Tag Archives: oil bars

Starting To Play……

13 Sep


I took digital photos of the large work I did with oil bars (Winsor & Newton) onto paper (Fabriano Accademica) last week and downloaded one into a free Markers app on my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet. I’m starting to find it quite useful to download artwork in this way, to have a play without having to get out loads of materials and risk spoiling the original. I started drawing with a fine white line, to see what would happen, with no planning and a figure has started to emerge. I wonder where this will take me?




A lot of my artwork is available on my Artfinder gallery.  If you’d like to have a look, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

Gors Fawr, near Mynachlog-ddu in the Preseli mountains, a lush green bog fringed with glowing hills.


9 Sep

Day 2 d

I carried on working today at the Creative Bubble artspace in Swansea’s Cradock Street with fellow artist Patricia McKenna Jones. Patricia has taken the space for a few days to develop some new work and invited other artists to join her. I thought I could do with a few days experimenting so I stuck a huge piece of Fabriano Accademica paper on the wall, about 1.5 x 2 metres and started making intuitive marks, first with compressed charcoal and then with Winsor & Newton oil bars.


Patricia making monotypes based on her sketchbook drawings

The mark-making I’m doing isn’t anything new, the Abstract Expressionists were at it throughout the 1940s and 1950s but it’s new for me. I normally work quite formally from life, drawing from things in front of me. It’s a departure for me to work without subject matter, without realism and without an ultimate aim. It was hard on the first day but now, on day 2, I’m relaxing into it.

From the left, today starting with what I did yesterday, mostly compressed charcoal with some streaks of scarlet and a little Alizarin Crimson, then Yellow Ochre, more Alizarin Crimson and finally Hooker’s Green.

Oh …. and I decided to work entirely with my left hand today (I’m right handed) and it made such a difference, I am much more relaxed and intuitive, the marks more varied.



A lot of my artwork is available on my Artfinder gallery.  If you’d like to have a look, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

Gors Fawr, near Mynachlog-ddu in the Preseli mountains, a lush green bog fringed with glowing hills.


Land Of Ice And Fire

4 Nov

trolls small

Husb and I visited Iceland (the country, not the shop) three winters ago and we managed to get a really cheap package deal to go again in a couple of weeks. It’s a fabulous place for an artist, although hard to draw outside in winter temperatures. I tried out different preparations for the papers I took last time so I’ll be replicating those when I go again. You need robust, thick paper, like a heavyweight Khadi, or card – I used mount board (matte board). I laid down some colours onto my papers and cards with ink washes and acrylics last time and drew over them with oil bars and soft pastels. I’ll be doing that again. My usual M.O. of lightweight sketchbook and drawing pens just doesn’t stand up to the moisture in the air and the piercing cold.

We’re hoping to see the Aurora Borealis this time – they didn’t show up on our last visit and I’ve booked myself into a half-day introduction at the Icelandic Elf School.

More Paintingy Drawingy Stuff

5 Oct

I carried on doing the paintingy drawingy thing today. I stapled a bit of gessoed canvas to the wall and started rubbing Daler Rowney System 3 acrylic pigments, thinned with screenprinting medium, onto it with my fingers wrapped in rags. The original is a life drawing I did earlier this year. It’s odd using paint. As a printmaker and scribbler I’m used to doing a process in one go. It’s weird for me to have to hang around to let paint dry before I carry on to add a bit more. I’m enjoying the technique, though, it’s free and expressionistic and quite fast.

I rubbed in a cherry pink at stage 4, white at stage 5 and then drew into it with willow charcoal in stage 6. Next step is to consolidate the drawing and develop the colours and details with Winsor & Newton oil bars. I was a bit more sensible today and went for a 5k walk after I did some work on this. Yesterday, I went out earlier and corpsed myself walking 7.5k and was too tired to work on the painting / drawing afterwards.

