Tag Archives: birds

Baggy Waders

18 Jul

Brynmill Stream 3

I did some quick sketches en plein air at Brynmill Stream the other day, where some colleagues from the FIRE Lab were setting up an experiment in the water. I was fascinated by the baggy waders that they were wearing, I’d never seen any close to before.

 

I did a couple of very quick continuous line drawings and then a more detailed one, but as always it’s not easy to draw people in motion.

 

 

Snipe In The Dark Manner

14 Jul

Snipe 4

This is the last of the drawings I recently did at Swansea Museum as part of a day with Edinburgh artist and printmaker Kelly Stewart, organised by Swansea Print Workshop. I did loads of drawings of the Snipe and this is done in the manier noir technique on prepared paper (please click here if you want to find out more about manier noir).

Snipe 6

I did loads of drawings – here are a few. It was great spending a whole day locked away in a room in a museum drawing. Like I’d died and gone to heaven.

 

 

Another Blind Contour Drawing

13 Jul

Snipe 2

Here’s another blind contour drawing I did, of a snipe, at Swansea Museum last week. It’s a very useful exercise, it forces you to stop being precious about what you’re drawing, to loosen up and to concentrate on closely observing your subject, instead of watching the paper.

 

 

Snipe Silhouette

12 Jul

 

Snipe 3

So now I’m getting a bit obsessed with Snipe, a funny little bird with impossibly skinny legs and beak, for wading and probing at the water’s edge, beautifully designed for its environment. In these drawings I focused on the silhouette to try and establish the overall shape of the bird, using my own home-made walnut ink. Thinking ahead, I can see one, or both, of these being cut into a block of lino or vinyl for printing – maybe a reduction print?

I was down at Swansea Museum, working with a group of artists from Swansea Print Workshop and scientists from the FIRE Laboratory. It was so interesting getting that interaction and input, finding out about the birds habits and habitats fleshed out their personalities and helped with developing an artistic interpretation of the little beasties.

Snipe 5

 

 

Blobbiness Abounds

11 Jul

Snipe 1

I thought I loved the bittern when I first saw it – and I did – but then I started drawing a snipe and that was it, bye-bye bittern. I’m so fickle. This gorgeous bird is one of Swansea Museum’s taxidermy collection.  I did this drawing with a reed pen and my home-made walnut ink. Reed pens are amongst the oldest drawing tools and work really well with the ink. It’s not possible to get a fine controlled line with them, but I like the blobbiness and I think it suits the snipe.

 

 

Blind Contour Bittern

10 Jul

blind contour

 

I did some blind contour drawings of the crazy stuffed bittern I was drawing recently at Swansea Museum. It was one of the taxidermy specimens from the museum stores and we were lucky to have been able to get to draw them. It’s good to go back to some basic drawing exercises now and again, good practice.

 

 

A Greenfinch In Stages

9 Jul

 

greenfinch 1

Here’s a little greenfinch I drew recently, a stuffed one, very old and fragile. I took photos of the different stages of development using conté crayons into my A4 spiral bound brown paper sketchbook. I used the white first, then sanguine and finally black.

 

 

I spent a day drawing with a group of artists at Swansea Museum, organised by Swansea Print Workshop and the Edinburgh-based artist Kelly Stewart.

 

 

 

A Slice Of Time

14 Jun

woollies pigeons

This screenprint represents a very specific slice of time. Some years ago, there was a Woolworths store opposite the Waterstones bookshop in Swansea. I used to sit in the window of the bookshop cafe up on the first floor, with a pot of tea, and scribble the pigeons that sat on the Woolworths signage opposite. It was large and red and stood out from the wall, giving the pigeons enough space to sit and groom themselves comfortably. It was also lit up day and night, which gave them warmth.

I found the pigeons hard to draw because they constantly fidget so I had to develop a quick impressionistic style to capture them. I wrote down my thoughts and combined them with some of the drawings to create the photographic silkscreen.

 

 

Stuffed

25 May

Tonya and owl

I can only manage to get to life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop for the second half on Thursday nights so the sessions are already well under way. Tonight, I wandered in and saw that our model was flanked by two stuffed birds, an owl and a jay. It was tough drawing two different creatures side by side, the scale is so very different as well as the anatomy. But at least neither of them moved much, the model because she’s very experienced and the owl because it’s stuffed.

 

I have put my series of drawings en plein air of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to see more, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page. So did you know that Elvis Presley is descended from the Welsh? This drawing below is the legendary grave of Saint Elfys (Elvis) in Pembrokeshire, not for from the Presceli Mountains. Elfys? Presceli? Elvis Presley? Coincidence? hhhmmmm

St Elvis

Larks Hovered, Kites Circled, I Drew…

31 Mar

The Cairn 2

Out and about again today with archaeologist Dewi Bowen and film maker Melvyn Williams searching out ancient stone monuments. We had a tough walk up to a late Neolithic stone cairn on Mynydd Bach Trecastell not far from the little village of Trecastle in Powys. To be honest, the cairn wasn’t particularly interesting, I’ve seen better, but it’s site is truly spectacular. We walked about 2 miles to get there, mostly uphill and across, firstly, the Usk tributary Nant Tarw, up and over the mountain and secondly crossed the river Usk, relatively small as we were near its source.

Mynydd Du Fan Brycheinog

In the distance is The Black Mountain, Y Mynydd Du, huge and slab like and covered with snow which stratified into black and white stripes like a 1960s op art painting. This became the focus of my drawing as much as the stones on the small cairn. Fan Brycheiniog is the part facing me here. Despite the snow in the distance, we were pretty warm after our strenuous walk in the clear, bright Spring sunshine. Song larks hovered and sang all around us, groups of soldiers ran past us on manouvres (they looked terribly young) and red kites (barcud in Welsh) circled, eventually landing on the cairn after we left, to see if there were any pickings.

kite

I’m travelling around South West Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book on Neolithic / Bronze Age monuments. His previous book on the standing stones of Ancient Siluria (South East Wales) can be found here. Accompanying us is film maker Melvyn Williams who is recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. I’m working on a series of expressive drawings of ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

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