Tag Archives: drawing

Ripped From The Darkness

20 Apr

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Our local art gallery, The Glynn Vivian, is showing a fabulous exhibition of drawings and prints by the formidable German artist Käthe Kollwitz. I have admired her work and life for so many years, I’m beside myself to see this exhibition so close to home. I like to study artists I admire and copy from the great mistresses and masters. This is a digital study I made today from her woodcut “The Widow” from the early 1920s. She is very sparing with the cutting tool, there are surprisingly few cuts which I think increases its impact, the sense that the image has been ripped from the surrounding darkness.  I didn’t finish it, there’s another hand in the original. I can never resist a good book and I bought the exhibition book as a birthday present to myself, it’s “Portrait Of The Artist: Käthe Kollwitz” by Frances Carey and Max Egremont, published by The British Museum and IKON.

I drew this with a, now ancient, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet using a free app called Markers. I laid a black ground down and drew with white lines.

Talk Turned Geeky

17 Apr

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Husb and I had a teatime visit from friends today and, as one of them is a fellow printmaker, the talk turned geeky. She noticed a number of my blockprinted portrait heads on the wall and we chatted about materials and techniques. Instead of the traditional lino or wood, or even modern vinyl, I used signwriters PVC foam sheet called Foamex. Lots of signwriters around here use it and chuck away the offcuts so it’s easy to get hold of them for free and recycle it.

flotex head

It’s not easy to cut with conventional tools, it works better if you incise the surface. I used screwdrivers, chisels, ballpoint pen and a four-inch screw which I used to incise lines against a steel rule. Then I cut around the edge with a junior hacksaw and printed it up with black litho/relief oil-based ink onto Zercoll 145gsm paper using the Colombian Press at Swansea Print Workshop.

If you want to see more of these portrait heads, which I based on drawings I made during my first visit to Pakistan, please click here.

The Same Thing Every Year!

15 Apr

herstory

It’s the same every year on our allotment (community garden). Husb and I resolve to do the correct thing and work on it for an hour, then two, then three and so on, building up the muscles that have atrophied over the deluge that passes for the British winter. Unfortunately, the deluge keeps on happening in this little corner of Wales and so whenever there’s a rare glimmer of sunshine, we rush down to the allotment and work for as long and as hard as we can to keep on top of the couch grass and weeds that thrive in our temperate wet climate. Yesterday was one of those days. We went down in the morning to do a “couple of hours” but ended up working through nearly seven hours of hard labour. It felt great at the time but today….!!!! I’d be on my knees if I could bend down, which I can’t.

Welfare poster

This afternoon was the launch of a group exhibition that I have some work in, at The Welfare in Ystradgynlais. Here I am with “Herstory”, the collaborative piece I did for International Women’s Day with graffiti artist Unity. I think I’m making a good job of disguising the fact that every muscle in my body (so it seems) has seized up! Oh, and it poured with rain. Again.

The Difference Of Materials

14 Apr

 

The difference of materials. I was engrossed in drawing at Galerie Simpson on Swansea’s High Street a couple of days ago. I’d taken a few sheets of very different papers and lots of drawing materials and I settled down to draw a fascinating clay sculpture by Tomos Sparnon which is in the current exhibition.

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The first drawing I did in white, sanguine and black conté crayons onto a piece of smooth heavyweight cartridge paper that I had prepared with a coat of white acrylic gesso and then when it was dry I sponged it all over with my sepia home-made walnut ink. After drawing in conté crayons, I filled the area around the drawing with a square ended brush dipped in the walnut ink. I love the way the ink flows over gessoed paper and how it holds the brushstrokes. It’s a delicious ink to use, like liquid silk.

 

Then I moved my chair to take in a different angle and drew, again with the white, sanguine and black conté crayons onto a sheet of heavily textured grey Khadi paper. The result is completely different. I know I’m stating the blatantly obvious, but I was surprised at the extent of the differences. You can just see Tomos’ sculpture in the background.

 

Man Engine

12 Apr

manengine

Back last week I was rummaging through the drawers in my plans chest and pulled out some used paper that I thought could be reused and today I got my chance. Swansea hosted Man Engine , the largest mechanical puppet ever constructed in Britain, which has been journeying up from Cornwall. It’s amazing. I was invited to take part in a live drawing event (with afternoon tea) at Galerie Simpson on Swansea’s High Street to coincide with the behemoth’s progress through the city. It’s very slow moving so I managed to sketch the giant head outside the gallery on the pavement as it rumbled by. I drew with black, white and sanguine conté crayon and some of my home-made sepia walnut ink onto a recycled cyanotype print on Bockingford paper. If you want to know how to make walnut ink, please check out my blog post here.

More Rummaging

3 Apr

walnut

I had another rummage through the big drawers in my plans chest and found some more lovely papers that I’d used but didn’t do anything more with. This is a piece of paper stretched and gessoed then painted at random with my home-made walnut ink. I had taken it out on my journeys around Wales hunting megaliths and started drawing some ancient stone monuments on it, but I didn’t like the way it was going so stuck it in a drawer and forgot about it. Now, what am I going to do with it?

Gold Mine In The Rain

2 Apr

Dolaucothi

It’s the British Bank Holiday so of course, the rain was tipping down. Husb and I got fed up looking out of the window at the Easter deluge and took off up to Dolaucothi to have a look around the Roman goldmine. It’s a lovely part of the country and we had a good time, despite the torrential sky juice.

The mines were originally worked in pre-Roman times, then the Romans invaded and took them over. Then they fell into disuse until the Victorians had a go and they finally closed in the 1940’s so there was a lot of historical stuff to see on site. I had a scribble, sheltering in the engine house and sketching the industrial machinery and landscape outside, using white, sanguine and black conté crayons into my A4 brown paper sketchbook.

Recycle, Reuse

1 Apr

cyanotype

I have some very big drawers for storing art and materials and I was rummaging through them earlier and found a load of papers that had been shoved to the back because I wasn’t happy with the work I’d done on them. So I pulled them out to have a think about how I can reuse them. This was a cyanotype experiment that hadn’t worked out and I already tried to recycle it by doing a life drawing on top, but I didn’t like that either. So now I’m going to try again – third time lucky? I don’t know what I’ll do yet, maybe I’ll have a digital play with it before deciding. It’s looming out at me quite darkly ………..

Abstracting The Falls

31 Mar

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Here’s the second drawing I did at Aberdulais Falls. It’s a picturesque place that has been immortalised in art over some centuries, even being painted by Turner himself. There no way I can compete with Turner so I looked for the abstraction in nature to focus on. I sort of squinted a bit to make my vision slightly fuzzy and concentrated on drawing the shapes I saw as the falls tumbled away below me. I used firm upright and diagonal lines to represent the rocks and cliffs and freer, more squiggly lines for the water, in white, sanguine and black conté crayons into my A4 brown paper sketchbook.

Before The Deluge

30 Mar

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It’s a Bank Holiday and rain is forecast so Husb and I got out of the house before the deluge started and went off to Aberdulais Falls for a bit of a walk, some historical instruction and to do a quick scribble or two. I used white, sanguine and black conté crayon into my spiral bound A4 brown paper sketchbook from Seawhites of Brighton. I worked very quickly as it is still quite cold, just getting down the basic details of the scene. Then off to the cafe in the old schoolroom to warm up and have a cup of tea and slice of bara brith.

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