Tag Archives: postaday2012

Wobbly Roofs And A Wonky Chain

26 Mar

Ink sketch: roofs and chains.

Another gorgeous day, warm and sunny, not at all like normal Swansea weather. I walked to the studio in the sunshine and although I love my huge windows, they face north and I wanted to carry on basking in the warmth, so I opened the fire door at the end of the corridor, which faces south over the bay, took my chair and a sketchbook and a cup of tea outside and sketched the roofscape for a while. The modern rounded roof at the back of the drawing is Swansea Market. There’s been a thriving market in Swansea since the 1600’s and one on this site since 1830. The current one was built in 1961 after the previous one was destroyed in the Blitz during World War 2. It’s nice being up on the second floor, seeing the city from a new vantage point. It was hard drawing that chain though.

Casting A Clout.

25 Mar

Ink sketch: in the garden.

It’s unusually warm and sunny so husb and I spent a long hard day on the allotment and came home shattered and aching. Every year we resolve to break ourselves in gently, do an hour or so the first time, but we don’t because you never know when it’s going to pour down for weeks on end, so we make the most of the sunshine. Anyway, we did loads and I planted up some onion sets and seeds …. spinach beet, beetroot amd carrots. Came home and went straight into a hot bubble bath to relieve the aches and pains and then had a nice cup of tea in the back garden where I did this drawing. When we look at a scene, we only see a tiny fragment at any one time because that’s all we can focus on, but we don’t really notice because our eyes move across the scene very quickly and our brain makes a composite of all the images our eyes are taking in. But when you draw a scene, you’re recording everything equally, so you end up with a drawing that looks much more full of stuff than the original scene. Well it does to me anyway. Perhaps I have a weird brain.

It was so lovely that, even though it’s still March,  I went against my Nana’s advice, “Don’t cast a clout ’til May is out” and I casted loads of clouts, sitting in the garden in thin cotton clothes, bare-legged with flip flops. Great stuff. Then husb and I took a walk down to Joe’s Ice-Cream Parlour to reward ourselves for all our hard work – I can’t resist a Cherry Temptation mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm 🙂

I wish my niece would come and pick up her bicycle!

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.

Dystopia In My Studio.

23 Mar

Elysium Artspace is sponsoring an international painting competition, BEEP, in May and I thought I’d go for it. Now, I’m a printmaker and a scribbler, not a dauber, so I’ve decided to approach it from that angle, using printmaking and drawing tools to create a painting. Normally my work is quite simple and self-contained, using just one subject, usually a solitary nude figure but the topic for this competition, Dystopia, has spurred me on to try a multi-figure piece with at least five people in it. The composition that I’ve sketched out is a complex one so I find myself in the position of having to do an awful lot of preparatory drawings. I’ll usually do a simple prep sketch as the basis for my printmaking, but they’re not normally detailed. For the BEEP thing, though, I’m rattling off loads of preliminary drawings and thoroughly enjoying the experience, which is a new one for me. Here are a few in progress. I’m really excited about it. I’ve been using a squeegee and a roller to apply oil pigment to a huge piece of prepared cardboard. I’m in good company, Gerhard Richter has done lots of paintings with a squeegee and Toulouse Lautrec painted onto cardboard. I’ve got about 2 months left to complete it so I’d better crack on because I have to remember the drying time for the oils. Dystopia is a pretty grim topic and some of the drawings are getting me down, so it’s good that I do a lot of sketchbook work of the daily life around me, which helps to ground me and shake me out of the deep and dark things going on in my head.

The Random Scribbler.

22 Mar

Ink sketches, random faces.

My family get dragooned into posing – Lucien Freud did the same, not that I’m putting myself into his illustrious category :). My young great niece spends Monday evenings after school with me and as we’re no longer allowed to send children down the mines or up chimneys I decided to get some use out of her, as payback for the enormous amounts of pizza it takes to fill her. Trouble is, the moment you tell her to sit still and pose, her face starts to fidget. Never mind, it’s good practice. The other people were sketched at random. Not brilliant art, but even tiny random scribbles like these help to develop my eye and zoom in on what’s important in a drawing, what marks need to be made.

Skinning Up In The Sunshine.

21 Mar

Sometimes when you’re a scribbler you have to move quickly and have just seconds to get something down on paper. This happened to me today when I was exhibition-sitting at Elysium Gallery. I glanced through the window and saw this young couple sit down on the other side of the road, take tobacco, papers and cannabis out and start rolling a joint. It was  lunch-time and bright sunshine in the city centre, but they seemed completely unaware of anyone else as I fumbled around in my bag to find my sketchbook and pen. When you’re working fast you have to zoom in on the most important lines to get something recognisable. I managed this much before they pulled themselves up and tottered off on unsteady legs out of my sight, passing the lit joint between them as they headed for the main street.

