Tag Archives: Aberfan

Finding Ideas And The Hafod Tip

3 Nov
tip 1e

Building the strata of the gigantic tip with collage papers

I love watching the late great Bob Ross on the TV. I don’t particularly like his paintings but I love to listen to him and his observations. One of the things he says a lot is that painting isn’t difficult, what’s hard is deciding what to paint, coming up with ideas. That’s so true.

tip 1a

Two pieces of Fabriano Accademica 200gsm paper with my home made walnut ink dripped over them.

I’ve hit a creative block during the Covid19 pandemic and I’m trying out all sorts of things to lift it. But the issue isn’t really with skills or techniques as I do a lot of practice, it’s finding somthing to inspire me. My life would be a lot easier if I painted portraits or nice landscapes, there’s always a market for those, but they just don’t motivate me.

tip 1b

I added a ripped piece of Fabriano Accademica that I had scribbled randomly with soft pastels

Earlier today, Husb and I were chatting about our childhoods. It was recently the anniversary of the Aberfan tragedy, but that wasn’t the only tip in Wales. Husb and I grew up on opposite sides of the Hafod tip in Swansea and after Aberfan the authorities removed it. It took many years and it was filthy. We breathed and ate that tip as we were growing up. It was very toxic and after it was flattened, they built a school on it. Who cares if working class kids go to school on top of toxic waste, eh?

tip 1c

I added a couple of pieces of vintage W. H. Saunders paper that I had screenprinted with some small drawings from my sketch books – I didn;t like them so I scribbled over and over with chalks, charcoals and soft pastels.

Anyway, I remembered that it was the very first thing I ever painted. Someone had bought me some kids paints for my birthday, I guess I was about 8 or 9, and the Hafod tip loomed huge outside my bedroom window. So I painted it’s overwhelming darkness over and over again. Maybe I was an odd kid. So I went back to that imagery and started playing with pieces of paper from my plans chest – papers that over the years I have coloured with inks, pastels and leftover paints.

tip 1d

And another strip of the dark squiggles over the bottom edge of the walnut paper

I have no idea where this is going, maybe nowhere, but maybe I need to explore my past a bit and see what happens. The good thing about using these collage papers is that once I’ve taken the photos, I can dismantle the whole thing and start again. Let’s see …..

 

 

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 and to see the complete image.

Inspired by drawings of the taxidermy collection at Swansea Museum. I have given these antique artefacts 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.

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

King Coal’s Sacrifice

16 Sep

Charcoal and graphite drawing.

 

One morning when I was eleven years old our headmistress announced at assembly that a coaltip had engulfed a small primary school in a village just a few miles away. That village was Aberfan and almost 150 tiny children and their teachers were crushed and suffocated to death that dreadful day. I remember the silent sadness that hung over the school and when I went home, walking down our street, grown-ups were out talking to each other and openly weeping. I had never seen adults cry before.

And now another mining tragedy has hit South Wales as four miners died today in the Gleision pit in Cilybebyll, again just a few short miles away. We live our lives enjoying our wonderful standard of living but it’s only on days like this that we ever stop to think of the real cost of our consumerist lifestyles; the people labouring miles below ground in filthy, backbreaking conditions all over the world and the terrible cost to them and their families.

Sudden death,  burns, crippling injuries, wicked lung diseases that rot miners from the inside over many painful years before death finally claims them. And too many work in countries, for companies, that don’t have anywhere near the safety standards or free healthcare that we have here in Britain. These tragedies have been happening for centuries and they’ll keep on happening because we’ll keep on buying the goods that they provide the raw materials for.  And it will go on and on ….

This is a drawing in compressed charcoal and 6B graphite block into an A2 layout pad.

 

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