Tag Archives: Berlin

Squished

12 Jun

squished

Our very last visit on our recent trip to Berlin was to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial church, which is in fact 2 churches. The newer church, built around the ruins of the older, has a spectacular – and huge – statue of Christ, designed by Karl Hemmeter, dominating the space. I had a quick scribble but underestimated how much space I needed for the spread of the arms, so I had to seriously squish them to fit into my A4 brown paper sketchbook. There was an organ recital going on when we wandered in so we, Husb, two great-nephews and myself, sat in the awe-inspiring space and enjoyed some classical organ music. Lovely.

 

Like Nana’s Range (might be distressing)

11 Jun

Crematoria

As Husb and I walked around the Saschenhausen Concentration Camp in Berlin last week (on a Sandemans Guided Tour) I sketched what I could on the move. It made it easier in some ways because I could detach myself slightly from my surroundings. A lot of the camp was destroyed by the Soviets after they took control of East Germany, but some parts remained, although badly damaged, like the crematoria that were used to destroy the bodies of the tens of thousands of people who were murdered here. Their bodies were originally shipped out in trucks to crematoria in the city, but one truck overturned and spilled bodies across a street so these crematoria were built so that the citizens of Berlin wouldn’t have to see such a distressful sight again.

All that’s left are a few small brick walls, the black metal ‘ovens’ and the metal girders that supported the brick structure. This was the point where I broke down. The ‘ovens’ look for all the world like the black iron range in my Nana’s kitchen when I was a child; happy memories of her kettle always bubbling away and goodies coming out of the little oven. Horror can look so ordinary and benign!

My parent’s generation lived through the war, many died on all sides. It is our duty to them to make sure it doesn’t happen again. These vile attitudes are on the rise once more in Europe. We have to stop them, we have to safeguard the future.

 

 

Just Like Home

9 Jun

Rain And Horror

Husb and I were in Berlin in a heatwave last week and we visited the Saschenhausen Concentration Camp in one of the Berlin suburbs. The temperature had been up to around 30° Celsius, way too hot for a bunch of gingery Celts but the skies grew dark and there was a sudden, very fierce, thunderstorm. Being Welsh, we just stood there in the pouring rain, just like home. Then we turned around and noticed that the rest of our tour group were all huddled for shelter at the side of one of the huts.

Concentration storm 2

I carried on drawing into my brown paper sketchbook. The rain spattered the conté crayons and made the drawing quite fuzzy, which I really like. It prevented me from getting bogged down in detail and forced me to take an emotional approach to the subject, three poles set into the concrete square that were used to punish the poor souls imprisoned in this hellhole.

My Hero

7 Jun

Kathe

Husb and I went to Berlin for a few days last week and spent an intense few hours at the Käthe Kollwitz Museum. I love her work and her life is an inspiration, she never relinquished her belief in social justice despite the enmity of both the First and Third Reich. I took a few minutes to draw from one of her bas relief bronze casts, using black, white and sanguine conté crayons into a brown paper sketchbook.

Never Forget

4 Jun

concentration camp

Husb and I spent a few days in Berlin this earlier this week and spent some time visiting the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp on the outskirts of the city. It was moving and chilling; I was shocked to discover that it was surrounded by a nice, middle-class housing estate. People turned a blind eye to the horror that was built in their midst. In these troubled times, with terror attacks by fundamentalists and calls for retaliation from extremists, we need to remember more than ever what can happen when intolerance gets out of hand.

Concentration storm

It wasn’t easy to sketch as we were moving more or less constantly as part of a guided tour (well worth paying for), but I managed some speed sketches and a few digital photos. There was a thunderstorm while we were there, the looming sky suited the place.

Cool Places

1 Jun

I haven’t blogged for a few days because I’ve been adventuring in Berlin, just a short break with family. Cool place, had a great time and I even did some drawings. I just got back, about an hour ago and it’s 10pm so I’ll just post a quick drawing I did a couple of weeks ago, when I was last out with prehistorian Dewi Bowen and filmmaker Melvyn Williams.

