Tag Archives: The Workers Gallery and Workshops

The Coalfield Part 3

15 Mar

Big Pit 2e

Here’s the completed drawing, one of several I did on my visit to Big Pit / Pwll Mawr near Blaenavon last Sunday. I used my sanguine conté crayon to do the final strokes on the drawing, after the black and white. It’s a lovely area with spectacular hills and intriguing industrial heritage.

Big Pit 2d

Husb and I were visiting with a group of artists from The Workers Gallery in Ynyshir which currently has a group show of its gallery artists (I’m one of them) and a solo show from Norwegian artist Tobbe Malm, who creates extraordinary metal sculptures.

 

Last week was the opening of Swansea’s International Women’s Day exhibition at Cinema & Co. It was fantastic, loads of people there and lots of arty and fun things happening. Cinema & Co is putting on a terrific programme of films through the month because it’s also Women’s History Month. Please check out the programme here …..

wmd-invitation

 

I have put my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to see more, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

The Coalfield Part 2

14 Mar

Big Pit 2c

Husb and I visited Big Pit / Pwll Mawr just outside the World Heritage Site town of Blaenavon. I had a scribble en plein air in my A4 spiral bound brown paper sketchbook. I stood on the grass up above the mining site and after quickly drawing the darker areas of the rugged mountainous landscape of the South Wales coalfield, I added highlights. There was a pronounced line of white above the very dark hilltops and more nebulous white in the sky and dappled over the land. Tomorrow – the final stage – with sanguine…..

We were out and about with a group of artists linked with The Workers Gallery in Ynyshir which currently has a group show of its gallery artists (I’m one of them) and a solo show from Norwegian artist Tobbe Malm, who creates extraordinary metal sculptures.

 

Last week was the opening of Swansea’s International Women’s Day exhibition at Cinema & Co. It was fantastic, loads of people there and lots of arty and fun things happening. Cinema & Co is putting on a terrific programme of films through the month because it’s also Women’s History Month. Please check out the programme here …..

wmd-invitation

 

 

I have put my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to see more, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

The Coalfield Part 1

13 Mar

Big Pit 2a

Visiting Big Pit / Pwll Mawr in Blaenavon on Sunday with Husb, I took the opportunity to do some drawing en plein air in my A4 spiral bound brown paper sketchbook. I stood on the grass up above the mining site and quickly drew the darker areas of the rugged mountainous landscape of the South Wales coalfield, stretching into the distance.

Big Pit 2b

I used both the point and the flat edge of the black conté crayon to get fine lines and large areas of texture. Then I grabbed my white conté crayon, but I’ll blog that tomorrow. We were out with a group of artists linked with The Workers Gallery in Ynyshir which currently has a group show of its gallery artists (I’m one of them) and a solo show from Norwegian artist Tobbe Malm, who creates extraordinary metal sculptures.

 

Last week was the opening of Swansea’s International Women’s Day exhibition at Cinema & Co. It was fantastic, loads of people there and lots of arty and fun things happening. Cinema & Co is putting on a terrific programme of films through the month because it’s also Women’s History Month. Please check out the programme here …..

wmd-invitation

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to see more, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Big Pit / Pwll Mawr

12 Mar

Big Pit 1

Husb and I had a grand day out today, driving up to Big Pit National Coal Museum near Blaenafon. We met up with a gaggle of artists (is that the right collective noun?) from The Worker’s Gallery and Workshops in Ynyshir in the nearby Rhondda Valley. It’s a fabulous small gallery that punches way above its weight and well worth a day trip to go and see what’s on there.

At Big Pit, we had a guided tour underground and then explored the site and the excellent exhibitions set out in the historic industrial buildings. And a cup of tea and some Welsh cakes in the warm and cosy cafeteria with spectacular views. Of course, I had to have a scribble. It was very cold and blustery and difficult to draw, but sometimes you need extreme conditions to force you out of your comfort zone and zoom in on what’s absolutely essential for your drawing.

This building is the Fan House, where the big fan is. It’s used several times a day to pump clean air into the pit. I worked quickly with white, sanguine and black conté crayon, in that order, into my A4 spiral bound brown paper sketchbook from Seawhites. I used the point of the crayons for a scribbled line and the flat side to cover areas quickly.

 

Earlier this week was the opening of Swansea’s International Women’s Day exhibition at Cinema & Co. It was fantastic, loads of people there and lots of arty and fun things happening. Cinema & Co is putting on a terrific programme of films through the month because it’s also Women’s History Month. Please check out the programme…..

wmd-invitation

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to see more, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

S’Up In May And June?

9 May

What am I up to?

I’m working through a load of art events that I’ve been preparing for ages.

I’ve done TRANSITION, a public art event on May 20th and 21st 2016 in Swansea’s Creative Bubble Artspace with the 15 Hundred Lives art collective.

The 15 Hundred Lives art collective

The 15 Hundred Lives art collective

And then May 28th I was in Fringe Arts Bath’s “A FAB Intervention” as part of The Plebeian Scribblers, a public access street-based drawing event.

A FAB Intervention in Bath

A FAB Intervention in Bath

And then June 1st to 24th I am part of the Swansea Print Workshop collective exhibiting and running events at The Welfare, Ystradgynlais during the “Arts in the Tawe Valley (AitTV)” festival.

The Welfare, Ystradgynlais

The Welfare, Ystradgynlais

And in the middle of all that, from June 17th, I will be exhibiting a large drawing as part of a group show in the ‘Divided By The Meltwater’ exhibition in Swansea’s Dynefor Centre.

Photograph by Tim Kelly

The Meltwater between Swansea and North Devon. Photograph by Tim Kelly

Throughout September I will have a solo show at the fabulous Workers Gallery in Ynyshir, Rhondda, showing the work I am developing on the ancient ancestral stones of South Wales.

 

The Hunt Rose Davies poster

I am part of the “Leftovers VI” International Print exchange which is a touring group exhibition of miniature prints from international printmakers. It’s just been exhibited in Boise, Idaho , USA and is destined for Reno, Nevada USA in October. Moves are afoot to bring it to Wales after Reno – watch this space!

And finally I will be running short courses in printmaking at Swansea Print Workshop over the coming months. Check out details here.

My courses at Swansea Print Workshop

My courses at Swansea Print Workshop

 

If you would like to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

Up The Workers (with added cat)!

24 Feb

e

I have a permanent exhibition at The Workers Gallery in Ynyshir where I am one of the gallery artists. Started by Gayle Rogers and Chris Williams just over a year ago, The Workers has developed into a major cultural force in The Rhondda Valley. Originally the village library, Gayle and Chris took it over after it was closed down due to massive government cutbacks that have blighted so many deprived areas.

The stages of a block print: cutting, inking first colour, inking second colour, final print

The stages of a block print: cutting, inking colour 1, inking colour 2, final print

As well as a warm and welcoming place to visit, The Workers provides studio and workshop space for artists Gayle and Chris, has a main gallery space hosting an excellent programme of contemporary art, and another exhibition space for its gallery artists. At the moment, I am exhibiting a suite of eight block prints, inspired by a visit to Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial in the snow a few winters ago. There will be a major new exhibition of work by the gallery artists opening in mid-March – more news on that to come.

Printing the first colour on the antique Columbian Press at Swansea Print Workshop

Printing the first colour on the antique Columbian Press at Swansea Print Workshop

I’ve used vinyl ‘soft cut’ blocks from Intaglio Printmaker in London and their litho / relief ink. The prints are two-colour reduction relief prints: I cut away the areas to be left white and printed a mid grey, then cut away the areas to be left grey and printed black. This is often called the ‘suicide’ method by printmakers because it destroys the block and there’s no turning back!

cat and cut

Here’s my cat, Sparta Puss, ‘helping’ with the cutting. A dangerous business, she has no concept of ‘Elfin Safety!

Up The Workers

28 Oct

Of Site & Song Exhibition Workers Gallery (1)

In this era of austerity and cutbacks, it’s so good to acknowledge a success story. Just over a year ago, two artists, Gayle Rogers and Chris Williams took over the recently closed public library in the little village of Ynyshir, up the Rhondda Valley and reopened it as a gallery. Not only a gallery but also a studio, a cultural reading space and a meeting venue for the community. They have just celebrated their first anniversary and will shortly open their Winter show, Of Sight And Song. I’m so flattered that they have chosen one of my images, a manier noir drawing inspired by The Holocaust Memorial, for the poster and invitations and I’m chuffed to be exhibiting in The Workers again.

A great venue, please do make an effort to get up the Rhondda Valley to visit it. The area is fabulous anyway, great scenery, interesting history and the very best chip shop in Ferndale. The show opens on November the 5th and runs until December the 23rd.

A Political Woman

13 Jul

leanne wood

I travelled up the Rhondda Valley this evening to The Workers Gallery in Ynyshir where Leanne Wood, the leader of Plaid Cymru (The Welsh Party) chaired a debate between academics Simon Brooks and Daniel Williams about nationalism in Wales . It was very interesting although a bit on the academic side for me, but I guess that’s what academics do. I’m not affiliated to any particular political party but I am very impressed by Leanne Wood who is an intelligent, educated woman from a working class community who went to an ordinary comprehensive school, not from a background of wealth and privilege like a lot of politicians. She is also the first woman to lead Plaid Cymru in its 90 year history.

Of course, I had to have a scribble. I was sitting at the back which means limited vision, making it hard to see a lot of detail, which restricts the drawing to main outlines. I used a dark graphite stick and a white conté crayon into my A4 hardbacked sketchbook that I had prepared with brown wrapping paper. It was a very quick sketch because she was moving as she chaired the debate; it’s not a bad likeness but it would be nice to have been closer and had a bit more time.

Manier Noir in Ynyshir

27 Mar

blocks 5

I spent the day at the fabulous Workers Gallery and Workshop in Ynyshir in the Rhondda Valley. I did a one-day drawing residency, working on a manier noir drawing based on photographs I took of the Berlin Holocaust Memorial in the snow a couple of years ago. A lot of people came in to see what I was doing and find out more about the technique and my work. I had a lot of very interesting conversations throughout the day and I started and finished an A2 size drawing.

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The Valleys has a difficult reputation in the media, but I find people interested and engaged, maybe because there is so little investment and so few services, people seem genuinely keen on seeing what’s going on in the new gallery. I think the media image these towns have is nothing more than blatant class prejudice in my opinion. It’s easy to pick on working class communities who don’t have control over media output. I am really happy with the drawing and the discussions and feedback I had throughout the day, and grateful for the opportunity given by the gallery artists, Gayle Rogers and Chris Williams.

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