Tag Archives: nudes

Black On Black

16 Mar

16 mari

First off, Wales won the Six Nations Cup in the International Rugby today. A great end to a fab week. At the start Husb and I were in London for a few days, taking in some exhibitions. The Ice Age Art show at the British Museum was fantastic and it’s influence stayed with me during life drawing group on Thursday. We had a model who reminded me of the sculptures I’d seen at The British Museum so I pushed out of my comfort zone and used similar materials to the ones available to paleolithic artists, lumps of graphite, charcoal, chalk and carbon. I couldn’t use my usual fine line style so the drawing developed tonally using diagonal strokes, pulling the figure out of the darkness. It’s about A4 size and I prepared the background with a block of graphite before drawing on top. I like the effect of the different blacks on black. It’s on handmade paper I bought from the Tate gallery a couple of years ago.


28 Feb

28 recycled scribbles

Life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop tonight and I scribbled over a drawing I did a while back that hadn’t worked out. I used to be much more precious about my drawings and have portfolios stuffed full of them, waiting for a cull. But the last couple of years I’ve been ruthless. I’m using top quality paper and sketchbooks and it’s self-indulgent to keep poor drawings; I’m reusing the paper and getting some interesting results by drawing over existing work, rather than sketching straight onto pristine white paper. Tonight’s life drawing of a younger female model is overlaid onto one of an older male model, some of his bits are showing through which adds another dimension. In order to minimise the original figure I am forced to use far more materials and marks than I would normally, which takes me out of my comfort zone. Which is a good thing.

Drawn into a creamy Somerset hardbound sketchbook, 30cm square, over a double page, with chalky pastels.

Deep And Dark (nude figures)

23 Feb

23 foyer 23 foyer 2

I spent a happy few hours today at a local housing project for teenagers, working with some of the residents and a group of artists who draw on a ‘Big Draw’ day. We crawled around on the floor, scribbling on HUGE rolls of paper. It was lovely to see the different styles emerge. I normally work from life but today I didn’t take any preparatory drawings with me and worked from my imagination instead. Which is a bit disturbing because look what I came up with! And no, it’s not the bright colourful one with the toadstools, it’s the dark, visceral one at the other end.

I’ve had an idea bouncing around in my head for a few years now. It’s based on the legend of Lilith, the first wife of Adam. This creation story says that Adam and Lilith were both created from clay and I’ve struggled with a way of showing how flesh, blood and bone might emerge from mud, trying to get a grasp on the reality of creatures gestating and birthing in such a way. It wouldn’t be nice. So today I got into ‘the zone’ and let my imagination run riot. It’s  a start, I feel like I’m getting somewhere with it and I’m going to continue to develop this idea. It’s very bleak and some people might be disturbed by the imagery, but it’s what’s coming out of me at the moment so I’ll go along with it and see where it leads.

Coming Up With Cake

4 Feb

04 grand 1

Still got the lurgi but managed a couple of hours out of the house this afternoon with my fellow artists to set up our group show in Swansea Grand’s Artswing, which opens this coming Friday from 7pm. I’ll be making some lush cakes for the event.

04 grand 2

Sylvie Evans, Graham Parker and yours truly form a small artist collective, 15 Hundred Lives, and we’re exhibiting with guest ceramicist, Heather Lithgow.

04 Warrior Boxed

I’m exhibiting a substantial amount of my large monotype nudes that I’ve been working on for the past couple of years. About half of them are in the show and it’s great to see them hanging in one place. Here’s some geeky stuff about how they’re made…..

If you’re in the Swansea area on Friday evening, please come and join us for a drink and some cake and art. The show runs for the following week as well.

Have a cake 😀

chelseas cake


Pregnant Nude – parental guidance

14 Jan

14 pregnant

I was lucky enough to be able to draw a pregnant model a few months ago. It’s a rare chance and I’ve only worked with one pregnant model before, some years ago. However, I’ve had huge problems getting these works seen. Nudes are contentious anyway but there seems to be particular discomfort about naked pregnant women. I don’t know why. I think she is beautiful and joyful. I’ll probably use some of these drawings as the basis for full colour monotypes. Here’s a 15 minute sketch in dip pen and ink, brush and wash and conte crayon in white for the highlights onto a tinted sugar paper.


Poor And Skinny

11 Dec

11 egon 1

I was tidying up the other day and found an old life drawing that I’d forgotten about. I like it very much so I’ve started working it up into a mixed media drawing. People often tell me that my nudes remind them of Egon Schiele’s work. I’m very flattered by this because he’s one of my favourite artists. I often wonder if I’m too influenced by him, but to be honest, I’d developed my style of drawing many years before I discovered Schiele’s work. When I first saw his nudes, I’d found a kindred spirit.

The nudes that look most like his work are based on thin models. It’s easy to forget that a century ago, poverty was widespread and most of Schiele’s models were not fashionably skinny, they were poor and malnourished. My model here is small and she’s been a dancer all her life, which is why she’s thin. It’s easy to accentuate her angles and that lends a Schiele quality to the drawing.

egon in progress 1

Here’s the mixed media work in progress. I’ve spent about 4 hours on it so far. I coated some Fabriano Accademica in rabbit skin glue then applied acrylic colour washes in yellow, red and blue. Then I worked on it randomly with compressed charcoal and fixed it. Now I’m working up the nude image in oilbars. Still a few hours ago.

Rocking’ The Arts And Goodbye The Brunz!

22 Jan

Today, husb and I took down our last exhibition at The Brunswick after three and a half years of curating! It seems like just a few months ago that we were putting up our first one with Mike Mainwaring and Kara Seaman. I looked through the list of artists who have exhibited during that time – 40 of us [plus a Lifelong Learning group show] and I thought ‘That’s a damn fine group of artists there!’ It’s been a blast working with them all and having the privilege of showing such a wide diversity of work, showcasing so much talent. It’s also been a pleasure to work with Allan, Helen and the staff at The Brunswick pub, who are genuinely interested in art and who put in a lot of behind-the-scenes work to make it happen. We think it’s Wales first, maybe only, serious art pub [there’s also fab real ale and home cooked food, live music and a pub quiz].

I took over the gig from artist Bruce Risdon, which makes it an amazing SEVEN years of exhibitions at The Brunz. When he first started it up, there were very few places for artists to exhibit in Swansea, unless they were very established or fitted in with the very narrow requirements of the few private local galleries. Now The Brunz, along with Elysium and Llysglas, Framework and Oriel Bach, Ex One Zero and Supersaurus, Artawe and Swansea Print Workshop are showing what it’s possible to achieve when artists take the lead and do it for ourselves.

I’ve handed The Brunz gig over to Tim and Lucy Kelly who will be continuing to showcase contemporary artists with original artwork and are keeping on the tradition of cake-fuelled opening parties! If you’re in the South Wales area this coming Wednesday [that’s South Wales U.K. not Australia lol], the opening party for Tim and Lucy’s first curated exhibition is on from 7pm – with cake!!!! I’ll be concentrating on making and exhibiting my own work now that I have finally taken the plunge to go back into the arts and have my own studio with Elysium Gallery Studios. It’s only 32 years since I graduated! I’m obviously a slow burner.
The poster is from the show we took down today, our last one. I put in some ‘skull attack’ block prints and a set of oil paintings of nudes. I rarely paint but when I took over my studio in May last year, I decided to do a series of technical exercises to bring my standards up to scratch and that included forcing myself to do some painting. This is one that I exhibited over Xmas.

Oil painting: The Yellow Towel.

 I’m lucky to be living in Swansea which is such a rocking place for art [and music, drama and writing].  There’s been a lot of debate in the professional arts press about how artists can survive during the recession and I think what’s happening in Swansea is an indication of hope for the future of the arts, with artists banding together and doing things collectively, with little or no public funding and bypassing the conventional gallery system. All power to us I say 🙂

Block print: Skull Attack.

Male Nude, Female Artist.

9 Jan

Life drawing.

Here’s one of our younger models in a pose reflected in the large mirrors in the drawing studio at Swansea Print Workshop. I like to put the model in the context of the space and show what’s going on around. What I particularly like about this one is that the model is a man and the artist reflected in the mirror is a woman, which reverses a lot of people’s expectations. Life drawing can be quite controversial outside Western Europe – and even within it. I think part of that may be down to the history of art modelling and art, when most [almost all] artists were men and most models were women, considered just a little step above prostitution. Now it’s a credible career choice and we have models from all sorts of backgrounds, none of them exploitative and of course, women are now allowed to be artists. The drawing is in Faber Castell Pitt pens into an A3 sketchbook, drawn across both pages.

Really Artgeek Stuff – from Sketch to Drawing to Monotype [PG]

19 Sep

Just completed a new large full-colour monotype using the 3-colour reduction method.

Drawing, monotype and ghost.

I started off with a sketch which I did in a life drawing session then I developed it into a larger drawing [bottom image] in compressed charcoal, graphite block and white oil pastel onto a sheet of recycled Bockingford 250gsm paper. It had been used for a cyanotype and then thrown away – that’s the bluish colour you can see in places.  Then I traced it and used the reverse of the tracing to do a 3-colour reduction monotype, a method similar to that used by the Impressionists Degas and Monet.

I did the first two layers, in Process Yellow and Process Red on Saturday afternoon and went back to Swansea Print Workshop this morning to do the final layer in Process Blue. This method gives a lovely rich black and a full range of colours. I print onto BFK Rives 250gms using oil-based litho/relief inks thinned with plate oil. The method gives one full colour print [the centre image] and one ‘ghost’ monotype [the upper image]. Degas used to work over his ghost images with pastels and these are now possibly famous than his paintings.

This is REALLY geeky stuff isn’t it? 🙂

A classic nude

2 Sep

Ink drawing: a classic nude.


Thursday night is life drawing night in this little corner of Wales and we’re lucky enough to have an excellent group of models to work with, all ages, all shapes. The drawing studio at Swansea Print Workshop isn’t very big and it’s often crowded out. Last night I sat on the floor to get closer to our model otherwise I’d have sat at the back and it was a bit difficult to see well. I noticed that this pose is very classical and similar to the French artist Ingres painting ‘The Valpinçon Bather’. She’s drawn in Faber Castell Pitt pen size ‘S’ into a Fabriano sketchbook.


The Valpincon Bather by Ingres.


Ingres was a brilliant painter and I’ll never be able to match his technique but I like the drawing and it might become the basis for one of my large full colour monotypes.


%d bloggers like this: