Tag Archives: seagulls

The Fat Seagull

23 Nov

I’ve been going out sketching silently for the past 4 Sundays, around the Waun Wen area of Swansea. Just little quiet scribbles, carrying my sketchbook through the streets, working en plein air. I like looking up, as many people don’t and they miss so much. I’m noticing so many details I hadn’t before. On the right I was taken by the dynamic lines of the house extensions zig-zagging up into the air. On the left, a fat seagull perched its ampleness on a little tower thing. I sketched it a few times because it kept moving – birds are very fidgety – I don’t know if they sense they’re being drawn.

A Chance To Own One Of My Artworks

I have some small screenprints for sale, inspired by my drawings of the antique taxidermy collection at Swansea Museum. I have given these vintage artifacts a modern twist by combining them with images of rubbish – old fruit nets, bubble wrap and plastic – highlighting the problem of human pollution and how it affects wildlife.

To buy my work on the Swansea Print Workshop site please click the image to the left.

20 percent of the cost of each screenprint sold goes to support Swansea Print Workshop, which receives no public funding.

Pollution And The Seagull

28 Jul


gull 2

I spent the morning at Swansea Print Workshop – we are doing a very limited re-opening now that the Covid19 restrictions are relaxing. I want to finish an edition of screenprints I made from a drawing of a stuffed seagull back last Autumn. I printed a load of seagulls on newsprint while I was getting the strength of the ink right so I used a couple of these today to try out different backgrounds. I’m thinking of making a photoscreen from fruit nets to create the background. There’s so much rubbish in the environment, loads of plastic pollution, so I’m going to use some with the seagull. I’m not necessarily going to use these colours but at the moment I’m trying to get the composition right.


Scribbling, Shouting And Low Flying Seagulls

11 Apr

crazy lady

Queueing outside shops gives me time and opportunity to have a quick scribble in my little sketchbook that goes everywhere with me. I think it’s important to sketch, it doesn’t have to be a fabulous work of art, just a quick scribble to keep practicing. I saw this lady walking along the other side of the street in the sunshine, talking very loudly to herself and occasionally shouting across to people on the opposite side of the road. A few of us in the queue, observing safe distancing of course, chatted about whether she was alright, but she seemed happy enough and was clean and tidy, looked well fed and was walking along purposefully enough. I noticed that the seagulls are swooping very low now.

The Scourge Of The City

8 Oct

scourge the seagull

I did this drawing of a seagull a couple of weeks ago at Swansea Museum from a stuffed seagull in the Museum’s stores. I think it’s a herring gull (but I’m not sure). If it is, then it’s on the conservation danger list, which surprises me because there are thousands of them around here. They’re the scourge of the city’s bin collectors as they rip open black bags and raid them, spreading rubbish all over the street. It’s a spectator sport in the city centre, watching them snatch food from people ambling along, eating in the street.

chocolate all in one sponge


Talking of eating, I was having visitors round earlier so I baked a cake. A quick and easy chocolate all-in-one sponge, flavoured with freshly grated orange rind and iced with chocolate buttercream, which I make with Welsh salt butter, icing sugar, cocoa and a splash of vanilla. I kept it well away from seagulls.

Seagulls At Sunset

28 Oct


Seagulls at sunset hanging out of the spiky bits on top of the towers on top of the mosque that used to be a church. There was a seagull on each one.

Bling, Seagull And Iconic Chair

8 Sep

holo 4

I did this tableau with mannequins and some of my drawings.

Day 2 at The Bagpuss Window, the newest arty shenanigans in Swansea’s High Street. Fellow artist Melanie Ezra and I have opened a temporary pop-up artspace in an old shop due for demolition (thanks Coastal Housing group for the loan). The idea of The Bagpuss Window is that we, along with any other artists who drop in, will fill the window with an ever-changing display of art, work-in-progress, inspirational objects, tools and equipment that we use…..

We’re also encouraging local people and passers-by to pop their heads round the door and interact with us. Yesterday, a couple of local lads had a chat, liked what they saw and came back today with a painting on driftwood of a blinged-up seagull for The Bagpuss Window (above left). Local artist Tim Kelly  dropped by with his porcine pieces (above centre and right) which went in as well.

