Tag Archives: John Abell

Rebecca And Her Riots

17 Jan

Dinefwr 3

Husb and I went to a fabulous exhibition that opened this evening at the National Trust’s Newton House in Dinefwr near Llandeilo. It’s by Cardiff artist and printmaker John Abell. Called ‘Becca And Her Children’, it’s inspired by the Rebecca Riots that happened in the area in the early 19th century.

Dinefwr 2

John has been doing a residency there, producing paintings, small drypoint prints and huge linocuts. They are lush, so complex.


The historic venue is a fabulous setting for the work. The house and grounds are worth a day out in their own right as well. The exhibition continues to April the 20th.

Chilly Two

24 Sep

drawing 2

Here’s the second pose I did yesterday evening at the special life drawing   session at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea. The event is part of the Now The Hero / Nawr Yr Arwr arts festival happening over the coming week. This is a one minute pose drawn outside in the ‘Graft’ garden, fair do’s mun, these life models are a hardy bunch.

I used three conté crayons in white, sanguine and black into an A4 spiral bound brown paper sketchbook from Seawhite’s of Brighton.


There are loads of art events happening this week, including an excellent exhibition at Swansea Print Workshop, inspired by World War 1 and the work of WW1 artists Frank Brangwyn and Kathe Kollwitz. Below are some works by John Abell, one of fifteen artist printmakers showing their work. “Now The Printmakers” is open Tuesday to Saturday, September 24th to 29th, 10.30 – 4.30 at 19a, Clarence Street, Swansea.


SPW John Abell

‘Diary Of A Dead Officer’, a collection of lino prints by John Abell and a hand printed book published by Old Stile Press.




Warm Spiced Apple Cake

22 Sep
SPW John Abell

‘Diary Of A Dead Officer’, a collection of lino prints by John Abell and a hand printed book published by Old Stile Press.


There’s a lovely exhibition of contemporary printmaking at Swansea Print Workshop this week (until September 29th) and if you fancy popping in to see it tomorrow afternoon (Sunday 22nd), I’ll be show sitting (which is a much nicer way of saying invigilation IMHO) from 1.30 – 4.30. If you haven’t been to the print workshop before, I’ll be happy to show you round our remarkable collection of antique and modern printing presses as well as the lovely exhibition. And there will be tea and coffee and warm spiced apple cake. How can you resist?


Art, Cake, Cake, Art

19 Sep


Invite Now The Printmakers a


Such a lot happening over the next week or so in Swansea and it all kicks off this Friday with the opening of the exhibition, “Now The Printmakers” at 5.30 pm at Swansea Print Workshop. Inspired by the work of Frank Brangwyn and Kathe Kollwitz, the show focusses on the work of three contemporary print artists – John Abell, Andrew Baldwin and yours truly as well as a group show of a dozen or so of our artist members. I’ll be there at 5.30 – with lashings of cake – but within the hour I’ve got to shoot across the city centre to the start of my Open Studio event at Volcano, also with lashings of cake…..


Invite Here Be Dragons a

And there are other exhibitions opening across the city that night – at Mission Gallery, Galerie Simpson and the Glynn Vivian, with the opening times staggered so art lovers can get around and see lots of them. It’s all leading up to next weeks major international art festival, “Now The Hero / Nawr Yr Arwr”, but more about that tomorrow……

If you’re out and about in Swansea on Friday 21st September, please pop in to one or more of the venues and get yourself some art and cake. There will be bara brith, banana cake, spiced apple cake and Victoria Sandwich……

bara brith 2

Traditional home-made bara brith





Now The Printmakers

23 Aug

From left to right: Andrew Baldwin, Rose Davies, John Abell


Opening Friday 21st September from 17.30 to 20.00 and continuing 10.30 – 4.30 September 22nd to 29th EXCEPT Monday 24th.

Swansea Print Workshop, a hidden gem, is exhibiting original prints as part of “Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero“, inspired by World War 1 artists Frank Brangwyn and Käthe Kollwitz with work by artist members alongside three featured Welsh printmakers:

John Abell (Cardiff), woodcuts from “The Diary of a Dead Officer” published by Old Stile Press

Andrew Baldwin (Trefeglwys, Powys), etchings and mezzotints inspired by the World War 1 battlefield

And me! Rose Davies / Rosie Scribblah (Swansea), monotypes and etchings from “The Warrior”, a series from my 10 year working relationship with Captain David Williams, a serving soldier and life model, who also features in Nawr yr Arwr.


Here’s a short video of me and my model working on a new monotype for “Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero”


Frank Brangwyn and Käthe Kollwitz were accomplished multidisciplinary artists, both lived and worked through World War 1, and both excelled in the medium of printmaking. Drawing inspiration from the wealth of print media in which they worked, including etching, woodcut and lithography, Swansea Print Workshop’s exhibition will respond to the rich visual wealth of the sumptuous Brangwyn panels and the recent Glynn Vivian Art Gallery exhibition of Käthe Kollwitz prints.


A Humongous Proof

11 Oct


Today was day 2 of a Masterclass with woodcut artist John Abell at Swansea Print Workshop and I carried on cutting the humongous piece of MDF I started yesterday. I used compressed charcoal to darken the surface while I cut with my Flexcut tools. Finally, I reached the point where I wanted to get an idea of what it would look like printed up – you can always cut more away but you can never replace it once it’s gone. So I printed a proof print. This is a first pull, to see what you’ve done and decide whether it’s just right or needs more work.


I used a 50:50 mix of Daler Rowney Georgian Lamp Black oil paint with their Block Printing Medium, very soft, much softer than the relief printing ink I normally use. I rolled the ink over the wood, but it was very absorbent and used up far more than I am used to. I used Fabriano Accademica paper from a roll which was a bit awkward to handle at that size. I used a wooden spoon and a Japanese baren, rubbing hard over the back of the paper to take the print.


I have mixed feelings about it. I like the bits where I used a larger cutting tool in bold strokes, towards the top, but where I tried smaller tools to get a softer, more nuanced effect, it didn’t work at all and I need to get back into it, cutting much more boldly. I think I’ll also put in some lettering. But I’ll leave it a few days to dry out a bit so I’m not cutting through sticky goo.


10 Oct


I am doing a two-day masterclass with epic printmaker, John Abell, at Swansea Print Workshop. John specialises in humongously large woodcuts, click here to see some of his awesome work. I’ve done some small woodcuts before, on plywood, but didn’t really get on with the method. Today, I was presented with a table-sized lump of 6mm MDF to get stuck into. That was a bit of a shock. But I went for it, outlining some images in graphite block and then fleshing it out with charcoal. I used some of the imagery I developed recently on my wall drawing in The Bagpuss Window transient artspace. I knew it would come in handy.

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I started cutting and I suppose I’m about two thirds of the way through. I’ve been quite free, not sketching in too much detail and trying to be spontaneous with my cutting. My Flexcut tools cut through the MDF like a hot knife through butter – lovely. I’ll finish the cutting tomorrow morning and then we’ll be taking a print – by hand! Not with a printing press but with a wooden spoon, although I have a couple of barens as back-up.

Some wood I found, a print I made, and some images from Ye Olde Testament

25 Feb

I had to share this wonderful blogpost from Cardiff printmaker, John Abell, showing his latest linocuts


Some wood I found, a print I made, and some images from Ye Olde Testament.

Day 2 of a gurt big woodcut

7 Mar

A daily blog showing the progress of a huge woodcut by Welsh printmaker, John Abell – stunning!

Day 2 of a gurt big woodcut.

A Dandy, An Exile And Cult Pens

25 Jul

Went to the little village of Ystradgynlais this evening to see some new lithographs. They’re created by a very talented young Welsh artist, John Abell, who won a bursary from the Josef Herman Foundation to spend a week at the world-famous Curwen Press to develop a new body of prints. Josef Herman was a refugee artist fleeing the Nazis before the second World War and he settled for a long time in this part of Wales. John is the first winner of this bursary and it’s very exciting to see an artist developing at the start of their career and it’s also great to see work of such passion.

Of course, I took my sketchbook with me, the little A6 recycled paper one in a leather cover and my Pilot V5 pen. It’ll run out soon – I’ll have to get onto Cult Pens and get some more. I drew the artist (a self-confessed Dandy) and then another artist. The drawings are a little bit wonky because I forgot my specs :(.


Cult pens. Honestly. I’m SUCH a geek!

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