Tag Archives: taxidermy

City Centre Thug

7 Nov

city centre thug

 

This image has had quite a lengthy journey. I did the original drawing (below) of a seagull, or city centre thug around these parts, at Swansea Museum weeks ago, working with Edinburgh-based printmaker Kelly Stewart, sketching antique taxidermy birds and bugs from the Museum collections.

 

 

Then I created a transparency to transfer the drawing onto a photosensitised screen. When it was exposed, developed and dried I tried out a load of trial prints onto cheap newsprint paper, using Daler Rowney System 3 acrylic paint, black with a hint of purple, and some printmaking medium.

And finally I printed an edition of 6 onto Fabriano Rosapina paper (285gsm) with one Artist Proof and one leftover, which is a reject. Fabriano paper comes from the Italian town of Fabriano which has been a centre for papermaking for nearly eight hundred years.

 

Who Ate All The Pies?

31 Oct

scourge the seagull

Who Ate All The Pies?

I spent the afternoon down at Swansea Print Workshop, working alongside other artists, heads down, printmaking. I worked with two others, preparing silkscreens with Azicol photosensitive solution. I’m going to make a photoscreen from a drawing I did recently, of a seagull during a drawing day at Swansea Museum.

 

screen gull

 

I drew a stuffed seagull from their collection of antique taxidermy. There are loads of seagulls around here. They steal people’s food from their hands. They’re getting bigger. And more intelligent. One day they will take over the world!

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.

Birds And Bugs, Rubbish And Rugby

29 Sep

full set

I’ve just finished an exhausting three days working with Edinburgh-based Australian artist Kelly Stewart to develop a boxed set of small screenprints based on drawings we did from the Swansea Museum archives – taxidermy birds and invertebrates. I also included some imagery based on rubbish – the sort that ends up in our rivers and seas. I wanted to link the two types of images together.

 

Kelly took the group of us through the demanding technical challenge of producing so many multi-layered pieces in a relatively short time. She’s the consumate professional, and a really good sport. She wasn’t at all put out by Wales beating Australia in the Rugby World Cup as we worked. She had tea and Welsh Cakes to console her.

Birds And Bugs

28 Sep

bird 3

 

I spent yesterday drawing at Swansea Museum with a group of artists led by Edinburgh-based artist Kelly Stewart. It was arranged by Swansea Print Workshop who worked with staff from the Museum stores to select antique taxidermy specimens from their collection – a range of birds and bugs. I drew herons, a hawk, cockchafers and beetles.

 

 

I used different papers – Khadi hand-made, Winsor & Newton watercolour, Daler Rowney cartridge – and drawing materials – conté crayons, carbon and my home-made walnut ink.

 

bugs 1

 

Today our group moved to the print workshop to do a two-day screenprint session with Kelly. I took my bugs and birds and the Gelli plate monotypes I did recently and developed the drawings into designs, made them into transparencies and then onto photosensitised silkscreens ready for printing tomorrow. That’s a lot of work done and a lot more to come……..

 

I’m currently artist-in-residence at the FIRE Laboratory in Swansea University, a scientific research project examining the ecology of the River Tawe. If you want to find out more about local freshwater fauna, check this out ….

Snipe In The Dark Manner

14 Jul

Snipe 4

This is the last of the drawings I recently did at Swansea Museum as part of a day with Edinburgh artist and printmaker Kelly Stewart, organised by Swansea Print Workshop. I did loads of drawings of the Snipe and this is done in the manier noir technique on prepared paper (please click here if you want to find out more about manier noir).

Snipe 6

I did loads of drawings – here are a few. It was great spending a whole day locked away in a room in a museum drawing. Like I’d died and gone to heaven.

 

 

Another Blind Contour Drawing

13 Jul

Snipe 2

Here’s another blind contour drawing I did, of a snipe, at Swansea Museum last week. It’s a very useful exercise, it forces you to stop being precious about what you’re drawing, to loosen up and to concentrate on closely observing your subject, instead of watching the paper.

 

 

Snipe Silhouette

12 Jul

 

Snipe 3

So now I’m getting a bit obsessed with Snipe, a funny little bird with impossibly skinny legs and beak, for wading and probing at the water’s edge, beautifully designed for its environment. In these drawings I focused on the silhouette to try and establish the overall shape of the bird, using my own home-made walnut ink. Thinking ahead, I can see one, or both, of these being cut into a block of lino or vinyl for printing – maybe a reduction print?

I was down at Swansea Museum, working with a group of artists from Swansea Print Workshop and scientists from the FIRE Laboratory. It was so interesting getting that interaction and input, finding out about the birds habits and habitats fleshed out their personalities and helped with developing an artistic interpretation of the little beasties.

Snipe 5

 

 

Blobbiness Abounds

11 Jul

Snipe 1

I thought I loved the bittern when I first saw it – and I did – but then I started drawing a snipe and that was it, bye-bye bittern. I’m so fickle. This gorgeous bird is one of Swansea Museum’s taxidermy collection.  I did this drawing with a reed pen and my home-made walnut ink. Reed pens are amongst the oldest drawing tools and work really well with the ink. It’s not possible to get a fine controlled line with them, but I like the blobbiness and I think it suits the snipe.

 

 

Blind Contour Bittern

10 Jul

blind contour

 

I did some blind contour drawings of the crazy stuffed bittern I was drawing recently at Swansea Museum. It was one of the taxidermy specimens from the museum stores and we were lucky to have been able to get to draw them. It’s good to go back to some basic drawing exercises now and again, good practice.

 

 

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