Tag Archives: dragons

Next Steps

27 Mar

Phew! Finally, my commission for Sky Arts TV channel’s UK-wide arts project, ART50, ended tonight with the broadcast of the visual arts films, including the one about my artwork, “Here Be Dragons”. And now I have to decide what my next creative steps will be. I liked working with giant woodblock and text and chine collé so I think I will develop some ideas that have been popping up in my head from out of the ether, I might develop a text piece in Welsh. I’ve been playing with my original on Photoshop, cutting, pasting and redefining segments to make a new image. I might bring this, or something similar, into the real world.

Dragon eye 2

And I want to pick up my figurative work as well. I haven’t done any formal work with nudes for well over a year but now I have some very definite ideas based around a particular model. Time to get back in the saddle and make some new art!

June 5

Andraste – The Warrior

So Excited!

25 Mar

I’m getting excited now. The Sky Arts TV project I started working on what seems like aeons ago …. about 9 months …. is finally being aired tomorrow, Tuesday March 26th, along with the other visual arts projects from 9pm.

 

I was commissioned to create a new flag for Britain – that’s opening up a can of wurms as I’m Welsh and we Welsh have never been represented on the Union flag. The film shows my creative process, how I researched and developed what eventually turned out to be a massive woodcut print. It’s called “Here Be Dragons” which not only reflects the dragon on the Welsh flag, but it’s also an ancient phrase that used to be written onto maps to mark “dangerous and unknown territory” which is where I feel we are in the UK now.

 

Here Be Dragons small

 

“Here Be Dragons” also works as a spoken word piece, read aloud and the colour is a combination of chine collé and specific inking. If you subscribe to Sky TV or NOW TV, please drop by tomorrow at 9 and have a look at it.

 

A Bit More Cosi

24 Mar

cosi fan 2

Here are a couple more drawings I did at the opera the other evening, Cosi Fan Tutte at The Taliesin on Swansea University’s Singleton campus. It was very dark so I could hardly see the paper, an A4 brown paper spiral bound sketchbook. I used white and sanguine conté crayon, turning the white on its side to block in large areas and then scribbling with the sanguine.

cosi fan 1

My giant woodcut “Here Be Dragons” is going to be featured on Sky Arts TV channel on Tuesday 26th March at 9pm. If you’re a Sky TV subscriber or if you have NOW TV you’ll be able to see a short film of me going through the creative process, with lots about Swansea and footage of Swansea Print Workshop too. It’s part of a whole week of arts programming showing how artists across the UK have responded creatively to Brexit.

finished

 

 

It’s Physical!

11 Mar

Here Be Dragons small

Here Be Dragons – March 26th at 9pm on Sky Arts TV channel.

Finally, the end of all the months of work! The programmes showing over 50 commissioned artists across the UK are being aired during the week beginning March 25th and the film featuring me and my work is on Tuesday, March 26th at 9pm.

2 inking up

I was commissioned to come up with a new flag for Britain and I made sure that Wales is on this one. Please follow the links here and here to read more.

Here’s the block of MDF while I was inking it up. It’s 80 x 100 centimetres, took about 3 weeks to cut, although I couldn’t physically do more than about 3 hours a day because my hand and arm started seizing up. Many people don’t realise just how physical art is and the toll it can take on your body. When I was travelling in Pakistan a while back I visited an art school where some of the students specialised in classical miniature painting. Their lecturer told us that years ago, the artists would develop a distinctive deformation of the spine because of the way they sat and painted and eyesight problems were common. They use ergonomic chairs and daylight lamps now to stay safe and healthy.

 

The Re-Cut

6 Dec

dragon block 1

During the process of developing my recent commission for Sky Arts TV channel, as part of their Art50 programming, I did a number of test blocks to try out different combinations of wood, sealer, ink and paper to find the combo that worked best. It also gave me a chance to experiment with the carving, trying out different tools and cutting styles. Most of the blocks are disposable, just fragments of experimentation, but I took this one to a fairly finished level and I returned to it again today, doing some re-cutting to sharpen up the lettering and give greater definition to the symbolic eye and barbed wire. I’m thinking of printing it up in black on white with red chine collé.

 

sky-arts art 50 mash up

And Breathe!

30 Nov

So, after two and a half months of research, preparation, creative blocks, blood, sweat and a lot of hard work, I finally finished carving my very large block of wood and did the first print. And breathe! The block has been sealed with three coats of shellac and methylated spirits (mixed 50:50) and I am using a Japanese lightweight paper, Hosho, in white for the main print and mulberry papers in red and blue for chine collé. The ink is Caligo / Cranfield’s Safe Wash and I’m taking the print by hand with Japanese barens.

 

I inked up mostly in black with some words picked out in red that I did with a different roller. I also prepared and applied mulberry chine collé. Then Husb lent me a hand to put the Hosho paper onto the block and to rub the back with the Japanese barens.

5 first proof

And here it comes. The first proof. The rest will be revealed in the New Year 😀 This is a commission for the Sky Art 50 programming which is scheduled for March 2019.

 

sky-arts art 50 mash up

 

 

Drawing Blood!

25 Nov

cut 3

I draw lots of things. Today I drew blood! I’m back to reality after our short break to Italy and cracking on with carving my large woodcut (80 x 120 cms), a commission from Sky Arts TV channel. One of the occupational hazards of carving blocks for relief printing is the razor sharp tools that I use. I keep them in good condition with a leather strop and abrasive wax (below).

strop

My attention slipped for a split second, the tool slipped for a split second, and blood spurted out of one of my fingers. Oh well, could be worse. I’ve almost finished carving and it’s my first injury, so I’m not doing too badly.

 

sky-arts art 50 mash up

 

 

It’s All A Bit Zen.

13 Nov

cut 1

 

The carving begins! The final drawing has been transferred in reverse onto the MDF block in compressed charcoal. Then I redrew everything with a brush and walnut ink. And now I’m cutting. After all the rush and stress of the past few weeks, it feels a bit Zen to quietly carve into the wood, carefully scribing the lines and curves with nothing but the sound of my breathing to accompany me. It’s very meditative.

 

cut 2

This is a large woodcut commissioned by Sky Arts television channel for ART50. You can read more about what I’m doing here.

 

 

sky-arts art 50 mash up

 

 

 

 

Getting On With It

12 Nov

DSC_1843

I’m on the last leg now with “Here Be Dragons”, my commission for Sky Arts, getting my final design transferred into a large sheet of MDF. I’m back in my studio at home, with Helen Finney’s portrait of me looking down as I work.

 

DSC_1846

I transferred it using detail paper, that had a tracing of the design in compressed charcoal. Once that was on the MDF, I went over each line with a good quality squirrel hair brush and home-made walnut ink. Tomorrow, the cutting begins!

 

sky-arts art 50 mash up

Still Slogging Away….

10 Nov

final 2a

 

Still slogging away. I have redrawn this yet again and now I think I’m finally happy with the way the textual imagery flows. This is the third version that I have worked up, and I did it lightly in graphite first.

 

final 2b

 

Then I covered it with detail paper (tracing) and copied it through with compressed charcoal, which will help when I turn it over to copy it onto a sheet of wood – it has to be carved in reverse of course. Off to the DIY centre next, to get a sheet of MDF. This is the reality of doing art, reworking and refining and slogging away, not very glamorous, eh?

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: