Tag Archives: Mission Gallery

A Grand Night Out

23 Mar

Image: Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945), Self-portrait with hand against cheek (before July 1906) © The Trustees of the British Museum

So this evening, Swansea was buzzing with crowds of arty types milling between no less than 5 galleries opening exhibitions on the same night. I dropped into the effervescent Galerie Simpson to start with, then up to the magnificent Glynn Vivian Art Gallery for the opening of “Portrait Of The Artist – Käthe Kollwitz”. I’ve been desperate to see this show, which had been at Ikon in Birmingham last year, in partnership with the British Museum and supported by the Dorset Foundation. She is one of my heroes and I love her work so much. I’m a total fangirl.

According to the gallery, “Kollwitz’s unique artistic talent, her technical prowess and intelligence, and above all her humanity, can be seen in this exhibition. There is much about the life and work of Kollwitz that instils hope, that is inspiring and life affirming, despite the burden of hardship and sorrow carried by so many of her figures and by herself. Her emphasis was often on what was distinctive about women’s experience, including the fundamental nature and potency of maternal love. She believed that art could be a force for good in society.”

And there’s a book! I had to have it. The exhibition carries on until the 17th of June and I might be running a weekend printmaking masterclass there, linked to the exhibition……. It’s worth a trip to Swansea to see this and the other shows on at the moment at Galerie Simpson, Volcano, Mission Gallery and Elysium, but not on Mondays.




Drawing The Artist

21 Jan


Husb and I went to an artist talk at The Mission Gallery in Swansea earlier today. I like to scribble away in my sketchbook when I go to events like this. The artist, ceramicist Anne Gibbs was in conversation with Cath Roche, talking about her new exhibition, “Still“.  I find that if I draw, rather than take written notes, I remember far more, I connect far more. I drew into a sketchbook that I made from recycled pieces of lovely papers, all different. This is a piece of Fabriano that I had previously stained with my home-made walnut ink. I used a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen, size S.


I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Art’s Birthday

17 Jan

arts birthday

January the 17th is Art’s Birthday according to Robert Filliou, a French Fluxus artist, who proposed “Art’s Birthday” in 1963. He suggested that a million years ago there was no art. But one day, on January 17 Art was born when someone dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water. Now, lots of artists and arts organisations across the world celebrate Art’s birthday. Today Husb and I went to a symposium on Utopia in the Mission Gallery in Swansea called ‘Collective Misunderstandings’, by Copenhagen-based collective ATB. A challenging and interesting day. I did an extended scribble with Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens into my A6 Tate Gallery sketchbook.

Beauty In Death

19 Jul

19 dead crow

Husb and I went to the Mission Gallery’s new show opening tonight and nearly fell over with the heatwave after about 10 minutes so we left and strolled along the seafront on our way home and came across this dead bird. It’s some sort of crow and was fairly recently dead as only a couple of flies had found it. Such a beautiful creature, black and glossy and at repose. Then as we arrived home, some friends arrived and stayed for some ice cold home-made elderflower cordial. It’s so refreshing in this weather. Our friends asked if we’d taken a photo of the bird.

“Ew no!” I said, “that would be weird!”

“And standing around for 10 minutes in public drawing a little corpse isn’t?” they asked.

Hmm. Fair comment. Drawn into my A5 cloth-bound sketchbook, prepared with ripped brown wrapping paper, with Faber Castell Pitt pens, sizes S, F and B in sepia. I added a grey ink wash later.

Sprogs And Curiosities

14 Apr

Ink sketch: a cabinet of curiosities.

It’s been a varied holiday week, saying goodbye at the funeral of a teacher and mentor, Pat Briggs; saying hello to a new little great nephew, as yet unnamed but in the Welsh tradition already nicknamed, Ffredi [which is Welsh for Freddy :)] and two days babysitting small family sprogs. Not a lot of time for art but what the heck, it’s holiday week. Yesterday my sprog-sitting duties took in the latest exhibition by Claire Morgan at Swansea’s Mission Gallery and then off to the old Swansea Museum, forever known to the family children as ‘The Mouse Museum’. While they explored the old Victorian building on the museum’s mouse hunt, I sketched some of the contents of one of the cabinet of curiosities. Dylan Thomas once described it as “the museum that should be in a museum” because it’s so traditional and that’s what I like so much about it. No high tech novelty stuff, just a proper old-fashioned respoitory for curiosities, a relaxed ambience and friendly, slightly eccentric staff [in the nicest possible way].

