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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.

Class Glass

12 Dec

 

Dinas garage

I had a lovely surprise today. Local stained glass artist Deanne Mangold, of Class Glass Wales, came to visit with a glass panel for me based on one of my drawings of ancient standing stones. Deanne had seen some of my drawings at an exhibition, Yr Helfa / The Hunt and wanted to translate one or two into stained glass. And here’s the result. I love it, it’s gorgeous.

 

The original drawing was done in the field, literally a field behind the garage in Dinas, North Pembrokeshire, where there’s a magnificent ancient stone monument. If you want to see more of my drawings en plein air of Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in Wales, please visit my Artfinder gallery.

 

Saint, Sunlight And Scabby Exterior

28 Nov

 

St Christopher b

I did more sketching towards the end of my recent holiday in Italy, in Bologna, than earlier in Florence, mainly, I think, because making art is my profession and drawing while I’m on vacation feels like work. But after a few days I had itchy fingers and started to scribble in my sketchbook again. We visited some magnificent churches and cathedrals; this one below is the Basilica of San Petronio. The outside façade was left unfinished and in quite a rough state, which is in complete contrast to the fascinating interior, allegedly because the architect wanted to rival St. Peter’s in Rome and once the Pope got wind of it, he put pressure on to stop the project from being completed.

 

church b

One of the many beautiful things inside is a gorgeous painting of Saint Christopher. I managed a very quick sketch which doesn’t do it justice at all. Another fascinating thing is the longest meridian line in the world, marking out a calendar on the marble floor. We stayed and watched it in action just after noon, where a large dot of sunlight appeared alongside the date shown on the floor. It was very exciting!

 

The holiday was arranged by New Scientist magazine and focused on Renaissance art, architecture and science, expertly led by Andrew Spira.

 

The Skinless

27 Nov

anatomy b

Another quick sketch from my recent trip to Northern Italy, this one from the Anatomical Theatre in the Palazzo Archiginnasio in Bologna. The theatre, built in 1637 by Antonio Levante, is a beautiful room in carved wood which looks, to me anyway, like a classical anatomy theatre should. There are two wonderful life-size wooden statues of the Spellati – the Skinless – by Ercole Lelli and I managed to scribble one of them.

Bokashi!

26 Nov

Hiroshige 1

Husb and I spent a few days away in Northern Italy, exploring museums and galleries on a guided tour arranged by New Scientist magazine. We took in a fabulous exhibition, “Beyond The Wave”, of Japanese Ukiyo e printmakers, Hokusai and Hiroshige in Bologna. I was fascinated by their process. To my surprise, the artists themselves didn’t do any printmaking, but just provided the initial simple ink line drawing (which didn’t survive the process). The drawing was transferred to a number of blocks, up to fifteen depending on the amount of colours, and cut by a carver. Finally the blocks were handed over to a printmaker to produce the fabulous full-colour images that we’re used to seeing today. This process reminds me of that used in the production of modern comics, with the artist producing pencil drawings, handing them over to an inker and then to a letterer. Coincidentally, Hokusai and Hiroshige are a great influence on Japanese Manga and Anime.

In my small sketchbook, I made some little studies of the beautiful simple compositions of some of the prints. Most had very sparse detail and the artist’s original line drawings are usually quite basic. The richness of pattern and colour are down to the skills of the printmaker who often used a blending technique called Bokashi which gives beautifully graduated colours. Ukiyo e prints became very fashionable through Japonism and had an enormous influence on later 19th century and 20th century European art and artists including the Impressionists and post-Impressionists and individual artists including Cassatt, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and van Gogh.

Galvani

24 Nov

galvani

It’s tiring going round museums and galleries and churches, so Husb and I had a bit of a sit down in the Piazza Galvani in Bologna, which has a large statue of Luigi Galvani, the pioneer of bioelectromagnetics whose work inspired Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein. When I draw statues, I try to get them from unusual angles and this one just happened to have a seat right behind the tails of his coat. Very convenient.

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