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Finishing A Sketchbook

29 Sep

1cefnbrynbrain

A few weeks into the pandemic lockdown, when it became obvious that it was going to last a long while, I set myself some lockdown challenges. One is to improve my painting skills, which I’ve been doing with the Friday Cheese and Wine Painting Club on Facebook, practising faking well known paintings. Another is to do Tai Chi every day, which I’ve pretty much managed. A third is to have cold showers – my family have all got into Wim Hof so I’m giving it a try – it’s hell! And I also wanted to practise charcoal drawing, something I’ve avoided for years because I didn’t like the messiness. A friend gave me a lovely Khadi sketchbook for Xmas, the paper is heavy and rough and it really suits my Daler Rowney willow charcoal.

Husb and I took a drive to the Brecon Beacons on Saturday and stopped the car to look at the magnificent view and I made the last drawing in my book – number 30. The day was brilliantly sunny but also very cold and windy, so the sketch was quick and, well, sketchy. My shadow looms darkly in the bottom left of the scene.

Here’s a short video showing what it’s like drawing at the top of a mountain.

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Working in wild windy Wales.

A post shared by Rose Davies (@rosiescribblah) on

 

 

 

A Chance To Own One Of My Artworks

I have some small screenprints for sale, inspired by my drawings of the taxidermy collection at Swansea Museum. I have given these antique artifacts a modern twist by combining them with images of rubbish – old fruit nets, bubble wrap and plastic – highlighting the problem of human pollution and how it affects wildlife.

To buy my work on the Swansea Print Workshop site please click the image to the left.

In this one, I combined the image of the bird with snippets of text of things my Nana used to say. She used to take me to Swansea Museum a lot when I was small and I could hear her voice in the back of my head as I was sitting and drawing the birds and bugs.

20 percent of the cost of each screenprint sold goes to support Swansea Print Workshop, which receives no public funding.

 

Tonto The Dog And A Pochoir Design

15 Aug

Jack 2

I don’t often take on design work but I need to put together an adult education instruction pamphlet, cutting stencils and building up layers of acrylic paint for a finished “pochoir“. It’s a word that’s hardly ever used now, it’s a multi layered stencil print. It was very popular in the first half of the 20th century and Picasso, Matisse, Braque and Miro are some of the artists who used the technique.

Jack 1

I started with a simple sketch of a Jack Russell, then I worked out how many colours I am going to print, which will give me the amount of stencils I need to cut. Then I had a practice doing some bones for the background, in gouache. I haven’t used gouache for yonks – years and years – but I had some in a box. They’re a good make, Winsor & Newton, so they’re still in excellent condition. I’d forgotten how much fun gouache is to play with.

That’s the guts of the design worked out, I’ll refine it as I’m cutting the stencils and decide on the final composition when I’m ready to print.

I love Jack Russells. My favourite is Tonto, who appeared on UK television in adverts for John Smith’s bitter. He was a great little dog. Here he is on video.

The First Cut

28 Apr

first cut

I made a start on carving my two latest lino blocks. The first cut is made with my smallest cutting tool to carefully carve the outlines. It’s the fiddliest bit of the process, I think and it takes time and concentration.

Sparty rain

It rained today for the first time in ages and Sparta Puss commandeered my dust sheet in my studio while she watched the rain coming down. She wasn’t too happy, she’s been enjoying being out in the garden all day for weeks now.

Here’s a short film of David Bull, a woodblock carver based in Japan. It’s a joy to watch him carving a block – wonderful….

 

 

 

 

 

Four Females And A Film Festival

5 Mar

cinema co 1

I cut this MDF woodblock a couple of months ago and got round to printing it today, using Cranfield Caligo Safe Wash relief ink in black onto Japanese Hosho paper, using a Japanese bamboo baren instead of a press. It’s my interpretation of the logo of local independent picture house Cinema & Co.

It’s a great place that supports local culture in many ways including giving artists free space to show our work. They don’t charge commission, all they ask is for artists to make a piece of work relating to the cinema. So here’s mine.

IWD

There’s a fantastic evening coming up on March 12th to celebrate International Womens’ Day. From 5.30 to 7.30 there’s the launch of an exhibition by four local artists (above) – Sally Davies, Esther Ley, Patti McKenna-Jones and me (FREE with home-made cake).

Feminista

And that’s followed by the Feminista Film Festival from 7.30 to 9.30 (info and tickets here). This series of shorts tells the most inspiring stories about women and girls around the world, from America, Syria, Greenland and more. Here’s the trailer….

 

 

 

Onto The Next Block ……

23 Feb

herstory 1a

As one art project comes to an end, the next one gets started. I’m cutting a new little lino block – something for International Womens’ Day #IWD2020 . I’m using hard brown lino and I’ll fix the block to a stamp base that I bought in the Modular store in Berlin a while back.

And here’s a very short video of me finishing printing my last little lino block on my antique Sampson Mordan & Co press. It’s a gorgeous chunk of cast iron with lush Victorian styling and rather Steampunk.

 

 

This little block in the video is part of a print I am editioning, designed by Jamie Reid for GS Artists, who are showing an exhibition of his radical art in Swansea at the moment.

 

dragons-revenge

A Sharp Tool And A Strop

19 Feb

stamp 1

When I’m cutting blocks for printmaking, whether it’s lino, vinyl, wood or foamboard it’s vitally important to keep my tools sharp. Once a tool goes blunt it’s a dickens of a job to sharpen it again. Sharpening your tools as you work slows you down a bit but it is more efficient than sharpening tools from scratch. I use Flexcut tools and the Flexcut strop system to keep them sharp. Here’s a short video of my sharpening strop in action.

 

 

 

This little block is part of a print I am editioning, designed by Jamie Reid for GS Artists, who are showing an exhibition of his radical art in Swansea at the moment.

 
dragons-revenge

Messy!

18 Feb

printing 1

I’m onto the messy stages of screenprinting now … squeegeeing ink through the stencil on the silk mesh on to the paper below. I’m almost half way through the edition, hope to have it finished by the end of the week.

printing 2

 

Here’s a short video of me using the vacuum screenpress to print the image at Swansea Print Workshop.

 

 

I’m developing an edition of mixed media prints for GS Artists from an original by Jamie Reid. There is a great exhibition of his work running until March 1st and here’s some more info about the show and the prints, which will be in a limited edition of 75.

dragons-revenge

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.

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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 …

 

 

 

 

A Gig On #Caturday

24 Aug

omnichron 3

 

Husb and I just got back from a gig at Cinema & Co with the fabulous psychedelic band Omnichron. Of course, I had to have a scribble.

 

 

Here’s a lovely song for #Caturday  by Omnichron – it’s about a cat called Marmalade…

 

 

 

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