Tag Archives: culture

A Shared History

17 Jan

Carroll M

I’m carrying on with my 30 minute drawings of Baby Boomers and here’s another. It’s a lovely experience for me, I get to draw and also to sit and talk with lovely people as well. I’m not sure it’s such a nice experience for the people who sit for me – being stared at by me for half an hour. A lot of my sitters are local, well, all live locally, but some are from other places originally and it’s interesting for me to listen to their experiences and how they differ from mine. Most of us have something in common – we share a similar culture and history, but many differences as well.

Top End Boomer

13 Jan

Gibson G

And another recent Baby Boomer sketch, using a graphite stick into an A5 spiral bound sketchbook. This is someone at the upper end of the Boomer demographic, which goes from 1946 to 1964. As a generation we cover a huge range of cultural influences, music from rock’n’roll through rock, glam rock and heavy metal to punk; art from Abstract Expressionism through Pop Art to the beginnings of Conceptual art and politics from Socialism through Thatcherism and Blairism and back to Thatcherism again . Interesting times.

Wonderful! A Lovely Exhibition

6 Aug

A smashing miniature print show continues at Swansea Print Workshop until August the 8th. Please do drop in if you’re in the area 🙂


A Face, A Story

12 Jul

head 8

Older women shouldn’t be invisible. I’m combining my daily practice sketch with drawing from pictures of elder women because of the ageism that their generation suffers. I know that elders of both genders have problems to face, but it seems that they are compounded for older women. Not so long ago the BBC dumped a female presenter for the crime of being in her mid-50s after an arrogant suggestion that she should get Botox. Disgraceful. Why should we, male or female, be expected to wipe the story of our lives from our faces in order to be visible? Wrong, wrong, wrong.

This beautiful woman is drawn into my A4 hardbacked sketchbook prepared with brown wrapping paper, using black and white conté crayon and grey and black graphite.

They’re Fab!

11 Jul

elderhead 6

I am carrying on with the 10 minute sketches of heads of older women, this is the seventh and I’m relaxing into it. I’ve chosen to focus on women of advanced age because it’s a group of people that doesn’t seem to appear much in visual cultural references. Of course, there are iconic older women, like the actress Helen Mirren and the late Mother Theresa but in the general imagery around us, advertising, magazine covers, television and films, older women don’t feature much. Even when they do, they’re often Photoshopped to look much younger. It’s no wonder that so many women feel the pressure to have facelifts and botox in order to remain visible. So in my own small way I’m saying, “Hey, look here. Here are some older women. And they’re fab.”

It’s useful as a technical exercise; by limiting myself to 10 minutes I have to focus on the essence of the image and not concentrate on too much detail. This helps me to be much looser than if I was doing a formal portrait with more time on my hands. Because I’m working into a sketchbook, I’m not so precious about the drawing either, I’m far more willing to experiment.

I’m working into a hardbacked A4 sketchbook that I’ve prepared with pieces of randomly ripped brown wrapping paper, glued with Pritt stick. I do a brief outline sketch with a pale graphite stick, then put in the highlights and lowlights with white and black conté crayon, then I have a final scribble with a dark graphite stick.

Obsessive Culture

6 Jul

10 min head 1

Carrying on with the quick head sketches, I Googled another photo of an elderly woman and did a 10 minute timed sketch. I drew into my A4 hardbound sketchbook with a graphite stick and white conte crayon. I had prepared a lot of the sketchbook’s pages with brown wrapping paper stuck in with Pritt stick. As we age, the difference in looks between men and women becomes less obvious. I love to draw older people, their faces reflect the experience of a lifetime. I hate the way our culture is so obsessed with youth that many people have their faces stretched with cosmetic surgery, deleting the story of their life. Such a shame.

The Big Show (And A Scribble)

17 Apr
The artist drawing the artist

The artist drawing the artist

So last night (April 16th) was the night of the exhibition in Islamabad that our collaborative group of artists had worked so hard on throughout the previous 10 days. Here are some of the pictures of the opening at the Satrang Gallery. The British High Commissioner, Philip Barton, opened the show and was genuinely interested in the work and also in the collaboration between artists of the two nations. The staff, under gallery director, Asma Rashid Khan, were fantastic. Here’s a write up in a local paper if you want to read more. I’ve done a slide show of the gallery pictures below. The little sketch above is a signwriter who was working in the local Nando’s in Islamabad when we popped in for a salad. So I scribbled him. As you do.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This residency has been supported by Wales Arts International and Arts Council Wales.

rose acw

The Aftermath!

16 Apr


The day after our epic all-nighter, editioning 12 drypoint plates between three artists, Zaira Ahmad Zaka, Hannah F Lawson and myself. Here’s the studio afterwards – trashed. We have a big clear up job ahead. But first, setting up the exhibition at the Satrang Gallery in Islamabad.

gallery hannah smallAfter a shower, we went over to the gallery to chat to the lovely staff about placing our work. Here’s Hannah contemplating.


gallery tea smallThen a spot of tea in the tearoom next to the gallery. Don’t mind if we do, we’re British y’know.


gallery blurbAnd checking out the exhibition blurb on a marble pillar.

gallery karaKara Seaman’s work, waiting for the arrival of Mister Pink.

Afterwards, we went to an exhibition of mixed media work by Behishte Gumshuda at the Khass Gallery where we met an eclectic group of interesting people who made us forget our exhaustion. The show is quiet and contemplative and I particularly liked the multi-layered works in graphite, but then I would, I’m a scribbler. Talking of scribbling, here’s a quick scribble I managed to fit in at Khaas. Oh and they served the most delicious samosas I have ever tasted. 😀

khaas gallery

This residency has been supported by Wales Arts International and Arts Council Wales

rose acw


21 Mar

20 senedd 1

The Senedd, the Welsh Parliament, the site yesterday evening for an arts event showcasing the culture of the city of Swansea. My chum, Melanie Ezra and I were asked to curate a small exhibition of visual art and some ‘live’ art as well. Here are two of my ‘live’ drawings next to Jonathan Green’s cow-in-a-microwave-on-a-plinth and Graham Parker’s sea diptych. I drew onto newspaper with chalk, compressed charcoal and a yellow ochre oil bar.

20 senedd 2

Here’s a wider view of the amazing Senedd building. The canapes were lovely 😀

Doodlemum And Dancers In The Storm

30 Jun

My pal and fellow Swansea artist Angie Stevens, who draws the fantastic Doodlemum blog has been in the news, in the papers and on the TV this week as her wonderful blog has gone stratospheric. Here’s a link to her lovely family and some of the artwork that is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Well done Angie :).

Today was the Swansea Plinth’s last day and there was a fantastic dance group of young people breakdancing. They are so lively and moved incredibly fast so it was a real challenge to draw them. But I did my best.I’ve posted some more on Facebook, you can visit if you want 🙂 The heavens opened and it POURED down halfway through their routine but they carried right on with great enthusiasm, real troupers. Apparently Britain has been hit by a Spanish Plume, which is dragging incredible storms from the Iberian Peninsula. Interesting, but a colossal pain in the neck in the middle of summer.

Despite the weather, Swansea is a pretty cool place to live in. We have a fab beach and there’s so much art and culture going on, probably more than in most cities of comparable size. As well as the Swansea Plinth programme of events today, there are  the galleries, museums, theatres, mainstream and independent cinemas, and there was also a programme of cultural events outside the Waterfront Museum, including a 360 degree cinema. All FREE. Great place to be.

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