Tag Archives: Dylan Thomas

Cabinet Of Curiosities

16 Apr

willis

Here’s another of the 30 minute portrait drawings I did at Swansea Museum last Sunday. I have been asking people I know who are Baby Boomers to volunteer to sit for me as I want to build up a large collection of 30 minute portrait drawings over the next year or so in preparation for a large scale art project. It’s great that there has been no shortage of volunteers. It’s not easy to sit for a portrait, in public, with the artist staring intently at you and random people walking past. Swansea Museum is a pretty busy place too. So I’m grateful to my ‘Boomer’ guinea pigs.

I’m doing this as part of the 15 Hundred Lives event at the museum, it’s part exhibition and part a ‘museum experience’. It’s called PROCESS and it’s on until May the 17th so if you’re in town, check it out. Entry is free, there’s an art trail to do for the kids and the museum is a pretty special place. Dylan Thomas described it as the museum that should be in a museum. There’s still a feel of the old ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ about it.

Seconds And Minutes

4 Feb

taliesin heads 3

Husb and I are just back from seeing the marvellous film ‘Set Fire To The Stars‘ at the Taliesin Arts Centre, followed by a Q&A session from one of the film’s leads, Celyn Jones. A great night out. I did some very speedy sketches in the bar before we went in. These were done in seconds. Literally seconds. When you’re drawing at that speed you are forced to focus on the essence of what you’re drawing, the absolute basic details to get an image.

taliesin heads 2

After the film, during the Q&A session, I was able to spend more time drawing individual faces, up to about 10 minutes. That gave me time to get the basics down and then build up layers of detail. I used my full set of Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens in sepia, sizes S, F, M and B into my A5 Tate Gallery sketchbook. The Q&A session was a fascinating insight into the making of a low budget independent film and Celyn Jones entertained us with stories from the set, which was almost all filmed in and around Swansea. The film also stars Elijah Wood playing John Brinnin to Celyn’s Dylan Thomas.

Burgers

7 Sep

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Husb and I spent a couple of happy hours yesterday with friends in Cwmdonkin Park, made famous by the author and poet, Dylan Thomas. It’s the centenary of his birth this year and there are loads of events to commemorate it in Swansea, including the arts fair in Cwmdonkin, with music, poetry and visual arts. There was also a burger van. I did this sketch into my leather Steampunk sketchbook with Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens, sizes S and B.

Cwtch The Potential

20 Nov

20 cwtch

Swansea Bay’s bid to be the UK City of Culture in 2017, ‘Cwtch The Bid’, wasn’t successful; the result was announced this morning and Hull’s the winner – congratulations to Hull. So tonight’s event back in Swansea was more of a wake than a celebration, but it was very upbeat. One of the nice things about Cwtch The Bid was the amount of artists, musicians, writers, performers who did lots of little bits to feed information and ideas into the bid. It was great to see so many people putting aside their differences and getting stuck in and who still want to be involved in moving things forward in Swansea.

This evening’s celebration was totally focussed on how to keep the ball rolling. With so many people involved from grass roots organisations and such a terrific response from the public, it should be possible to ‘Cwtch The Potential’ and carry on. Dylan Thomas didn’t do us any favours when he labelled Swansea “the graveyard of ambition”. It’s time to shake off that legacy and become ‘the powerhouse of ambition’.

I sat in a corner, as I normally do at gatherings of more than half  dozen people, and I sketched the crowd in my clothbound A5 sketchbook, prepared with ripped brown parcel paper stuch in with Pritt stick glue, using Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens, sizes S, F and M. I’ve learned from hard experience not to get too precious about drawing crowds because people move around so much. Don’t be afraid to overlay figures as people move into view and obscure those behind. The zebra head on the left is not real, it’s a wacky model.

BTW, ‘cwtch’ is a Welsh word meaning to hug and nurture.

Use It Or Lose It!

10 Nov

10 who

Yesterday, Husb and I joined family members and assorted Whovians on the Doctor Who Locations walk’n’talk, organised by the Swansea Library Service. It was a part of an excellent programme of free events coming up this month. I sketched one of the Who companions outside the Kardomah Cafe in Portland Street, that has a number of links to the programme as well as to Dylan Thomas and his contemporaries. It was a most excellent tour around the city, but a shame there were not more people there to enjoy an event that our local council has put on for free for its citizens. Come on people, use it or lose it!

I drew this with Faber Castell Pitt pens, sizes F and M into my Laura Ashley clothbound A5 sketchbook that I’d prepared with some ripped brown wrapping paper stuck in with a Pritt stick. It’s got to be Pritt – accept no substitute!

 

The Cwmdonkin Cuppa

27 May

27 cuppa

Well, today was Bank Holiday Monday and true to British tradition, the weather was dreadful, cold, windy and pouring with rain. Luckily, Husb and I went for a nice long walk yesterday when it was lovely and sunny and we ended up in Cwmdonkin Park, made famous by Dylan Thomas, who lived close by and played in the park as a child. The lovely old pavilion, painted a traditional green and white, is now a little cafe serving tea and Joe’s ice cream, scones and cakes. We stopped for a nice cuppa and I scribbled the little teapot on the wooden slatted table. I especially liked the way the shadows folded down between the strips of wood.

Drawn into my A5 pink recycled sari sketchbook with Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens in sepia, sizes F and S.

Captain Cat And The Rubber Slug

23 Jul

I did about a dozen drawings on the street during the ‘Disruptions II’ event in Swansea on Saturday afternoon – this is the last one I’m going to blog but the set is going up on the Elysium Artspace website some time soon. Here’s Wanda Zyborska performing to unsuspecting citizens as a large rubber slug-like living sculpture  made from recycled rubber inner tubes from agricultural machines.

It’s the start of the summer holidays and after months of torrential rain I took advantage of the sunshine and the company of a small nephew to go out sketching. I bought the nephew a new sketchbook and some charcoal pencils, ignoring his plea for a new Nintendo DS (I don’t even know what that is). We sat in some shade in the Swansea Marina and drew the sculpture of Captain Cat, a character from Dylan Thomas.  The boy’s drawing is a lot better than mine. Here it is. He’s 8.

Drawing A Drawing And Dylan’s Caff

11 Apr

Ink sketch: at my studio.

I’ve not done much artwork the past couple of days, it’s holiday time and I’m trying not to fall into the trap of not taking time off, which is something a lot of self-employed people do. I had a lovely time with an old friend, lunch at Bizzie Lizzies  and an afternoon pot of tea at the legendary Kardomah Cafe, beloved many years ago by Dylan Thomas and his bohemian chums, The Kardomah Gang. It’s still as it was when I was a child, very retro and original. Coincidentally I went for a curry last evening to celebrate a friend’s birthday and met a lady who has leased Dylan Thomas’ old house in Cwmdonkin. You can’t go far in Swansea without tripping over Dylan.

But I couldn’t keep away from the studio and wandered in around teatime just to sit down and chill out and do a little drawing. I’ve posted photos of my studio before but today I’m posting a sketch of my studio, sitting in my comfy chair, looking at the big window with the hillside in the background, a couple of large drawings on my table. Just can’t keep away from this arty stuff.

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