Tag Archives: birds

A White Raven Emerges

8 Jul

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Inspiration can be a slow process for me. I heard a poem performed by Welsh artist and rapper Rufus Mufasa back last year which featured a raven and it’s been buried somewhere inside and emerged a few days ago. As a female raven, as a manifestation of the ancient Welsh goddess Brânwen and now, today, as a white raven. None of this is being consciously directed by me, I’m just getting on with it and seeing where it leads me. I had a go drawing her on my Samsung Galaxy tablet today, with a free drawing app called Markers, which is the only drawing app I’ve ever used. In this format she’s come out as quite feisty, almost perky, which is nothing like the tragic history of Brânwen.  I’ll try developing her in different media and see what happens.

This is the drawing I did originally at Rufus’ performance, it was a spontaneous reaction and the raven is just starting to emerge.

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And a couple of days ago I drew this one in HB pencil.

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I’m getting an urge to try this out in collage next, something I rarely do, but this white raven has really gripped me all of a sudden and I’m going to go with the flow.

There’s a podcast called the Celtic Myth Podshow which tells the story of ancient Celtic myths, episode by episode, including the one about Brânwen – check it out here, it’s good.

And please do check out Rufus Mufasa, she’s amazing. She’s here on SoundCloud.

Now – where’s my Pritt stick?

Scribbling Brân

2 Jul

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I practised drawing a raven today, from a photograph, as I have the germ of an idea for some new work. I find birds really hard to draw because they have such strange proportions. My first one was way off, the second is getting there. More work to do. I’m thinking this may end up in a screenprint at some point.

Thing is with birds that it isn’t just the weird proportions to get to grips with but also the foreshortening. Tricky. I used an HB Derwent pencil onto a medium weight cartridge paper. In Welsh mythology, the god and goddess Brân and Brânwen were brother and sister. Brân means raven and Brânwen,  a white raven.

City Centre Thug

7 Nov

city centre thug

 

This image has had quite a lengthy journey. I did the original drawing (below) of a seagull, or city centre thug around these parts, at Swansea Museum weeks ago, working with Edinburgh-based printmaker Kelly Stewart, sketching antique taxidermy birds and bugs from the Museum collections.

 

 

Then I created a transparency to transfer the drawing onto a photosensitised screen. When it was exposed, developed and dried I tried out a load of trial prints onto cheap newsprint paper, using Daler Rowney System 3 acrylic paint, black with a hint of purple, and some printmaking medium.

And finally I printed an edition of 6 onto Fabriano Rosapina paper (285gsm) with one Artist Proof and one leftover, which is a reject. Fabriano paper comes from the Italian town of Fabriano which has been a centre for papermaking for nearly eight hundred years.

 

Who Ate All The Pies?

31 Oct

scourge the seagull

Who Ate All The Pies?

I spent the afternoon down at Swansea Print Workshop, working alongside other artists, heads down, printmaking. I worked with two others, preparing silkscreens with Azicol photosensitive solution. I’m going to make a photoscreen from a drawing I did recently, of a seagull during a drawing day at Swansea Museum.

 

screen gull

 

I drew a stuffed seagull from their collection of antique taxidermy. There are loads of seagulls around here. They steal people’s food from their hands. They’re getting bigger. And more intelligent. One day they will take over the world!

The Scourge Of The City

8 Oct

scourge the seagull

I did this drawing of a seagull a couple of weeks ago at Swansea Museum from a stuffed seagull in the Museum’s stores. I think it’s a herring gull (but I’m not sure). If it is, then it’s on the conservation danger list, which surprises me because there are thousands of them around here. They’re the scourge of the city’s bin collectors as they rip open black bags and raid them, spreading rubbish all over the street. It’s a spectator sport in the city centre, watching them snatch food from people ambling along, eating in the street.

chocolate all in one sponge

 

Talking of eating, I was having visitors round earlier so I baked a cake. A quick and easy chocolate all-in-one sponge, flavoured with freshly grated orange rind and iced with chocolate buttercream, which I make with Welsh salt butter, icing sugar, cocoa and a splash of vanilla. I kept it well away from seagulls.

A Tissue Issue

5 Oct

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Workibng with Kelly Stewart at Swansea Print Workshop last week, I experimented with different ways to screenprint my range of drawings. I’ve always liked the chine collé technique especially with handmade paper made from recycled saris. I get it from the haberdashers in Swansea Market and it has a great texture and a some juicy colours.

 

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I used Japanese Nori glue to stick it down – it’s made with seaweed. The sari paper is quite thin, but very strong, so it was easy to silkscreen over it – thicker paper might have caused some technical problems. The term chine collé is French for tissue collage and these fine papers have traditionally been imported from Chine, Japan and the Indian subcontinent.

 

The Bits In The Middle

4 Oct

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The first stage in producing my recent set of screenprints was doing the drawings.

 

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Then came the bit in the middle. I had to produce a set of transparencies. Some were photocopied from the original drawings onto a special Overhead Projector (OHP) acetate – the two bugs and the heron.

 

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Some were redrawn onto cellophane using a brush and black acrylic paint – the two snipe. One was photocopied directly onto good quality tracing paper – the fruit net. And the text was handwritten onto Trugrain film using a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen.

 

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The final stage is to transfer the transparencies onto a silkscreen.

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Beginning To End

3 Oct

snipe

I started with an ink and wash sketch of a snipe (using my homemade walnut ink at Swansea Museum) drawn with brushes.

 

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Then, at Kelly Stewart’s screenprinting session at Swansea Print Workshop, I redrew it onto cellophane with brushes and black acrylic paint. These are the transparencies I used to create photoscreens.

 

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And then I screened them onto different papers, Fabriano and Somerset, with Daler Rowney System 3 Acrylic paint, mixed with Screenprint medium in an 80:20 paint to medium ratio.

 

That’s it from beginning to end.

The Cheeky Cockchafer

2 Oct

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Another of the small silkscreen prints I did recently. I started off by redrawing a little sketch of a snipe, but this time I did it onto cellophane with black acrylic paint. That formed a transparency for transferring to a photoscreen. I wanted to incorporate bits of rubbish to reflect the environment that much of our wildlife has to put up with. I used the net from a bag of fruit and put it through a photocopier onto a piece of good quality tracing paper. This became another transparency. I printed with Daler Rowney System 3 acrylic mixed 80:20 with screenprint medium onto Fabriano paper.

 

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Here’s a variation on the theme, with a cheeky cockchafer sneaking in ….

Things My Nana Used To Say…

1 Oct
A heron, a beetle and what my Nana used to say....

 

Here’s another of the small silkscreen prints I did recently. It’s a combination of several images – a heron, a cockchafer (melonontha melonontha) and a violet ground beetle (carabus violaceus) – that I had drawn from Swansea Museum’s archive collection, and they’re overlaid onto a piece of text.

I was working with a group of artists on a weekend course led by the Edinburgh-based artist Kelly Stewart. I was getting a bit stuck in the initial design stage, with quite a lot of wildlife drawings but nothing ‘graphic’ to tie them together. Kelly suggested text so I quickly scribbled some sayings that I used to hear from my Nana and other elderly women relatives.

I wrote with a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen onto a piece of Trugrain film which provided a transparency to be exposed in the UV Unit at Swansea Print Workshop. More about the technical stuff tomorrow …. 

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