Paintingy Drawingy Thing

3 Oct

drawing tortuosa

Today I had an urge to use paint. I’m not a painter. I don’t get paint but I really fancied using some earlier. So I stapled a bit of gesso-ed canvas to the wall and rubbed it all over with a yellow ochre acrylic pigment, put on with rags. It dried pretty quickly so I blocked in some reddish colour and once that was dry, rubbed on some green. I don’t like brushes.I don’t know if it’s a painting or a drawing. I’ll be putting in details with oil bars, which is definitely a drawing medium.

I did the life drawing above about a year ago, using oil pastels into a khadi paper book, opened up to use the double spread and this is what I’m using for reference.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’ll carry on with it tomorrow and see what happens.

Freeing Up

7 Nov

07 mari

Just back from life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop. I try to get there every week for practice. I don’t go to produce a perfect drawing; it’s a chance to loosen up and try out different things. I’ve been working on some small, very detailed ink drawings lately and I felt like freeing myself up a bit. I worked on A3 paper with charcoal, carbon, oil bars and oil pastel, enjoying the feel of the materials on the paper and the movements of my arm and hand. I like getting into the physicality of drawing when I can.

Industrial Scribbling

25 Jun

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sunshine all day – yaayyy Summer at last. ‘The Industrial Valley’ is the theme for an exhibition coming up in the Autumn for members of Swansea Print Workshop. Some of us are organising a series of drawing days to do preliminary studies for this and today a small group of printmakers went up the Dulais Valley to the National Trust site at Aberdulais Falls, one of the first areas to be developed during the Industrial Revolution. I normally run a mile from doing landscapes but I need to push out of my comfort zone and stop being lazy. Two ink sketches in my A5 cloth-bound sketchbook and a piece in oilbars, onto A2 stretched paper prepared with multi-coloured washes of acrylic paint.

Just a quickie

11 May


We came back to Idaho from Oregon today and made a couple of sketching stops. It was boiling hot, around 29degrees C or 90F and we were on a tight schedule so only had enough time for a quickie or two. This was drawn from a rest stop in the mountains on The Oregon Trail, at Burnt River – at one point we were over 4,000 feet up.

I scribbled this in oil bars onto a canvas sheet prepared with oil-based litho/relief ink squeegeed on at random and left to dry.

This artist residency has been supported by Wales Arts International and Arts Council Wales.


Back To Basics

12 Apr

12 basics

I’ve been trying to push out of my comfort zone at Life Drawing group for a while now. Last night I pulled out a piece of very heavy and textured hand-made paper, a bit bigger than A4, that I’d prepared with acrylic gesso overlaid, when dry, with compressed charcoal and then sealed with spray fixative. The surface wasn’t smooth enough for any of my pens so fine detail was out. I grabbed a white oil bar and focussed on the basic shapes contained within the body.  This model is a larger, mature lady and she reminds me a lot of the sculptures I saw recently at the British Museum’s Ice Age Art exhibition. The heavy texture of the paper gives the surface a rock-like quality and it feels more hewn than drawn.

Crazy Woman In A Sandstorm

3 Apr

03 sandstorm

So who was the mad woman on the freezing cold beach in a gale force wind this evening, drawing in a sandstorm? This crazy woman here, that’s who. Honestly, the things I do for my art. It was blowing so hard that my piece of card, around A3 size, was waving about like Rolf Harris’ Wobble Board. That dates me doesn’t it?  I’ve been working my way through pieces of card I’d been experimenting with. They hadn’t worked out so I’m reusing them.This had a lemon yellow oil pigment ground and I worked over it this evening with Winsor & Newton oilbars.

I scribbled frantically in the gale for about 8 minutes, not easy and I certainly wasn’t happy with what I was drawing. Then the wind blew the board clean out of my hands and face down onto the sand, just like buttered toast. It started looking better. I got it home and, using a cotton bud (Q-Tip), scribbled into the sand on top of the wet pigment. I quite like it now. I think the sand looks very realistic 😉

%d bloggers like this: