Tag Archives: museums

Drawing In The Street

15 May
At the picket line, National Waterfront Museum

At the picket line, National Waterfront Museum

I went down to the picket line outside the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea yesterday, partly to show my support for the strikers, partly to get some sketchbook practice. I worked into my A5 leatherbound sketchbook with a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen, size S.

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I started with a very quick sketch, just a few seconds to start to get my eye in. In the second sketch I focussed on the background – the building and trees- to become familiar with them and overlaid a few experimental figures onto it. Finally, in my third drawing, I quickly sketched in the background (as I was familiar with it) and then I worked on the figures in the crowd, putting in the ones in the mid-distance first, then the foreground and finally filling in the ones in the background of the group. Drawing a crowd is a process of building up layers but the work has to be done quickly because, of course, people are constantly moving. I wanted to draw more, but I had to be somewhere else in a hurry so I had a quick chat with some of the picketers to wish them well and then away…..

Staff at all sites across National Museum Wales have been out on continuous strike action for over two weeks now, following a dispute of over 2 years about a cut of 15% to the take home pay of the lowest paid for their weekend work – while senior managers face no cuts at all. The support we’ve had so far has been phenomenal, but there’s still lots of people who aren’t aware of the situation.” Check out the Facebook page here if you would like to know more.

 

On The Picket Line

14 May
The Museum Picket Line

The Museum Picket Line

Staff at all sites across National Museum Wales have been out on continuous strike action for over two weeks now, following a dispute of over 2 years about a cut of 15% to the take home pay of the lowest paid for their weekend work – while senior managers face no cuts at all. The support we’ve had so far has been phenomenal, but there’s still lots of people who aren’t aware of the situation.” Check out the Facebook page here if you would like to know more.

I joined the strikers on the picket line outside the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea this morning and did a bit of scribbling into my sketchbook. The affected staff are those in the front-of-house, the ones that make museum visits special for visitors, the ones who make the museum service work for the public. They’re also the lowest paid and in this rotten travesty of a society we have at the moment, they’re the ones who are expected to take a pay cut – not the ones at the top of the tree – oh no! Sound familiar?

And our rotten biased Anglocentric national media doesn’t want to know. This is happening right across Wales but it’s too much to expect lazy media hacks to get off their backsides and travel out of London once in a while to see what’s happening in the rest of Britain.

The Stone In Merlin’s Town

25 Apr

Museum stone

The final drawing from last Friday’s archaeology / art / film excursion around West Wales is of the standing stone in the grounds of Carmarthenshire Museum, a fine old building in lovely ground in Abergwili, just outside the town. I’m afraid I don’t know anything about it, except that it was moved from its original site to the front garden of the museum, which is worth visiting for, apart from anything else, a collection of standing stones in one of the galleries. The Welsh name for the town of Carmarthen is Caerfyrddin – Merlin’s Fort and refers to the Merlin of Arthurian legend.

 

I’m travelling around South West Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book on Neolithic / Bronze Age monuments. His previous book on the stones of Ancient Siluria (South East Wales) can be found here. Accompanying us is film maker Melvyn Williams who is recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. I’m currently working on a series of expressive drawings of ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

Big Boats And Arctic Char

15 Nov

 

At the National Maritime Museum, Reykjavik

At the National Maritime Museum, Reykjavik

Husb and I have had a few days in Reykjavik, Iceland, a beautiful city. We strolled downtown in the crisp brilliant sunshine yesterday to take a look around the old dockland area. There are a lot of museums down there, the National Maritime, the Icelandic Saga and Northern Lights museums. And some lovely places to eat fresh fish too. We stopped for lunch at the Kaffi Vagninn, I stuck with standard fish and chips, delicious light batter and fluffy cod with a delicious selection of mayonnaise sauces. Husb had a gorgeous baked Arctic Char, lightly spiced on a bed of creamy, buttery sweet potato. The area is being redeveloped and it’s a lovely place to visit, walk around, eat and buy locally made goods.

Drawing Egon

15 Jun

Yesterday in Vienna Husb and I spent most of the day in The Leopold Museum wallowing in Egon Shiele’s art. And other Secession and Expressionist artists. It was an amazing experience.
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Husb and I are the sort of people who upset the gallery staff by standing as close as possible to artworks to try and work out how the artist did it. I got told off! I studied this hand, Schiele has drawn in pencil and overlaid with translucent oil glazes. The drawing is clearly visible and enables far more detail than possible with a brush.
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Afterwards I did a bit of scribbling at the tram stop; people are too busy with their smartphones to notice me.

The Museum Cat

15 Aug

I wandered into Swansea Museum yesterday and met a gorgeous, large ginger-and-white moggy. She’s a frequent visitor; she lives in the local pub on the corner and trots up to the museum most days and her name is Megan. She sat on the receptionist’s counter for a few minutes, just enough to let me do the briefest sketch and then trotted off after a group of small schoolchildren, who squealed with delight as she followed them.

It’s not a particularly good sketch, but sometimes you only get a minute or two to get something on the page and it’s better than not doing it. Even a scruffy little scribble has the capacity to evoke memories in a way that you don’t get with photographs.

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