As I was sketching the collection above, one of the staff wandered past, showing a small group of people around and telling a rather scary story of all the supernatural sightings that have allegedly happened in the very room I was in. I don’t buy into the supernatural at all but I can understand why people think there’s something a bit strange going on at the museum, it’s a very spooky place. There was nothing at all linking the three objects I drew, a South American pot, an African statuette and something labelled only as ‘A Curious Object’ that looked like a cross between a scabbard and a bean pod. I used my Pilot Hi-Techpoint V5 pen size 0.5mm into my A6 Paper Blanks cat-themed sketchbook.


Disembodied Feet With Wings

24 Mar

At the Enclosed Garden

Spent an hour or so at the closing event for Keith Bayliss’ exhibition at Mission Gallery, The Enclosed Garden; it was such a fabulous exhibition, I haven’t experienced anything quite like it before. It’s been a terrific success with many visitors coming back several times because it had such an impact. It’s intensely spiritual but not in a religious sense, with a mixture of sculptures, paintings and a soundscape, designed especially for the gallery, which used to be a chapel for sailors from the days when Swansea was a thriving port.  I was tucked away at the back opposite a lovely tiny sculpture of two disembodied feet with wings, so I drew them. And the ladies sitting just by them.

An Exploding Corpse In Charcoal

27 Feb

Charcoal and pastel drawing.


Today I was forced right out of my comfort zone. I normally scribble away in tiny ink pens into tiny sketchbooks but this morning I enrolled onto a creative drawing workshop led by Keith Bayliss, whose exhibition, The Enclosed Garden is at Mission Gallery in Swansea. After some warm-up exercises on A1 paper using nothing but charcoal and our hands, Keith set us the task of drawing one of his beautiful, ethereal sculptures, using charcoal and chalky pastels, again onto A1 paper [it’s actually bigger than that as I added another half a sheet to complete it]. About as far from my comfort zone as it’s possible to be.

I really got into the challenge, although after an hour I realised that opting to sprawl on the floor to draw was not a good idea with my aged arthritic knees – serve my own right for tearing round on motorbikes in a miniskirt in my wild youth. It’ll get you in the end. Or in the knees in my case lol.

I like the result, although it looks like an exploding corpse, not at all like Keith’s  delicate gentle soul. It says a lot about me. That’s a bit worrying 😉


Sprogs, Sculptures And Sketchbooks

17 Feb

I babysat three young relatives today and I’m absolutely shattered. How do parents cope? Kudos, parents. I took them to see Keith Bayliss’ exhibition, The Enclosed Garden, at Mission Gallery. After I threatened them and they stopped running round and being loud, we all settled into the lovely contemplative ambience of the exhibition and absorbed the beauty of the sculptures. I settled the littlies down with their sketchbooks and some pens and they sat on the floor for the best part of an hour, drawing quietly. The drawing above is by Owain aged 7 and the one below by his sister, Rhiannon, who is 5.  Without prompting, Owain drew the male figure and Rhiannon the female one. I thought that was interesting.

The male figure has a bowl on his head and the female figure has a bird. Nathan, their cousin, also 7, drew the male figure as well. His is the drawing below. He also included a lovely little sculpted bird that was on the wall above the figure. It’s great to see the completely different styles between the three of them.

They like working in their sketchbooks and they’re very careful to sign and date their work, like proper little artists. I tried sketching them sketching, but even when they’re doing something quiet, they fidget and wriggle and change position all the time, so I didn’t get much that I was happy with and now I’m way too tired to do any more drawings. I’m off for a bath and an early night once I’ve blogged – they’ve worn me out lol 🙂


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