Tag Archives: drawing pens

Something Of Myself

18 Jun

rose drypoint watercolour[2]

I have always done a lot of teaching with adults and I think that an important part of my  technique is demonstration. I always work alongside the people I teach, going through the same processes as them, and facing the same highs and lows.

 

I was running a weekend course at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, linked to their Käthe Kollwitz exhibition. We went into the gallery to draw from her work and then went back into the studio to develop drypoint plates and woodblocks inspired by her prints. I drew directly onto a paper drypoint plate with a fineline pen, studying a small section of her etching ‘Raped’ from 1908, a few square inches around a foot and some sunflowers. Once I had incised the lines into the surface of the plate, I inked it up (Intaglio Printmaker’s Drypoint Shop Mix) and printed it onto wet paper (Somerset) and while it was still damp, I worked into it with some light watercolour washes (Winsor & Newton). Her original is monochrome so I’ve put something of myself into it.

Four Inch Screw And Some Masking Tape

16 Jun

kathe foot wip

Today was the first day of a course I’m teaching at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, linked to the excellent Käthe Kollwitz exhibition. We spent some time drawing from her work before going back into the studio to develop drypoint plates and woodblocks inspired by her prints. I drew directly onto a paper drypoint plate with a fineline pen, studying a small section of her etching ‘Raped’ from 1908, a few square inches around a foot and some sunflowers. It is incredibly complicated and detailed, the entire etching must have taken her ages to do. I love to study from the great masters, you learn so much. Once I was happy with the drawing on the plate, I started to incise the lines with the low-tech tool I made – a four inch screw and some masking tape. Cheap as well. Tomorrow we print!

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.

 

 

Random Faces In Random Places

17 Nov

random-head

It isn’t glamorous, being an artist. It’s a constant slog. Underpinning my art practice is a daily routine of just that, practice. And at the heart of that practice is simple drawing, usually in sketchbooks. I draw anybody, anywhere, at every opportunity. Random faces in random places.

 

I have a new piece of art in this exhibition in Cardiff. Please drop by if you’re in the area 🙂

waa-invite

Recycled Sketchbook

9 Nov

cover

I’ve had this handmade leather Steampunk style sketchbook for ages and used up all the paper a while ago. Its simple design meant that I could remove its innards and replace them with new (old) paper. I have loads of bits of paper left over from drawing or printmaking projects, some plain, some covered with ink or some sort of print or even squeegeed acrylic or cyanotype. I cut the leftovers down to fit and reassembled the sketchbook. Bob’s your uncle!

protest-1

I did some scribbles en plein air at an event in Swansea’s Castle Square, the city meeting place, a few weeks ago. It was organised to offer positive support to refugees in the area.

protest-2

The grey/white pages on the right are recycled bits of Somerset paper that had been squeegeed with Daler Rowney acrylic screen-printing medium and overprinted with a photoscreen image in white. I’ve been trying out some new UniBall pens – Uni Pins – and they work really well on the plain white paper, but a bit less so on the bits squeegeed with acrylic which dragged a bit.

waa-invite

I have a new piece of art in the Womens Arts Association exhibition, opening on Saturday 11th November. Please pop by and take a look if you’re in Cardiff🙂

Heads In Transit 1

15 May

15 head plane 1

I spent long hours at airports on my way to and from my recent artist residency in Boise, Idaho and I scribbled the time away. It’s a good place for studying heads. Here are two of them.

15 head 2

They are drawn into my tiny, leather-bound steampunky sketchbook, using a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen, size SX.

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

image

Sketching My Way Round NYC #1…the disabled man in Grand Central.

7 Sep

Ink drawing: homeless disabled man in Grand Central Station.

 

I’ve been to New York City a few times and it’s a great place for drawing people. One of my favourite places is Grand Central Station. There’s a large Dining Concourse with a beautifully painted ceiling and little stalls around the edge selling all sorts of food – Middle Eastern, Jewish, Italian, Chinese, Indian, American…… and you buy what you want and sit in the middle to eat. It seems to be a great leveller; you’re as likely to sit next to a smartly turned-out executive in an expensive cashmere coat as a homeless person. I loved drawing there as people were really interested and friendly and came to chat.

I went back quite often and there seemed to be a lot of people who stayed there all day, possibly homeless and I drew some of them. They sometimes fell asleep and security officers would wake them up but rarely moved them on. I saw this man several times. He was very clean and tidy but was usually sleeping in his wheelchair and had one leg amputated and wore a very basic prosthetic; the other leg was heavily bandaged and he wore an orthopaedic shoe. I wondered what his story was but I was too shy to ask him. This drawing was done on Easter Sunday and although I’m not religious, I found it even more poignant to see someone in such a sad situation on that day.

I was very shocked at the amount and condition of street people I saw in NYC. I know we have problems here but it seemed to be on a much larger scale and of course, there’s no National Health Service in the USA. We should be grateful for what we have. The drawing is done with Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens into a small Cotman watercolour sketchbook.

Self Portrait? I Don’t Think So!

5 Sep

Ink drawing: self portrait.

 

I admire professional artists’ models because they put up with a level of scrutiny that would terrify most people and that includes me. I rarely do a self-portrait because when I look into a mirror I see what I want to see, someone younger and thinner! Subjecting myself to the same level of objective scrutiny that I inflict on models is hard going. You can’t avoid seeing the wrinkles and flab and you have to confront all the bits you’ve always avoided looking at too closely.

In my case it’s the lopsided mouth that reminds me of my Mam; the huge nostrils that got me the nickname ‘Mersey Tunnels’ in school; the big fat apple cheeks that old people used to pinch when I was tiny – what is it with old people and cheeks? I’ve started doing it to kids now! And my pointy eyebrows. I hate them. They’d get me into a Star Trek film as a Vulcan.

Here’s one I did a few months ago in Faber Castell Pitt pen onto Bockingford paper. I left most of my wrinkles off. Artistic licence see  😉

Cooking Celtic Cakes

28 Aug

Ink drawing: Tinker's Cakes on the griddle.

We have a glut of cooking apples this year and they’re a type that doesn’t store very well so I’m trying out as many apple recipes as I can find time to. Today I made Tinker’s Cakes, which are a variation on Welsh Cakes, a traditional Celtic dish, using apples and cinnamon instead of currants and nutmeg. The cakes are cooked on an iron ‘maen’ or ‘planc’ in Welsh, a griddle or bakestone in English. This is a very ancient way of cooking over a fire. Celtic cooking was done either in an iron cauldron, giving rise to one-pot dishes like Irish Stew, Lobscouse from Liverpool and Cawl, a Welsh lamb and vegetable soup, or a griddle. You can still buy cakes and breads cooked in this way from Swansea market and Scottish oatcakes, pikelets, crepes and pancakes are also part of this tradition.

We went for a run along the beach earlier so we were starving when we got back and I thought we deserved some nice Tinker’s Cakes hot off the maen, with some lovely Welsh farmhouse butter melting into them. We nommed the lot! I’ll have to do another run tomorrow to work off the calories!

I did a drawing of the cakes in my sketchbook while they were cooking. It’s in Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens, sizes S and F with shading by FCP again, only this time their set of ‘Shades of Grey’ brush pens.

Cooking Celtic Cakes

27 Aug

Ink drawing: Tinker's Cakes on the griddle.

 

We have a glut of cooking apples this year and they’re a type that doesn’t store very well so I’m trying out as many apple recipes as I can find time to. Today I made Tinker’s Cakes, which are a variation on Welsh Cakes, a traditional Celtic dish, using apples and cinnamon instead of currants and nutmeg. The cakes are cooked on an iron ‘maen’ or ‘planc’ in Welsh, a griddle or bakestone in English. This is a very ancient way of cooking over a fire. Celtic cooking was done either in an iron cauldron, giving rise to one-pot dishes like Irish Stew, Lobscouse from Liverpool and Cawl, a Welsh lamb and vegetable soup, or a griddle. You can still buy cakes and breads cooked in this way from Swansea market and Scottish oatcakes, pikelets, crepes and pancakes are also part of this tradition.

We went for a run along the beach earlier so we were starving when we got back and I thought we deserved some nice Tinker’s Cakes hot off the maen, with some lovely Welsh farmhouse butter melting into them. We nommed the lot! I’ll have to do another run tomorrow to work off the calories!

I did a drawing of the cakes in my sketchbook while they were cooking. It’s in Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens, sizes S and F with shading by FCP again, only this time their set of ‘Shades of Grey’ brush pens.

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