Tag Archives: Elysium Gallery

Hats Indoors

11 Mar

elysium 110320 small

This is getting to be a recurring theme, with the cold and very wet winter and I suspect, commercial premises turning the heating down a degree or two. Here are two of the people listening to artist talks at the Elysium Gallery and Bar this evening, given by Mark Folds and Bourdon Brindille. They were discussing their current exhibitions, “Crises” and “Breakage and Repair”, both excellent, clever, well made, interesting and with a bit of humour. The shows run until April 18th and are worth a look if you’re in Swansea. The Gallery bar and cafe also serves hot food, home cooked and really tasty.

A Grand Night Out

23 Mar

Image: Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945), Self-portrait with hand against cheek (before July 1906) © The Trustees of the British Museum

So this evening, Swansea was buzzing with crowds of arty types milling between no less than 5 galleries opening exhibitions on the same night. I dropped into the effervescent Galerie Simpson to start with, then up to the magnificent Glynn Vivian Art Gallery for the opening of “Portrait Of The Artist – Käthe Kollwitz”. I’ve been desperate to see this show, which had been at Ikon in Birmingham last year, in partnership with the British Museum and supported by the Dorset Foundation. She is one of my heroes and I love her work so much. I’m a total fangirl.

According to the gallery, “Kollwitz’s unique artistic talent, her technical prowess and intelligence, and above all her humanity, can be seen in this exhibition. There is much about the life and work of Kollwitz that instils hope, that is inspiring and life affirming, despite the burden of hardship and sorrow carried by so many of her figures and by herself. Her emphasis was often on what was distinctive about women’s experience, including the fundamental nature and potency of maternal love. She believed that art could be a force for good in society.”

And there’s a book! I had to have it. The exhibition carries on until the 17th of June and I might be running a weekend printmaking masterclass there, linked to the exhibition……. It’s worth a trip to Swansea to see this and the other shows on at the moment at Galerie Simpson, Volcano, Mission Gallery and Elysium, but not on Mondays.




Astro Turf Grazed Bovine

10 Jun

Kat Trussler

Husb and I went to a talk by artist Kathryn Anne Trussler at Elysium Gallery this afternoon. Her exhibition, “Astro Turf Grazed Bovine“, is amazing and definitely worth a visit. It runs until June the 17th.

I had a quick scribble while I listened, into my little flowery sketchbook. I photographed it next to a red pepper so you can get a sense of scale.



Stir Crazy Celtic Knots

16 May

I was ‘babysitting’ the current show at Elysium Gallery earlier this afternoon, doing my volunteer stint for the day and a shy young man wandered in, wearing a Big Issue seller’s tabard. He asked if it was alright to come in, he was very nervous. I made him welcome and he really liked the exhibition. I chatted to him and he said that he loved art and when he finishes selling the mag each day, he goes back to his tiny room and spends hours drawing Celtic Knotwork. Celtic Knotwork!!!! Have you ever tried drawing Celtic Knotwork? I have – it’s really hard. And this guy is absorbed in it for hours each day. It’s so easy to judge people by their appearances and fail to see the human being behind the stereotype. He said he’d call in again. I hope he does.

When I left the gallery the sun was streaming down, rare for Swansea and I didn’t want to go back to my studio – I’m getting a bit stir crazy and the place smells of rabbit skin glue at the moment – horrible. So I went walkabout and sat on a wall by the Big Issue office in St. Helen’s Road. I sketched the people using the traffic crossing. It wasn’t easy because they don’t stay still for long and dart across the road really quickly, so it was a good exercise for me. They weren’t bunched together in a group – I drew them singly and tried to fit them together as best I can. Back to the smelly studio tomorrow – hope it rains.

Open Studios Coming Up.

14 Mar

Charcoal and chalk drawing.


Getting into some serious drawing lately, using fairly large discarded prints because the paper is good quality, usually Somerset or Bockingford, along with charcoal, compressed charcoal, chalk and transparent oil bar. I worked up this large [A1] drawing from a tiny life drawing in my sketchbook. I covered the paper with loads of random scribblings before starting to shape the image within it. It’s one of the ones on my wall for the Grand Opening of the Mansel Street Studios this coming Friday. If you’re in Swansea between 7 and 9.30 pm, be sure to come up and see my etchings 🙂 . The main stairwell and corridors have been filled with an exhibition of work from the two groups of Elysium studio artists, there’ll be wine and nibbles in the exhibition and I’m serving cake and mocktails at my studio. Would be lovely to see you.

Gallery, Students, Tip.

16 Feb

Ink sketch at Elysium


I had a very bitty day today and it wasn’t satisfying at all. Started off with admin and stuff to do on the computer, took AGES to book some train tickets online. It would have been quicker to walk to the station and back again! Then Husb and I took a load of rubble from the studios to the recycling tip. Fascinating :$. But now I know where to put old fluorescent tubes. And this afternoon was my stint sitting the current exhibition at Elysium Gallery. I generally volunteer for the 2.30 – 5.00 slot on Thursdays so if anyone’s passing, drop by and say hello 🙂

This afternoon, thirty students from the local Art College turned up with their tutor who gave them a lecture based on the work in the gallery. I thought it was an excellent idea. They should do it more. While she was teaching, I scribbled a couple of the students listening – they all had to sit on the floor. I didn’t – I have old knees. Actually it’s not just my knees. The students looked ridiculously young to me, as do policemen these days. Let’s face it, I’m a mad old cat lady lol 🙂

Didn’t get much art work done, apart from this sketch in Faber Castell Pitt pens sizes F and B in my little cat-themed sketchbook.