They couldn’t have been more than 17 or 18 and had those pinched, skinny little bodies that have obviously never known nurturing, certainly not a couple of healthy middle class students cocking a snook at the establishment by having a radical spliff in the sun. I’m no goody two-shoes, having lived through the excesses of the Seventies, but I felt sad for them that they have so little going for them that they didn’t care about being caught and punished. They probably have nothing to lose, no future career, no reputation, so why should they worry? Our city centre, like other cities, has many young people like this wandering around, painfully thin, intoxicated, clutching cans of Special Brew and spliffs, with nothing going for them. They’re just kids….how do they slip through the net? How have we got it so wrong? We shouldn’t be failing kids like this in one of the wealthiest and most liberal countries in the world.

Open Studios Coming Up.

14 Mar

Charcoal and chalk drawing.


Getting into some serious drawing lately, using fairly large discarded prints because the paper is good quality, usually Somerset or Bockingford, along with charcoal, compressed charcoal, chalk and transparent oil bar. I worked up this large [A1] drawing from a tiny life drawing in my sketchbook. I covered the paper with loads of random scribblings before starting to shape the image within it. It’s one of the ones on my wall for the Grand Opening of the Mansel Street Studios this coming Friday. If you’re in Swansea between 7 and 9.30 pm, be sure to come up and see my etchings 🙂 . The main stairwell and corridors have been filled with an exhibition of work from the two groups of Elysium studio artists, there’ll be wine and nibbles in the exhibition and I’m serving cake and mocktails at my studio. Would be lovely to see you.

Chooks At The Vetch.

12 Mar

Had a nice diversion this afternoon after picking up my niece for babysitting. We went down to The Vetch Field, Swansea’s old soccer ground in the city centre, which has now been cleared and turned into allotments. There are chickens there too and the sprog and I spent an hour with sketchbooks, charcoal and pastels drawing the allotments and especially the chickens. Vetch is a type of wild legume and the field was transferred from The Swansea Gaslight Company in 1912 to the newly formed professional football team. It’s nice that now it’s been cleared, plants flourish there once again. Not all of it is allotments so maybe vetch will reestablish itself once again. The drawings are done in charcoal and oil pastels into a heavyweight cream Somerset sketchbook. I’ve never drawn chooks before – they don’t stop moving!

A Comb-over In Tenby.

11 Mar

Ink sketch: A combover in Tenby.

Had a busy day today visiting Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire with an old friend. It was a glorious day and after stopping off in Pontyates, Carmarthen and Narbeth, we ended up in Tenby, walking along the lovely beaches and strolling through the old town, which is partly Medaeval, Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian. We stopped for a nice pot of tea in a little cafe and I immediately started scribbling in my usual antisocial way. There was a family sitting by the window, father and son both had spiky hair and some of the old buildings were visible through the open door. The chap at the front of the drawing had a radical comb-over, fair do’s. It takes dedication to keep hair so firmly in place. I’ve never managed it. He was lost in thought as his wife chatted to him.

The Furry Face Of Evil!

10 Mar

Pastel sketch: Sparta the kitten.


Sparta Puss here. I’ve snuck onto the computing box while no-one’s looking. I’m a feline goddess and I share my life with another feline goddess called Ming The Merciless and two fur-less monkeys who serve us. The monkeys are strange creatures but quite entertaining. Do you know, they clean themselves by immersing themselves in a tub of ….. WATER! Yes. Can you believe that? I pace around the edge of the tub shouting at them ‘Get out you idiot. You don’t clean yourself like that.’ They laugh and flick bubbles at me. Damn cheek. I try to show them how to clean themselves by washing on top of them while they’re in bed, but they don’t get it. I’ve even tried licking them myself, but they taste of ……MONKEYS! Quite horrible. I tried licking a dog once. It tasted of …… DOG. Also quite horrible.

Anyway, the fur-less she-monkey wastes a lot of her time smudging paper with bits of coloured earth instead of doing something sensible like sleeping for 22 hours.  I sort of recognise the smudges she makes. They look a bit like me. The monkeys tell their monkey friends that I have very beautiful markings and then they all do their excited monkey chattering over me and smooth me. I approve of this. Apparently the markings on my forehead look like an evil Death Head Mask. I have no idea what that is.  It’s Spring here in Wales and the mice families are out and about and I’ve caught two mice over the last two evenings and brought them in and thrown them onto the big pretty floor cushions the monkeys put on the floor for Ming and me, so we don’t have to tire ourselves out jumping onto their comfortable vintage furniture. They don’t half screech and chatter and run around when they see a mouse. HAHAHAHAHAHAAH. Such good sport.  Then they catch the mice and put them outside. What a waste of a perfectly good mouse. Don’t they realise how good mice taste? Unlike monkeys……………

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