Tag Archives: gesso

Prepping Paper

21 Oct

walnut 2

I’ve got some large rolls of Fabriano Accademica paper hanging around so I thought I’d stretch some of it on the wall, seal it with acrylic gesso and then colour it with some of my home-made walnut ink. And why not?

I’ll cut it up and use it for life drawing. I’ve been taking black paper to the life drawing group and I’m liking the results of working onto a dark background. The walnut ink isn’t just dark, it will also provide a load of texture to work on top of.

A Chance To Own One Of My Artworks

I have some small screenprints for sale, inspired by my drawings of the taxidermy collection at Swansea Museum. I have given these antique artifacts a modern twist by combining them with images of rubbish – old fruit nets, bubble wrap and plastic – highlighting the problem of human pollution and how it affects wildlife.

To buy my work on the Swansea Print Workshop site please click the image to the left and to see the complete image.

In this one, I combined snippets of a bird and discarded plastic with the image of a bug, part of the Museum’s fascinating vintage collection.

20 percent of the cost of each screenprint sold goes to support Swansea Print Workshop, which receives no public funding.


Oh The Glamour!

11 Jun


The glamorous life of an artist – not! Recycling canvasses with gesso. There’s a lot of prep and hard work before anything ends up on a gallery wall.

The Last Leg

2 Aug

prep August

I’m on the last leg of The Boar Hunt, Y Ywrch Trwyth, my quest to draw Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments across South Wales that coincide with the route of this story from The Mabinogion. Just a half dozen or so left to visit and draw, along with Rhondda-born archaeologist Dewi Bowen and Swansea film maker Melvyn Williams. I like to draw on prepared paper and I’m nearly out of it so I’ve prepared some more.

prep August 2

I stretched a very large piece of Fabriano Accademica paper onto a wall and gave it two coats of white gesso. Then I rubbed compressed charcoal into it, covering the surface densely. Then a coat of thinned gesso, applied randomly and quickly and a second coat, again brushed on roughly. Finally, I used my home-made walnut ink, which breaks up nicely over the gesso undercoat. I love the way it runs.

We’re setting off early tomorrow. I hope it stops raining!

If you want to know more about my forthcoming solo show, Yr Helfa / The Hunt, 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.


Tiny Fragments

26 Jun



Trying something different today. Normally I work directly from life but I started drawing intuitively, using tiny fragments of lovely papers. Most of them had been prints that hadn’t worked out so I am recycling them. I don’t know where it will lead but that’s what doing art is about, constantly pushing and trying to do new things. I’ve made a start on these little papers and I will carry on working on them tomorrow.  If they don’t work out, I can gesso over them and start again.

Cake And Foreshortening

4 Apr

04 foreshortening

So this evening I took myself off to life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop, bearing an abundance of cakes for our tea break. How civilised is that? I did a couple of sketches in oil bars that I was quite pleased with, then we had this pose to finish up with after tea and cake. It was the hardest pose I’ve ever drawn. The foreshortening was horrendous. It took me an hour to get this far. I’ve used Winsor & Newton oilbars and conte crayon to do the black line. I’ve worked onto thick card primed with two coats of acrylic gesso.

Still Deads

20 Aug

I spent the day at Swansea Print Workshop doing a short course in subtractive drawing with the new artist-in-residence, Aoife Layton. Pretty hard going, partly because it’s very different to the way I normally scribble, using a fine pen into an A6 sketchbook. Today we used A2 cartridge that had been prepared with three coats of rough gesso. We had to coat one with charcoal, rubbing it in well with our hands – lovely and messy! The other was coated with graphite block which was then wiped in with a rag soaked in white spirit. We used an odourless one, but there isn’t a satisfactory alternative to white spirit.

Then we had to begin to remove the black pigment with various drawing materials such as sandpaper, wire wool and craft knives. We had a variety of objects to choose from for our subjects including a large sweet jar full of dried corpses of lobsters and crayfish. I used some of these, Still Deads rather than Still Lifes. The top drawing is the charcoal one, the bottom, graphite. I think the one below looks like some strange crustacean Danse Macabre.

When I was in school, we were taught to always fill the page with a drawing, but these days I prefer to position the image carefully within a space, isolating and emphasising it.

%d bloggers like this: