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Flashback To The Desert

7 Jan

desert drawing

It seems like a long time ago that Husb and I were in Jordan, but it was just a few weeks. I did this drawing in my sketchbook as we sat on a rocky ridge in the Wadi Rum desert waiting for the sunset, which was incredible, so beautiful, vast, silent.

sunset 1

Photograph by M. Williams

Drawing In The Moment

22 Dec

qusayr 2

 

I prefer to sketch when I’m travelling and take very few photographs because when I look back at photos and drawings, it’s the sketches that put me back into the moment and make the memory more vivid. Here’s a quick sketch outside the UNESCO World Heritage site, Quasayr’ Amra, a desert castle in the north of Jordan, to the eaast of the capital city of Amman.

Drawing In The Pleasure Palace

21 Dec

drawing 1

Husb and I travelled to a lot of fascinating places during our recent trip to Jordan. I did this drawing in Qusayr’ Amra, a desert castle, pleasure palace and UNESCO World Heritage site in the east of the country. It’s about 1,700 years old and it’s interior is covered in magnificent frescoes, unusually for a Moslem country because they accurately represent animals and humans. In this particular one (above), I noticed that she only has three fingers, which is very common in modern cartoons. And the use of patterns in some of the paintings (below) is very contemporary.

Qusayr

 

 

 

Petroglyphs, Camels and a Wadi Rum Pallette

19 Dec

pallette

Husb and I camped overnight in the Wadi Rum desert last week. The colours were wonderful, so complex. I didn’t have time to do “landscape” paintings so throughout the trip I focused on capturing the colours around me with Winsor & Newton watercolours onto Somerset paper, creating my own locality pallette.

There were camels…. it was like the Lawrence of Arabia film. Wadi Rum is where he did a lot of his shenanigans.

camels

 

And there were ancient petroglyphs, featuring camels.

 

petroglyphs

 

 

Dead Sea Pallette

17 Dec

dead sea pallette

I do some artwork when I’m travelling, but there’s no time to do completed pieces. I’m not there to carry on working but also I don’t want to miss the chance to do something creative in a new environment, so this time I decided to try and record the colours of a place, to create a pallete of local colours, using Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolours. Here’s my Dead Sea pallete, on a warm but misty day which made the land and sea look quite smudgey. I’m on a beach in Jordan, looking over to the West Bank.

dead sea

More Psychedelic Stone

16 Dec

petra 2

More amazing stone from the city of Petra in Jordan. This reminds me of a landscape but it’s formed entirely naturally in the rock.

 

What’s That When It’s At Home?

24 Nov

I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for decades, just getting on with it, doing my art, mostly sketchbooks from reality, life drawing and printmaking, while working with marginalised people – the homeless and the drug and alcohol dependent. As far as I was concerned, these were not two different things, but are inter-dependent. When people asked what I did, it took ages to explain. Now, apparently, I’m a socially engaged artist. So there we are.

Afghan refugee children

It isn’t just about how I integrate living as an artist with working with people at the edge of society – it also informs the artwork I do. For example, I made this monotype (above) from my first visit to Pakistan over a decade ago now. It was a relatively peaceful period and we were visiting the Khyber Pass and I was inspired by Afghan refugees travelling back to their homes.

walking to greenham

In my sketchbooks, I draw from real life, both the ordinary that’s around me every day and the special events like demonstrations and meetings. Here’s a drawing I did on the march to commemorate Greenham Common back last year.

Here Be Dragons small

Sometimes my work is directly political, like “Here Be Dragons” that was commissioned last year by Sky Arts TV channel.

Flag final

And the flag of Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd designed for the AUOB Cymru marches.

b

Recently, I’ve become an artist-in-residence and researcher in the FIRE Laboratory in Swansea University’s Department of Bioscience, working at the interface between art and environmental science.

Or I just draw people getting on with their lives on the streets of Swansea….

 

So when people ask what I do, now I say “I’m a socially engaged artist” and they go “So what’s that when it’s at home then?”

 

And it takes ages to explain …..

We’re Not Proud

9 Nov

From November 9th at Cinema & Co, Swansea, the new BogArt exhibition by me and Patti McJones.

caco 1

Art is mostly exhibited in galleries and museums that can be quite intimidating to many people, so Patti and I took up an offer by Anna, the owner of Cinema & Co, to use her substantial toilets to exhibit some of our work. We call it BogArt – art in the bogs – and it’s very democratic because people don’t have to go to a gallery but everyone has to go to the toilet. We’re not too proud to show our work here.

The work will be up for a few months but please look at Cinema and Co’s website for opening times. And here’s a short film of us talking about it …

 

 

 

 

Heads On Show

4 Nov

Pakistan suite small

I did this suite of portrait heads based on drawings from my first visit to Pakistan a few years back. I used polyurethane foamboard, the sort used by signwriters, instead of lino or wood. The block below is the one on the left in the middle row above, inked up and printed.

flotex head

They’ve never been exhibited as a group before but they will be very soon, in Swansea’s Cinema & Co from this coming Saturday, November 9th.

Musing On Cubism

15 Sep

Gateshead 2

I visited Gateshead earlier this week for a couple of days and did a bit of scribbling from the bank of the River Tyne. Here’s the Millenium Bridge with the skyline of Newcastle behind it. I’ve been reading Volume 2 of Hockney, The Biography by Simon Sykes and really got into the section about his experiments with Cubism. He points out that as the eye moves across the subject, the act of drawing focuses on each thing in turn, bringing it into prominence and that’s what Cubism tries to capture. As I did a continuous line sketch, I noticed that different areas loomed larger as I drew them so I went with it. Interesting, I might try doing this in a bit more of a structured way.

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