The Vulnerable Artist And The Great Big Draw

7 Jan

At the great big draw.

A few months ago, some of the artists involved in Artawe got together and did a big draw at Elysium Gallery, taking over the space for a week to, well, just to draw. A few of us stapled huge sheets of brown wrapping paper to the walls and the word went out to local artists to come in and draw all over them with charcoal and chalk. Just like we were told NOT to do by our Mams when we were little. We started on a Saturday and continued throughout the following week until the gallery was full. It was open to the public and we were in fullview through the large windows. It was photographed and a short film made of it and then it was ripped down and binned. Ephemeral art indeed. Here’s a photo of the whole thing by Chris Harrendence who drew the amazing top-hatted man on the far left.

At the big draw. Photo by Chris Harrendence.

It was about the time that Ai Wei Wei had ‘disappeared’ in China and my drawing refelcted on the artist’s role and how vulnerable we are if our art challenges political, social or religious norms. I’m looking at my drawing top right, above a work by Sandra Demar and Tim Kelly’s work just behind me. It was brilliant that so many artists turned up just to enjoy the act of drawing together, done on a shoestring, no public funding, advertised by word of mouth and social networking. It was also good that so many members of the public were able to see artists at work. We’re usually closeted away in our studios, houses, garden sheds and garrets.

Big Drawing, Little Drawing.

22 Nov

Ink sketch: Cahir Conree, County Kerry, Ireland.

Last week I went to the opening of Mary-Ann Kokoska’s fabulous exhibition ‘Drawing: Land and Sky’, featuring her HUGE three-dimensional drawing installations based on the vast landscape and wild weather of Colorado USA, where she lives and teaches. Her drawings are room sized and overwhelm the viewer with their vastness and intensity.

Drawing Installation: Prickly Wrap by Mary-Ann Kokoska.

This floor to ceiling drawing at Elysium Gallery in Swansea shows her multi-layered technique, overlapping different types of paper and mylar film [mark-resist] which give extraordinary depth to the drawing and it curves out of the wall into the gallery space. Each mark is carefully considered and she can take several months to make one of these vast drawings.

Unlike me. I rarely do landscapes but now and again, when I’m off travelling, I have been known to make the occasional study. It usually takes me all of three minutes 🙂 ! And they rarely exceed an A6 page. Here are two quick scribbles I made last year during a trip to Ireland. We took a back road and crossed a mountain range on our way to Dingle in County Kerry – it’s called Cahir Conree. Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens into a silk-bound A6 sketchbook.

.”]Mary-Ann’s amazing exhibition continues at Elysium Gallery in Swansea until December 23rd. Wednesday – Saturday, 12.00 – 5.00. Free entry.



Babysitting the Art at Bus Stop Cinema

25 Aug

I volunteer regularly to babysit exhibitions at Elysium Gallery and it’s a chance to catch up on admin on the laptop like cataloguing photos and writing artist statements. This week it’s Bus Stop Cinema, featuring 13 films from international artists, an eclectic mix of art, drama, animation and parody. It’s fun babysitting in the dark and mostly I’m on my own with people popping in and out but no-one yet has had time to watch the whole cycle, so they watch one or two, have a bit of a chat and then off to carry on with their Thursday afternoon activities.

First in was an older local artist during ‘River of Mud’ by Jacob Dwyer and he showed me a small original oil painting he’d bought in a second-hand shop for four quid. The painting was a conventional but pretty landscape in a lovely old-fashioned, well-made stretcher.


Ink drawing: a corner at the old Elysium Gallery.


Another artist came in during Melvyn William’s first Downfall parody, ‘Jaffa Cakes’. We discussed the call for the forthcoming Venice Biennale fringe exhibition of work in vending machines and talked about the different ways of presenting artwork in a sphere with a ten centimetre diameter – folding, crumpling, digital imagery on a memory stick, tiny art……. which took us through ‘Interior Day’ by Elina Medley.


An older woman popped in during Jayne Wilson’s ‘All That Mighty Heart’ and told me about her skateboarding lessons and the disapproval of her neighbours that a woman of her age had taken up the skateboard. She’s learnt five manoeuvres; getting on, getting off, moving in a straight line, going up, going down. She left during ‘Dress, Cover, Interval, Distance’ by Lindsay Foster to go and finish re-pointing her garden wall before it rained again.  A photographer of a certain age asked about opening times next week and we chatted about the Simulacrum exhibition that’s coming up and I gave him flyers for it and the Artawe website for local artists. That took us through David Marchant’s ‘Love Boat’.


Three people, also of a certain age, watched the animation ‘Re-Toiled’ by Sean Vicary and got right into it – it’s fantastical and a bit disturbing. The two men thought the second Hitler parody, ‘Self-service Tills’ , was hilarious but the woman found it quite difficult to get beyond the evil that Hitler stood for.  No young people this afternoon, maybe because the students have gone home. All the visitors have been 40+. Like me. Nobody but me saw David Theobald’s ‘Greensleaves’ which is a pity because it’s really funny in a weird way.

The drawing is an ink sketch in my sketchbook of a corner of the last incarnation of the Elysium Gallery when it was situated in a large semi-derelict ex-brothel in Mansel Street. I used Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens.


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