Tag Archives: Halloween

Swedes, Spit And Soft Apples

1 Nov

Swedes, Spit And Soft Apples

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So it’s Halloween again and the streets are full of moppets in Gothic whimsy collecting enough sugary snacks to keep them in sugar rushes until the Easter Bunny brings them shed loads of chocolate. It wasn’t like this when I were a lass.

The boy opposite’s Dad carved him a swede (rutabaga) because pumpkins didn’t exist in those days, not in the UK anyway. It was a nice fat, round swede, pumpkin shaped but smaller. I was impressed and wanted one too so I went into Mam’s kitchen and found a small, shrivelled, rather conical swede and demanded that my Dad carved it for me. Dad was just back from the pub and swaying and I don’t know how he carved it without ending up in A&E (ER), but he managed to gouge out a hollow bit in the middle, stab a couple of mismatched holes for eyes and a slash for a grimace and Mam found the stub of a candle (there were no  night lights back then) and I went out with it proudly. The boy opposite snorted with derisive laughter and mocked me. I was bereft. 😦

Mam tried to cheer me up by organising an apple bob. She rounded up a few neighbour’s children (including the boy opposite with the flashy swede) and poured some water into a washing up bowl and threw in a few apples that had been in the fruit bowl awhile getting soft. They had to be soft for bobbing because you couldn’t sink your teeth into hard ones. The boys rushed forward, jostling each other and dived into the water face first, biting at the apples. I hung back and watched the carnage with distaste – the bowl was murky with little-boy spit. Ychafi (an ancient Welsh exclamation of disgust). Ychafi!

“Go on”, Mam said, “you too”. “No thanks”, I said, crestfallen, clutching my shrivelled mutant swede, watching the boys scoffing the soft apples with saliva dripping down their chins. “I’ll leave it”.

Plumb Tuckered

31 Oct

heyokah

It’s been a long hard day of arty shenanigans. I started early this morning playing a ranting judge in a short film being made by friends. Then onto a second day of drawing in public at the Creative Bubble artspace in the city centre – I do this for a couple of days a month with the 15 Hundred Lives art collective. A quick bite to eat and off to a Halloween Shin-Dig nearby with some groovy people who have taken over an old shop and are developing it into a community cultural centre; early days yet but it looks very promising. I did some more spontaneous drawing there, some faces looming out of a long sheet of brown wrapping paper – well it is Halloween after all. And finally to one of the Elysium events – an open studio which was buzzing. A quick bit of blogging then off to bed because I’m plumb tuckered out. Goodnight 😀

The Big Draw-ing

30 Oct

Dolmen 8

 

The 15 Hundred Lives art collective that I’m a member of is holding a Big Draw event at the Creative Bubble artspace for a couple of days. October is not only the month of the national Big Draw, the world’s biggest drawing festival, it’s also the month of All Hallow’s Eve, an ancient festival for remembering the dead. It’s a Christian festival, part of Allhallowtide; a pagan festival based in the Celtic Samhain; Calan Gaeaf, the Welsh winter festival; and the 20th century secular Halloween tradition of trick or treating.

A lot of my artwork is based on memories of those who have died, my ancestors, and I started a big drawing inspired by this and by my recent couple of days in Pembrokeshire drawing ancient burial monuments.  I don’t see it as a depressing thing at all.  I started by ripping up lumps of newspaper and sticking them on to a roll of Fabriano Accademica with Pritt stick. Then I started drawing onto it with compressed charcoal. Here’s a slide show of the development of the work.

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We had quite a few people drop in and draw with us, some lovely work and lots of great discussions. Another day of it tomorrow – I might do another big drawing.

Skeletons I Have Known [2] SKULL ATTACK!

31 Oct

Chalk, pen and charcoal drawing: Skull Attack #1.

Keeping to the seasonal Halloween theme, I’ve been doing a series of pieces based on the human skull that includes sketches, pastel drawings, cyanotypes and blockprints. These two small drawings were done in chalk, compressed charcoal and Faber Castell Pitt pens into a brown paper sketchbook.

I’m going to call the series Skull Attack, which is a potent local South Wales beer made by a brewer called Brains. The SA beer, which stands for Special Ale, has been nicknamed ‘Brains Skull Attack’ because it’s very strong and that’s what it feels like if you’ve had too much of it.

 

Happy Halloween

 

🙂

Chalk, pen and charcoal drawing: Skull Attack #2.

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