Tag Archives: feminist art

Strong Strong Strong

21 Jul

Just back from life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop, working with an older woman model who is one of my favourites. She is a strong woman with strong features and a strong body, inspiring to draw. I did one portrait study, working with charcoal and chalk into my A2 brown paper sketchbook. I used my fingers to draw as well, smudging the charcoal to make the lines bolder.


I have been travelling across South Wales with Rhondda-born archaeologist Dewi Bowen and Swansea film maker Melvyn Williams, hunting the wild megalith, accompanied by my portable drawing board, portfolio of Fabriano paper and a bag full of assorted artist’s materials.  Dewi is researching his latest book on Neolithic monuments and Melvyn is making a documentary film of our literary and artistic adventures.

If you want to know more about my solo show in The Worker’s Gallery in the Rhondda Valley in September, please click here.

And if you want to see some of my other artwork, please click on the image below.



So Many Stories…….

20 Jul


A new head of an elder woman for my blog this evening. I’ve been stuck doing work on the computer all day so it’s nice to do some drawing. I’m enjoying looking through images of older women for this series of drawings in my A4 sketch book. So many fascinating faces; so many stories playing across the contours of the skin. I’ve been sticking ripped pieces of brown paper onto the pages to break up the tyrrany of the white and give me a toned background to build my sketch in black and white conte crayon with touches of carbon.

They’re Fab!

11 Jul

elderhead 6

I am carrying on with the 10 minute sketches of heads of older women, this is the seventh and I’m relaxing into it. I’ve chosen to focus on women of advanced age because it’s a group of people that doesn’t seem to appear much in visual cultural references. Of course, there are iconic older women, like the actress Helen Mirren and the late Mother Theresa but in the general imagery around us, advertising, magazine covers, television and films, older women don’t feature much. Even when they do, they’re often Photoshopped to look much younger. It’s no wonder that so many women feel the pressure to have facelifts and botox in order to remain visible. So in my own small way I’m saying, “Hey, look here. Here are some older women. And they’re fab.”

It’s useful as a technical exercise; by limiting myself to 10 minutes I have to focus on the essence of the image and not concentrate on too much detail. This helps me to be much looser than if I was doing a formal portrait with more time on my hands. Because I’m working into a sketchbook, I’m not so precious about the drawing either, I’m far more willing to experiment.

I’m working into a hardbacked A4 sketchbook that I’ve prepared with pieces of randomly ripped brown wrapping paper, glued with Pritt stick. I do a brief outline sketch with a pale graphite stick, then put in the highlights and lowlights with white and black conté crayon, then I have a final scribble with a dark graphite stick.

Aged Grandeur

9 Jul
elderhead 5

10 minute sketch of an older woman

I’m really getting into doing these 10 minute practice studies from photos of elderly women. It’s a big departure for me to work from photos as I love drawing from life so much. I can develop a different style with these drawings though as it isn’t imperative for me to get an absolute likeness, so I can improvise and experiment and really let go. It’s like a musician jamming I guess.


I’m working on an A4 size, into a hardbacked sketchbook prepared with randomly ripped brown wrapping paper stuck in with Pritt (it’s the best I find). I sketch roughly in a light graphite stick then pick out the highlights and lowlights with white and black conté crayon and finally scribble over the ‘detail’ lines with a dark graphite stick.


I really appreciate the beauty in these faces, they have lived a life and tell a story, yet are largely invisible in our culture. What a shame.

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