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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.

Abstracting The Falls

31 Mar

aberdulais 2

Here’s the second drawing I did at Aberdulais Falls. It’s a picturesque place that has been immortalised in art over some centuries, even being painted by Turner himself. There no way I can compete with Turner so I looked for the abstraction in nature to focus on. I sort of squinted a bit to make my vision slightly fuzzy and concentrated on drawing the shapes I saw as the falls tumbled away below me. I used firm upright and diagonal lines to represent the rocks and cliffs and freer, more squiggly lines for the water, in white, sanguine and black conté crayons into my A4 brown paper sketchbook.

Before The Deluge

30 Mar

aberdulais 1

It’s a Bank Holiday and rain is forecast so Husb and I got out of the house before the deluge started and went off to Aberdulais Falls for a bit of a walk, some historical instruction and to do a quick scribble or two. I used white, sanguine and black conté crayon into my spiral bound A4 brown paper sketchbook from Seawhites of Brighton. I worked very quickly as it is still quite cold, just getting down the basic details of the scene. Then off to the cafe in the old schoolroom to warm up and have a cup of tea and slice of bara brith.

More BogArt

28 Mar

ew knows

More BogArt! The interesting and quirky Cinema & Co in Swansea is more than just a place that shows films, it is a space for comedy, music and art as well. The exhibitions in the main cinema change monthly but there is a great bit of exhibition space in the cinema’s two toilets (also known as the Bogs in British slang). So owner Anna Redfern offered me the space to curate BogArt and I jumped at the chance. It’s a captive audience for the art, after all. The one above is a mixed media piece, based on an original life drawing, called “I Knows ‘Ew Luvs Me Cos ‘Ew Buys Me Chips” which is a bit of a joke here in Swansea….

holocaust

And the one in the smaller bog is an ink drawing on Mylar film, inspired by my wintry visit to Berlin in the snow, where I saw the Holocaust Memorial under a layer of soft whiteness.

A Delicate Tracery

28 Feb

Drawing 3

 

I spent an hour or so making drawings of the same tree during my visit to Dinefwr Park last Sunday. I’ve never tried drawing a single tree before and certainly hadn’t done several studies. It was interesting moving around the tree and drawing from different angles and also varying my use of drawing media. In this, my final drawing, I used my home-made walnut ink  and a brush to block in the tree that was lying prone on the ground. Then I drew the strong lusty new growth in sweeping upward strokes of white conté crayon. Finally, with a sanguine conté I made jagged marks in the walnut ink while it was still wet and then sketched a delicate tracery of shadows on the white tree trunks. I’ve never worked like this before, the experience has given me a creative boost.

 

I joined a group of creative women just last Sunday, a women’s circle brought together the artist Fern Smith, a recipient of a Creative Wales Award who has organised “Seven Sundays in Spring: All The Women I’ve Ever Met“. This, the second, was in the 18th century landscape of Dynefor Park in Llandeilo.

 

INVITE

Reaching Lustily Skywards

27 Feb

Drawing 1

I joined a group of creative women just last Sunday, a women’s circle brought together the artist Fern Smith, a recipient of a Creative Wales Award who has organised “Seven Sundays in Spring: All The Women I’ve Ever Met“. This, the second, was in the 18th century landscape of Dynefor Park in Llandeilo. We walked in silent contemplation in the medieval Deer Park which was idyllic in the cold but bright Spring sunshine. I spent quite a bit of time drawing one tree. It had fallen and lay prone on the ground covered in moss, just a fraction of its original root system still anchoring it into the ground. But out of the twisted body of the fallen tree sprang large, strong trunks reaching lustily skywards.

I had taken a pot of my home-made walnut ink and some brushes, it seemed appropriate to draw the tree with ink made from the fruit of a tree. The ink is lovely to use, like drawing with liquid silk. I drew in sweeping broad strokes, capturing the essence of the shapes before me, rather than the detail in them.

 

INVITE

 

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.

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