Tag Archives: inspiration

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…

Ideas Forming

15 Nov

frida-1

I recently did a short residency at the lovely Galerie Simpson in Swansea and experimented with developing three dimensional forms from paper, print and text. I started out by making some little maquettes to try out techniques and I’m starting to think about how I might use them. Husb hung an LED bulb into one of them and I photographed it against a dark background. Ideas are starting to form. Hhhmmmmmmmm……

 

The three dimensional artwork I made during my residency is now being displayed in Cardiff at the Women’s Arts Association exhibition until December the 12th.

waa-invite

In Profile

29 Sep
mcnally-j

Baby Boomer number 74 in my series of 100 drawings

 

I love this profile, so strong, so confident and self-assured. It’s a privilege to sit and talk and sketch with so many people of my generation. Sharing our experiences, sharing our hopes, aspirations, concerns. So many motivated, kind, committed people.

 

There’s more of my art to be seen in my online Gallery in Artfinder, please click on the image below to take a look. Thank you.

Quoit

Working Together

12 Dec

pot border

I spent a second day at the Creative Bubble artspace with fellow artist Sylvie Evans. We started with no plans except to collage on top of recycled paper. I’ve very little experience of making collages and I’ve discovered that it’s far more complex than I ever thought. It’s been an interesting experience, working intuitively with someone else in an unfamiliar medium. I like the imagery we’ve come up with, I’m getting ideas for doing drawings from these and maybe develop some prints – possibly woodcuts. It’s a new way of working for me, a new way of developing ideas.

Ripping And Sticking

11 Dec

 

 

monster birth

 

Time to play is important. I can’t constantly be trying to produce a fully worked up piece of art, or focussing on technical practice. It’s exhausting and inhibiting. Inspiration and ideas must come from somewhere. And they often come when I relax and spend some time playing around or doodling. Today I joined fellow artist Sylvie Evans from the 15 Hundred Lives collective for our regular monthly 2-day session at the Creative Bubble artspace.

Last month we did a Big Draw and had a few rolls of paper that had been drawn over. We decided to recycle them by using them as the basis for collages. Sylvie called into the local free bookshop and picked up some colour magazines and we did a load of ripping and sticking. I hardly ever collage so it was fun and interesting to do some. I played. It’s not great art but some of the images have started to generate ideas which will probably eventually end up in my sketchbook.

 

 

 

Nearly Done

8 Aug

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Today I finished printing my 8 small, 2-colour lino (well, vinyl) blocks ready for my group exhibition at Oriel Ceri Richards at Taliesin Arts Centre in a couple of weeks. I still have to do the second colour on my remaining 4 larger blocks but that’s for tomorrow.

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I used Intaglio Printmaker’s oil-based litho/relief black ink mixed 50:50 with their extender and printed onto Hosho paper using an antique Victorian Columbian printing press at Swansea Print Workshop. I started with drawings and photos of a visit I made to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin a couple of winters ago. The thick snow made the place even more surreal and inspired me to develop the imagery in drawing and printmaking. I like the way they’ve turned out, quite a departure for me but part of being an artist is to evolve and experiment.

If you want to find out more about the 15 Hundred Lives group show “People And Place”, please click here.

Finding Inspiration Part 1.

11 Jan

 

Canvas stapled to the wall

Canvas stapled to the wall

I’ve been working with some other artists in a group called 15 Hundred Lives and we have been doing a 2-day monthly public art event for the past 5 months. We take over a fairly large artspace, Creative Bubble in Swansea and start a new piece of work, inviting the public to come in and see how we develop a piece of art from scratch. It’s been very good for me because I’ve been experimenting and doing things I wouldn’t if I was just plugging away on my own in my studio.

 Working over a ground of yellow ochre acrylic paint

Working over a ground of yellow ochre acrylic paint

 Finding inspiration is the hardest thing about being an artist as far as I’m concerned. Technical ability is improved by diligent practice but finding something to draw, print, paint, whatever is the hardest thing for me. But inspiration can come from all sorts of places. Just before the last Creative Bubble event in December, I was reading a newspaper article about a woman who has set up a feminist website to commemorate women murdered by men in the UK during 2013, many, but not all, victims of domestic violence. It’s called Counting Dead Women. I printed out the article and some of the photos she’d put on her website and spent two days working from them. I hadn’t been looking for subject matter like this but the article inspired as well as distressed me and here’s what I did on Day 1.

Developing the first portrait of a murdered woman

Developing the first portrait using Winsor & Newton oil bars

I found the article and the process of creating these portraits harrowing. It really started to bring the statistics to life for me. More tomorrow……….

Inspiration

10 Oct

There’s a lot of tecchie stuff to do when you’re an artist and today I started scaling up some sketches onto the large pieces of paper I’ve prepared for a series of ‘manier noir’ drawings. I started by soaking some Fabriano Accademica 240gsm and stretching it onto one of my studio walls (good idea to soak the wall a bit first) and when they were dry, gave them 2 coats of acrylic gesso. Then when that was dry, I rubbed the two outer ones with compressed charcoal and the centre one with graphite block and turpentine.

I’ve been sitting looking at them for a couple of weeks now, frustrated because I couldn’t think what to do with them. Then inspiration finally hit today as I sifted through loads of sketches. I now have a good idea of how I want to progress with the series. People sometimes ask me where my inspiration comes from? For me it’s sitting and thinking, searching through reference material; researching from books and t’Internet, but mostly sitting and thinking and not beating myself up because I’m not constantly working on the making of the art.

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