I carried on working on something I started ages ago, a three-dimensional tableau inspired by the work I have been doing based on a visit to Berlin a few winters ago. I’m getting somewhere with it. And finally, a local group, Circus Eruption lent us half a dozen chairs – I can now sit down!!! They’re fab, copies of the iconic Arne Jacobsen chair, or as I call it, the Christine Keeler chair.

Tiny Temper

27 May


Heard a lot of noise on the roof around 6pm. Sparta Puss was facing off a very large and angry seagull. Husb and I tried to persuade the cat to come down but she was having none of it, so we left them to it. A few minutes later she came storming into the house and gave me a slap! Then she settled down on the stool in front of me in a right strop! What a temper. She glared at me for ages. So I scribbled her. She’s turned her back on me now. What did I do?????


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I drew her on my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 using a free Markers app, saving frequently and uploading the pictures into a slideshow gallery to show how the drawing has developed. I have to put in a background before drawing otherwise the final picture, when upladed, seems to turn into a negative.

Seagull Poo And Nettle Brew

17 Jun

Today was one of the rare sunny days this summer, so Husb was up and out early getting a run along the promenade. Then a seagull spotted him. Literally. All over his head. I couldn’t stop laughing :D. Luckily he doesn’t have the thick verdant growth of his youth and he was able to scrape most of the gull droppings off his pate and carried on with his run.

After he cleaned up, we took advantage of the respite from the storms and headed off to the allotment – weeds thrive on persistent rain. I embarked on a war of attrition on the buttercups, hogweed, dock, speedwell, rosebay willowherb and scarlet pimpernel and before anyone complains that they’re just flowers in the wrong place – WRONG! They’re EVIL! And they’re trying to kill our allotment. I showed ’em no mercy!

We had a break to sup some of our recently made elderflower cordial [we’re lucky to have a sambucus nigra overhanging the plot] and we crushed some fresh mint leaves into it – delicious. I took a few minutes out to scribble this view from where we were sitting in front of our shed, looking through the lush growth of the Kiwi fruit plant ‘Jenny’, a self-fertile variety which is producing flower buds for the first time this year. Just under it is a large bin full of nettle compost; steep as many nettles as you can cram into a bin in water for a couple of weeks and the resulting evil-smelling brew is a highly nutritious liquid compost that can be applied with a watering can. Makes me smell awful though. But never mind, not as bad as seagull poo on the head, eh?

It’s hard to draw nature so I’ve been looking at how Van Gogh did it. He developed his own shorthand of marks to interpret what he saw and seems to have drawn very quickly. I’ve a long way to go, but that’s how I’m approaching the great outdoors. Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen, size S, into an A6 leather-bound, recycled sketchpad, used double.

Things To Do With A Seagull

4 May

Quill and ink life drawing.

I’ve been on a two-day course in Renaissance-style drawing at Swansea Metropolitan University – which used to be the Art College. It was very thorough and we used the sort of paper and drawing materials that were available back in the days of Leonardo and Michaelangelo. Paper was scarce and expensive so they tended to make little drawings, using both sides of the paper and cramming as much on as possible. There were no pencils [check out the history of pencils at the Most Excellent British Pencil Museum] so they used silverpoint instead. They drew in ink using nib pens and quills made from bird feathers. Swansea, being a seaside city, has an enormous population of seagulls and their feathers are a very good size for quill pens. And so we were supplied with a pile of seagull feathers that had been bleached to get rid of any lurking lurgis and cut with a scalpel and off we went. The quill was surprisingly soft and almost brush-like, flowing across the paper with a free and easy, albeit blotchy, line. It wasn’t possible to do any detail with it but it’s good for rough sketching and blocking out a composition. I used white chalk to add highlights to the drawing above.

Sketch with quill, dip pen, ink and chalk.

Our teacher asked us to do a drawing with different media, using a rougher medium for the overall drawing and focussing in on a detailed section with a finer medium. I used a seagull quill and sepia ink for the main drawing above and a fine nib pen and chalk to develop the detail in the left hand. The local seagulls are a nuisance who rip open bin bags, cover cars with guano and steal food from small children, so it’s good to find something they’re useful for.

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