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Having A Rummage

29 Jun

manier couleur

Inspiration…

We find inspiration often in the oddest places. I never thought that I’d be inspired by Victorian culverts way out up in the Brecon Beacons, but here we are. I recently made a series of sketchbook drawings of culverts on a field trip with scientists Steph and James from the FIRE Lab project in Swansea University’s Department of Zoology. I’m playing around with the imagery to see what emerges.

Rummaging…

I was having a rummage in my paper draw the other day and found some pieces of paper that I’d stretched ages ago, gessoed and sponged randomly with thin glazes of acrylic paint. I’d forgotten all about them so I grabbed one and smeared compressed charcoal over a section of it and then started rubbing into it with wire wool and aluminium oxide paper. Finally, I added a few charcoal lines. I like it. It’s very different to what I’ve been doing most of my life.

 

 

Splodges Of Watercolour

31 May


I went to a birthday party in a fabulous garden in Llwynhendy last weekend and of course, I had to have a scribble. I sat near the pond as dusk was falling and did a very quick sketch with ballpoint pen into my A6 hardbound sketchbook. Then I added some splodges of watercolour. I didn’t have any black with me which is a pity because I needed to damp the colour down to reflect the atmosphere at dusk. I used Isabey brushes and Winsor & Newton artist quality watercolour paints.

Like Liquid Silk

30 May

culvert 1

I did some development work today, using one of the drawings I did en plein air on a recent field trip with colleagues from Swansea University’s FIRE Laboratory. I sketched some culverts up in the Brecon Beacons, near the source of the River Tawe and today I worked on a very large piece of vintage Waterford paper with my own home-made walnut ink and some Isabey brushes.

The paper is lovely, very thick with deckle edges and the ink glides across its surface like rich sepia liquid silk. I used the ink neat and watered down into a mid-brown wash and I also splashed ink across the surface. I’ll leave it a couple of days then decide how I want to proceed – do I use colour or not? Or should I put in some darker tones with Indian Ink?

 

 

Abstract And Graphic

28 May

 

culvert 4

I took a different viewpoint for this drawing of a culvert up in the Brecon Beacons, sketching from above, facing along the path of the stream as it trickled downhill to join the River Tawe. I was travelling along the route of the River Tawe to it’s source in the Brecon Beacons, accompanied by two colleagues from the FIRE Laboratory unit at Swansea University who were studying the environment around and under the culverts. I used compressed charcoal and chalk into an A4 brown paper sketchbook. The thickness of the media encourages an abstracted  technique and I like the rather graphic qualities of this drawing.

Little Ecosystems

27 May

 

culvert 3

Travelling recently along the route of the River Tawe to it’s source in the Brecon Beacons, I accompanied two colleagues from the FIRE Laboratory unit at Swansea University. We turned off the A4067 just after the Tafarn y Garreg pub and took the road to Trecastle, looking at culverts that transported streams and tributaries under the road. Each has it’s own little ecosystem. I walked around the sites, until I felt inspired to draw. This was a fine culvert, quite long and fairly large and dark, with an intense splash of sunlit colour at the far end. I didn’t find it easy to draw moving water, especially with fairly primitive drawing materials – compressed charcoal and chalk.

culvert 3a

Protected From Feral Sheep

26 May

culvert 2

Another drawing from my second field trip with Swansea University’s FIRE Laboratory project. We were studying culverts that carry tributaries down to the River Tawe, up near its source in the Brecon Beacons. Using compressed charcoal and chalk into an A4 brown paper sketchbook, I focussed on getting an impression, rather than detail. There was a cretaegus growing out of the sturdy Victorian masonry, possibly because it’s well protected from the feral sheep.

Dan Y Ffordd / Under The Road

25 May

culvert 1

This week I went on my second field trip with Swansea University’s FIRE Lab project. We went along the old road after turning off the A4067 at the Tafarn y Garreg Inn. My colleagues were studying the bridges and culverts that direct the numerous streams under the road on their way down to merge with the River Tawe, which is quite close to its source here. I worked into a brown paper A4 sketchbook with compressed charcoal and white chalk.

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 …..

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