Sweynes Howse 3

Here’s a second sketch I did at another cool place, the Neolithic Sweyne’s Howes burial site at Rhossili,  this is the ruined southern Howse. I used black, sanguine and white conté crayons into an A4 brown paper sketchbook.

Sweynes Howse 6

 

The Husb

18 May

post industrial post modern post man

Husb is so patient, being married to an artist means he is constantly under scrutiny and liable to be scribbled at any time. And he sometimes finds his way out of the sketchbook and into other media. This is a full-colour ‘stacking’ monotype based on a sketch I did of him when we were on a train in Berlin a few years ago. He looks cold, it was -20 Celcius at the time and there was thick snow on the ground.

If you want to find out more about this monotype technique, please check out the link here  😀

I’m currently working on a series of expressive drawings of Neolithic and Bronze Age ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

Up The Workers (with added cat)!

24 Feb

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I have a permanent exhibition at The Workers Gallery in Ynyshir where I am one of the gallery artists. Started by Gayle Rogers and Chris Williams just over a year ago, The Workers has developed into a major cultural force in The Rhondda Valley. Originally the village library, Gayle and Chris took it over after it was closed down due to massive government cutbacks that have blighted so many deprived areas.

The stages of a block print: cutting, inking first colour, inking second colour, final print

The stages of a block print: cutting, inking colour 1, inking colour 2, final print

As well as a warm and welcoming place to visit, The Workers provides studio and workshop space for artists Gayle and Chris, has a main gallery space hosting an excellent programme of contemporary art, and another exhibition space for its gallery artists. At the moment, I am exhibiting a suite of eight block prints, inspired by a visit to Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial in the snow a few winters ago. There will be a major new exhibition of work by the gallery artists opening in mid-March – more news on that to come.

Printing the first colour on the antique Columbian Press at Swansea Print Workshop

Printing the first colour on the antique Columbian Press at Swansea Print Workshop

I’ve used vinyl ‘soft cut’ blocks from Intaglio Printmaker in London and their litho / relief ink. The prints are two-colour reduction relief prints: I cut away the areas to be left white and printed a mid grey, then cut away the areas to be left grey and printed black. This is often called the ‘suicide’ method by printmakers because it destroys the block and there’s no turning back!

cat and cut

Here’s my cat, Sparta Puss, ‘helping’ with the cutting. A dangerous business, she has no concept of ‘Elfin Safety!

Emerging Heads

15 Aug

faces

 

I’ve spent two days working with the 15 Hundred Lives art collective in the Creative Bubble artspace, giving the public open access to our working processes and at the same time putting the finishing touches to the last pieces of work for our upcoming exhibition at Oriel Ceri Richards. Here I’m drawing onto vintage paper that I’d prepared by squeegeeing black and gold acrylic screen print inks straight onto the paper, to break up the tyranny of the white. I’m working onto it with chalk, compressed charcoal and white conte crayon. I’ve broken away from my usual practise of working directly from life, drawing instead from my imagination. The imagery that’s emerging has been influenced by some visits I made about three years ago to Berlin and Iceland, but more of that later. Now to bed. I’m shattered!

FINISHED!

10 Aug
big e

My vinyl block inked with black

Up and out early today to finish the second colour on the last four vinyl blocks. Done and dusted. I’ve made a series of 8 small and 4 not so small block prints for the exhibition I’m a part of in a couple of weeks. The imagery has been inspired by a visit I made to Berlin a couple of winters ago and in particular seeing the Berlin Holocaust Memorial under a deep white muffled blanket of snow. I’ve used softcut vinyl and Intaglio Printmaker’s relief / litho ink mixed 50:50 with extender onto Japanese Hosho paper. I printed them on the antique Columbian press at Swansea Print Workshop, a beautiful example of Victorian machinery, still in use.

big f

The vinyl is very good, especially with the smaller pieces, but rather floppy which made placing the larger pieces a bit difficult. In future, I’ll glue larger blocks onto some thin plywood. I used the shiny side of the Hosho paper and found that mixing the rather stiff ink with extender gave the best results I’ve had so far with blockprints.

Next? Mounting and framing.

 

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