Tag Archives: charcoal

Clean, Green And Safe

16 Jun

Khadi Cwmdonkin

Husb and I have gone out for a walk most days since the pandemic lockdown started. We’re not at risk so we can have a government sanctioned hour a day. It’s really made me appreciate how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful city. Swansea is so green with loads of parks, wilded areas and the beach. There was a report a few weeks ago that 1 in 8 British people don’t have access to safe, clean outdoor spaces and of course, they’re the poorest people in society.  This is something that has to be changed once the pandemic is over. Cities can be greened and made safe, there’s no excuse.

I stopped to draw earlier in Cwmdonkin Park, where the poet Dylan Thomas played as a child. There are some wonderful trees; this one might have been a sapling when Dylan played here. I used Winsor & Newton willow charcoal into a Khadi handmade paper sketchbook.

Carving Blocks And Charcoal At The Castle

15 Jun

Lockcook 1

Today was pretty productive. I inked, traced and transferred seven texts onto little lino blocks and cut two of them. These are part of my series of words and phrases I’ve written down through the course of the Covid19 pandemic, from the first day of lockdown. Eventually, I’ll be printing them onto home-made cotton masks.

Lockcook 2

It was really hot and dry so Husb and I waited until early evening before we went down to our allotment. I did a quick sketch before we left the site, of Oystermouth Castle and it’s grounds using Winsor & Newton willow charcoal into a Khadi sketchbook.

4 oystermouth

I like working across two pages, especially with square sketchbooks. I take a can of fixative with me when I draw with charcoal, it’s manky and the drawing would smudge badly without being fixed.

 

 

A Cityscape, A Lush Loaf And A Spider Man

4 Jun

Khadi 5

Earlier, before the rain started, we went to visit an elderly friend who lives high on the hill, observing social distance of course. I did a scribble into my Khadi sketchbook with some willow charcoal. It’s hard drawing a cityscape – it’s so packed with detail and charcoal is quite a blunt instrument, so I had to select the stuff I wanted to put in, rather than slavishly try to fit everything into the compostion. I’m happy with it, it flows and I like the mark-making. It was fun dashing and dotting in windows and scribbling trees.

When we got back I made a Focaccia-style bread for the first time. That turned out lovely, lush. I’m enjoying lockdown cooking.

focaccia

And Husb did a painting to put into our street-facing window to entertain the neighbours, alongside the one I did the other week. Here they are, Spider Man and Sparta Puss.

Out The Back

3 Jun

4 garden

This is the sort of subject that I really don’t like to draw, it’s way outside my comfort zone. Give me people and animals any day, or even a bit of open landscape. But. I need to challenge myself, so I had a scribble looking out of the back door into my garden. It’s a very busy space and it’s difficult to draw, especially using a soft charcoal pencil and willow charcoal onto very textured Khadi paper. But I didn’t want to use pencils because then I’d have wandered into the tech drawing zone, which is what I don’t want to do. Never mind.

Charcoal And Baps

2 Jun

3 oystermouth

I took my Khadi sketchbook and willow charcoal to the allotment this evening and drew from inside the allotment site, which is tucked away in a corner of the Castle park. It’s on a fairly steep hill dropping away to the coast and we’re near the top. It’s surrounded by woodland, which can be a bit of a challenge for growers, but it’s an idyllic place to hang out, especially in these pandemic times – we’ve been sanctioned to travel to allotments since day 1 of lockdown. I concentrated on mark-making again as there is such a lot of different textures crowding together in the view. I suppose I took about 10 minutes.

baps

I also made some sesame seed baps. We gave our bread making machine away to a relative, so I’ve been trying out making bread from scratch and it’s surprisingly easy with fast acting yeast. Lush.

Mucky, Messy and Mumbles

31 May

2 oystermouth

Yesterday evening after Husb and I watered the allotment, I did a charcoal sketch facing Oystermouth Castle. Today, we walked around the castle park and I sat on a bench with my back to the Castle, looking towards the beach. My view was mostly trees and the park in the foreground, with a glimpse of Mumbles Lighthouse and Swansea Bay in the background.  I’m using a thin stick of Winsor & Newton willow charcoal into a Khadi handmade sketchbook. Charcoal is mucky so I carry a tin of fixative around as well. There’s a decision to be made how much you include in a drawing, if you try and cram everything in, it can look really messy, especially with charcoal, so I decided to keep a lot of white in the composition.

 

Willow And Khadi

30 May

1 oystermouth

Husb and I went to our allotment to water the plants this evening, it’s been boiling hot and we don’t want to lose any. As we left and walked past the castle (Oystermouth) I had a quick scribble with willow charcoal into a Khadi sketchbook.

Pandemic Portrait – Willow Charcoal

7 May

Bernard 3

 

So today I did a bit more work on the portrait I started yesterday, working from a photo. I developed the image with willow carcoal, putting in the shadows by squinting my eyes. I’m using willow charcoal at the moment because it’s easy to rub out mistakes. Once I’m happy that I’ve got the drawing the way I want it, I’ll fix it and then work over it in compressed charcoal. But that’s not for today…..

Pandemic Portrait – Making A Start

6 May

willow charcoal

I made a start on a portrait drawing today. I rarely work from photographs, I’d much rather draw from a live model, but we’re in pandemic lockdown so I’ll do this one from a photo. I’m using a lovely sheet of vintage British hand-made paper with a deckle edge made by W H Saunders mill, which no longer exists unfortunately. First of all I roughly sketched the head onto the paper with a 2B pencil, below, but it’s very faint so then I redrew it with willow charcoal (above).

pencil

I’m going to leave it til tomorrow so that I can come at it with fresh eyes and check the proportions, make sure everythngs in the right place.

My Geographic Palette #3 – Walnut Ink

23 Jul

 

culvert 1a

About 3 or 4 years now some friends gave me a bag of fresh walnuts – that’s walnut fruit – the nut is in the centre of an apple sized green fruit. I made my own walnut ink from them, please click here if you want to see the technique I used.

 

 

Anyway, I used it to work up a painting using ink washes of different intensity based on one of my original sketches of culverts way up in the Brecon Beacons. I was on a field trip with colleagues from The FIRE Lab a few weeks ago and I’m using those sketches to develop a new body of artwork.

The ink looks lovely when it dries out – it rehydrates as well so it doesn’t go to waste.

walnut ink dry

The FIRE Lab has some great blog posts, check out this one about the technology of the Tawe Path walk.

 

 

 

 

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