Tag Archives: Green Man Festival

Stitched Up

1 Jan

subversive stitch

First day of the new year and I’m laid up with a nasty cold and there’s torrential rain and gale force winds outside and there’s loads of houswork and DIY to be done. Feels like life has stitched me up. Anyway, no time for any new art today because after all the stuff I had to get on with, the choice was do a drawing or watch the new episode of Sherlock on BBC1. Sherlock won.

So I settled on this drawing that I did at the Green Man festival a couple of summers ago, remembering the sunshine. The original is in my sketchbook but this is a reworking on top of a solvent transfer print I did from a digital photograph that I have altered in Adobe Photoshop. This woman was on the main field, enjoying the music and knitting at the same time. Cool.

This piece is being exhibited at The Brunswick in Swansea until early March.


11 Feb


I heard a new word yesterday. ‘Glamping’. It means upmarket camping. You know, for the sort of (rich) person who goes to a Festival without their own tent because they’ve booked a luxury Yurt with inflatable beds and hand-stitched Mongolian throws, embroidered floor cushions and artisanal hookahs with an ensuite chemical toilet.

Pansies! I’m a veteran of festivals and biker rallies since the 1970’s and I laugh in the face of horizontal rain, cold, hard ground and festival toilets! What sort of Wuss would want to go in for Glamping! Well, Husb probably would. We went to the Green Man Festival a couple of years ago. It was his first festival and probably his last. He did not take to tent life, communal toilets and roughing it at all. The only saving grace was the gourmet food. Back in the day, we were grateful for a beer tent and some skanky burgers. Husb feasted on rotisserie chicken, hand raised game pies, couscous and green chai.

I wanted to draw a crowd scene, but how to go about it? I didn’t want to draw loads of little ovals so I lay down to get a low perspective and started with the head of the man in front of me, working my way down some key groups of people and decided to leave the viewer to fill in the gaps down to the stage. Jarvis Cocker headlined on the Saturday night. He was brilliant.

One Hand Can Dancing

20 Jan

Ink drawing: dancing at the Green Man festival.


I wandered round the Green Man festival near Crickhowell with my sketchbook a couple of years ago. It’s a great situation for drawing because most people are so engrossed in music or dancing that they don’t notice you and are perfectly natural. These two guys were dancing away for ages – a specific dance that involved keeping hold of their beer cans and not spilling a drop – the One Hand Can Dance. It’s sort of like Dad’s Dancing, butwith a beer can and outside in a field 😉

The man on the right had his little girl on his shoulders for hours. She was dancing away too which probably wasn’t comfortable for him but he didn’t put her down. That’s dedicated parenting. I really liked the Green Man – it was big enough to feel like a festival and small enough to be friendly and intimate.

Drawn in Faber Castell Pitt pens into an A5 bound Daler Rowney sketchbook.

Where Do You Start With A Crowd?!

23 Nov

Ink sketch: festival crowd.


Drawing a life model who sits still for ages is one thing, sketching a crowd at a festival is much more of a challenge. People move – they dance! They get up and go off. How inconsiderate. Anyway, got this lot mid-afternoon at the Green Man Festival a couple of years ago [fabulous little folk/rock/psychedelic/arty festival on the Welsh borders if you fancy going]. The weather was uncharacteristically warm and dry and sunny for a British August and everone was chilling out so there wasn’t too much movement going on.

I find it hard to know where to start a crowd drawing but this one was easier than usual because I was at the top of a slope looking down which gave an exaggerated perspective that I really like. I couldn’t be bothered to put in lots of little dots and circles to represent the crowd down the bottom, the sunshine and ambience got to me and I shut my sketchbook and chilled out. That sounds like a good idea – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


oh yes – Faber Castell Pitt pens size S, F and B into an A5 bound Daler Rowney sketchbook.

The Sad Tale of William Pink

20 Sep

A couple of years ago I went to an exhibition at our local gallery and amongst the eclectic mix of curiosities was Smugglerius, an écorché of a smuggler who was skinned after being hanged at Tyburn in the eighteenth century. An écorché is a sculpture cast from a flayed body. The original Smugglerius was made by Agostino Carlini in bronze in the classical pose of The Dying Gaul, but this has been lost and only plaster casts, made by William Pink in the 1850s, remain and this écorché was nicknamed after him.  It used to be common for art students to draw from écorchés.

Ink drawing: William Pink and a festival fan.

I was visiting the exhibition with my sister, who is not an artist and she found William Pink utterly horrifying, so I went back a few days later to draw him.  At first I looked at him dispassionately, thinking it was just a plaster cast, but the amazing detail of the flayed body gradually made me feel more uncomfortable and I was eventually overcome with compassion for this poor soul who had lived in much more brutal times. Nobody is sure of his identity or even if he really was a smuggler – he might have committed some truly terrible crimes, but equally he might have been hanged for something relatively trivial, as so many people were in those sad days.

I took this sketchbook with me a few weeks later to the Green Man Festival in the lovely Usk Valley. I spent a happy few days wandering round listening to fab music, Jarvis Cocker headlined, and I sketched people around me. I noticed this young man sitting in a similar pose to William Pink and drew him on the same page. I am struck by the difference in their existences; the privileges we take for granted and how we are so lucky that our lives are relatively untouched by brutality and extreme poverty.


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