed and overprinted to form the book’s interior and designs for the front and back covers. I photocopied them onto acetates and Kelly transferred them, via the ultraviolet unit, onto prepared photoscreens. All set for tomorrow now.

Suffering For My Art!

11 Jun
workers 1

Me and my unruly hair talking about my work on ancient standing stones.

 

I had a fab evening out last week, up The Workers, a lovely gallery in the village of Ynyshir in the Rhondda Valley. On the first Thursday of each month, they host an evening of Words, Arts and Music (WAM) and I was part of it this month. I did a talk about my work, mainly the en plein air pieces I did in collaboration with prehistorian Dewi Bowen, who’s been researching his new book, and filmmaker Melvyn Williams.

 

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Some of the mixed media drawings in my series ‘Yr Helfa’.

 

Dewi did an illustrated talk about ancient monuments in the area around Rhondda and Melvyn premiered the new film he’s made of me and Dewi on our creative journey across South Wales. Here’s the film below. People in the audience seemed to find it funny, especially the bits of me suffering for my art!!!

 

Drawn To Monotype

5 Jun

sleeping woman

I’ve been searching through my older work today. I do it from time to time because I find it helps me to analyse what I’m doing now. And also it reminds me what I have tucked away in my plans chest, often things I had forgotten.

SONY DSC

These two reminded me how crucial drawing is to my art practice. The first was done during the weekly life drawing session at Swansea Print Workshop. I liked the composition so much that I used it to develop this monotype, a technique I often use when I want to work in colour. I’ve never been particularly interested in painting, I’d rather use a printmaking process any day. You can find out more about this process in my Techie Stuff section here.

 

WAM night June 2018

Just a reminder about this night coming up fast in the Rhonddda Valley

The Net Shops

3 Jun

net sheds

Here’s a quick little sketch I did on my recent visit to Hastings. We walked along the sea front to the Old Town, which is a fishing village, and saw these odd, elongated dark wooden sheds. It turns out they’re net shops / sheds, the fishermen had limited space to hang their nets so built the sheds very high, three stories and painted black. There were also normal size sheds, also very dark wood, that sold the freshest of fish, landed that day. It is lovely to see a traditional industry dating back to the early 19th century still thriving.

W!A!M! At The Workers

31 May

WAM night June 2018

Coming up fast – Thursday June 7th at The Workers Gallery, Ynyshir from 7pm. There will be art (from me), film (from Melvyn Williams), prehistory (from Dewi Bowen), cake, chocolates (from Afan Vale) and there may even be music. All free. How can you miss this? If you haven’t visited this little gem of a gallery before, then make this your first time. It’s run by artists for artists and it’s just awesome and it’s Trip Advisor’s number 1 attraction in the Rhondda Valley and yet receives NO public funding. So please come and support it. The W!A!M! evenings are on the first Thursday of every month and are brilliant. Seriously. And I’m not just saying that because I’m in the next one. Honest 😉

Here’s a tiny preview of what to expect from Melvyn’s film ….

 

Talk Turned Geeky

17 Apr

SONY DSC

Husb and I had a teatime visit from friends today and, as one of them is a fellow printmaker, the talk turned geeky. She noticed a number of my blockprinted portrait heads on the wall and we chatted about materials and techniques. Instead of the traditional lino or wood, or even modern vinyl, I used signwriters PVC foam sheet called Foamex. Lots of signwriters around here use it and chuck away the offcuts so it’s easy to get hold of them for free and recycle it.

flotex head

It’s not easy to cut with conventional tools, it works better if you incise the surface. I used screwdrivers, chisels, ballpoint pen and a four-inch screw which I used to incise lines against a steel rule. Then I cut around the edge with a junior hacksaw and printed it up with black litho/relief oil-based ink onto Zercoll 145gsm paper using the Colombian Press at Swansea Print Workshop.

If you want to see more of these portrait heads, which I based on drawings I made during my first visit to Pakistan, please click here.

Gold Mine In The Rain

2 Apr

Dolaucothi

It’s the British Bank Holiday so of course, the rain was tipping down. Husb and I got fed up looking out of the window at the Easter deluge and took off up to Dolaucothi to have a look around the Roman goldmine. It’s a lovely part of the country and we had a good time, despite the torrential sky juice.

The mines were originally worked in pre-Roman times, then the Romans invaded and took them over. Then they fell into disuse until the Victorians had a go and they finally closed in the 1940’s so there was a lot of historical stuff to see on site. I had a scribble, sheltering in the engine house and sketching the industrial machinery and landscape outside, using white, sanguine and black conté crayons into my A4 brown paper sketchbook.

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