Tag Archives: #enpleinair

The Melted Rocks

24 Jul

Paviland wordpress

One of my favourite places is Paviland, a strange otherworldly cove on the coast of the Gower Peninsula which is the site of the Goat’s Hole Cave, famous for the skeleton of the  “Red Lady of Paviland“, which is actually a young man. From the main road, it’s a fair walk across fields via a marked footpath before the ground drops sharply and narrows into a steep rocky valley down to the beach. The slippery and difficult rocks look as if they have been melted and are splashed with colour from mosses and lichens and veins of different minerals coursing through them. I always take a sketchbook when I visit and I made this large monotype from one of my sketches.

 

Out Of The Blue…

22 Jul
2018 sunshine coal

Buried Sunshine

 

Where do we draw inspiration from? Well, frankly, could be anything, anywhere, anytime. Sometimes it flows from a planned programme of research, other times it just hits you out of the blue. I try to listen to a TED Talk each day and one popped up yesterday by the oceanographer Penny Chisholm about the tiny species Prochlorococcus, the most abundant photosynthetic species on the planet. She was describing how aeons ago, vast amounts of photosynthetic organisms, which lived by absorbing sunlight, sank below the sea, became compressed over unimaginably vast amounts of time and turned into coal and oil. Then came the phrase that hit me … “coal and oil are buried sunshine“!

WOW! I live at the edge of the South Wales coalfield which was mined right back in the 15th century; mining really took off at the beginning of Britain’s Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, continuing until the 1980s, and I’d never thought about the buried sunshine beneath my feet.

Some previous drawings en plein air from Big Pit in Blaenavon.

 

I immediately started to imagine some visual images so I drew one straight away with Daler Rowney artist quality soft pastels onto Khadi handmade paper. While the idea of buried sunshine is beautiful, coal and oil lock away vast amounts of carbon and once they come out of the ground and they’re burned, that carbon is released back into the atmosphere. Which isn’t good. Perhaps we should leave the rest of this ancient sunshine safely buried.

 

You can see Penny Chisholm’s TED Talk on this video…

Seven Years A Blogging…

21 Jul
bobbit-drain2

Bobbit sunbathing in a drain!

WordPress sent me a message a couple of days ago to remind me that I had been blogging for 7 years. I’m really chuffed that I’m still at it after all this time and I’ve published about two and a half thousand posts. That’s a lot of art I’ve done and written about. I did my first post  while I was sitting with my elderly cat, Bobbit, as she was dying. I’ve reproduced it here. It still makes me choke up. I had about a dozen readers for my first post and I was so pleased.

“Bobbit came into our family in July 1993 and 17 years later I’m sitting with her as she sleeps her last sleep, dying gently and quietly with familiar sounds and smells and her human and feline companions around her. If she was suffering I’d take her to the vet for euthanasia, but she’s slipping away peacefully and I want her to die here, in her home.

People who don’t have pets don’t get the relationship. A pet shares part of your journey through life and when a pet dies, that part of your journey is over and you take a new route without your companion. Bobbit has been travelling with me for 17 years and now her journey’s nearly over, mine will change.

It’s a long time for a little cat to share my life. When she arrived aged 8 weeks, she hadn’t ever been outside and we took her into our garden on a warm sunny day and she saw her first grass. She went bonkers romping around on the lawn and she’s loved her garden ever since. Yesterday, I thought she might be rallying because she managed to wobble on her poor little arthritic legs to her favourite spot on the grass. She stayed there for an hour or so then wobbled back indoors and has slept since. I think she wanted one last sleep in the sun, with the feel of the grass under her.

In those 17 years, I’ve moved to England to work and come back to Wales. I’ve had several career changes, run my own business and finally achieved my ambition of becoming a full-time artist. New little relatives and friends have been born, while loved family elders, dear friends and respected colleagues have died. Bobbit has been one of the adored cats who have shared my life along the way, moving from being the youngest (and only girl) out of four, to being the grouchy matriarch over two much younger kitties.

As I’m sitting here with her, I think about the people I’ve shared a path with; who is still a friend, who has disappeared out of my life, the important events, the happinesses, the regrets. The death of a pet encapsulates that period of time and all those experiences and sort of brings it to a close. I know that in a couple of weeks I won’t be so upset; that I’ll be able to tell stories about Bobbit and chuckle over them and she’ll take her place fondly in my memory with my other dear cats; Kat, Nellie, Banshee; Freddy Kruger; Sialco and Bola, but for the moment I’m heartbroken to let go of that part of the journey we have shared and to start on a new path without her.”

Here are a few more sketches of Bobbit, and some of her feline companions.

Scribbling Bollywood

20 Jul

indian dancer 1

Husb and I went to the Glynn Vivian art gallery in Swansea this evening for their monthly late opening night. As well as the exhibitions, they put on some activities and events. This evening we had a Bollywood Dance Performance & Workshop by Sarita Sood to complement the current main exhibition, “Facing” by N. S. Harsha.

indian dancer 2

It’s always difficult to draw people in motion, you have to suspend the desire to record detail and instead draw the barest minimum to convey what’s in front of you. Very good practice though.

 

 

 

 

Ancient Welsh Poem

19 Jul

Gododdin

I joined a group of women Welsh learners at Ty Tawe earlier this evening. We’re practising to be part of the ‘Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero‘ immersive art event in Swansea in September. We’ll be part of a group of one hundred female voices reciting a section from an ancient Welsh poem, Y Gododdin– please click on the link to hear it being recited by the excellent actor, Eddie Ladd. Of course, I had to have a scribble, sneaking a look around the table at my fellow reciters.

A Digital Quickie

17 Jul

1531863740712.png

Got to the end of a busy day without doing a drawing so I grabbed my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet with a free drawing app called Markers and did a quick digital sketch of my foot. I used mostly opaque colours which gives it a sort of silkscreeny look.

Concrete And Astroturf??!!

16 Jul

loganberry cordial

Husb and I are keen gardeners, well, no, that’s not true. I’m a keen gardener and Husb would happily fill the garden with concrete and Astroturf! Our garden is small but we also have an allotment and grow a lot of fruit and some veg. At this time of year, we’re picking our produce which means spending time cleaning and preserving it. Today we made 6 jars of gooseberry and elderflower jam and 6 bottles of loganberry cordial and picked about 4 kilos of jostaberries (a cross between gooseberries and blackcurrants), a kilo of rhubarb and a load of rainbow chard. Not much chance of doing anything arty with all this going on, but I did this drawing a while back of our local castle which overlooks the allotments. It’s an idyllic place, we’re very lucky.

Tomorrow, I’ll be jamming all those jostaberries and making rhubarb chutney.

The Finished Piece

15 Jul

finish front

It’s been a couple of weekends since I did the screenprint book course at Swansea Print Workshop with Kelly Stewart and I just realised that I didn’t blog about the finished piece. Well, here it is: the front above……

….. and the back below, showing the covers …..

finish back

And here’s everyone’s …..

everyone

An Artist’s Inspiration

14 Jul

glass 1

Husb and I visited the very talented glass artist, Deanne Mangold, at her Open Studio today. Deanne is working up a new panel based on one of my drawings of Neolithic and Bronze Age standing stones, this one in Dinas in Pembrokeshire.

It’s very flattering that another artist finds inspiration in my work and it’s fascinating for me to see how she has interpreted my original. Deanne’s Open Studio continues tomorrow (Sunday 15th July) from 10.00 to 1.00.

flyer

Walking And Drawing

8 Jul

walk and draw

I spent yesterday evening with a group of really lovely women at a creative arts workshop in the beautiful surroundings of North Gower. We went for a walk in the glorious sunshine and some us us did a ‘Walk And Draw’ which really focuses you on being very selective as you can’t draw everything in front of you – you’re on the move – and there’s way too much to draw in an ever-changing landscape anyway. It’s a good opportunity to get a bit abstracted and develop a shorthand of motifs for different features, a sort of storyline. For example, a sun-drenched path might be translated into a bright crescent swirl of white, an interesting building morphs into a few dynamic diagonals….. I used compressed charcoal, chalk and a soft ochre pastel onto brown parcel paper.

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