Tag Archives: The Workers Gallery

A Little Bit Of Kimono

5 Jan

Ynyshir 040118 b

Here are a couple more heads I scribbled last night at the WAM (Words Art Music) monthly event at the excellent Workers Gallery in Ynyshir. I did my usual thing of being an art voyeur, scribbling people’s likenesses when they were absorbed in what was going on.


I am very fond of this tiny sketchbook, you can get an idea of its size from the pepper next to it. It’s by Paper Blanks, hardback with a fabric cover which is based on a Japanese Ukiyo-e kimono pattern and the whole thing is so beautifully made, with acid-free paper and a precisely folded paper pocket on the inside back cover. Ukiyo-e is a genre of woodblock prints dating back to the 1600s (the Edo period) and the word means “pictures of the floating world“.


4 Jan

Ynyshir 040118

It’s late and Husb and I are just back from a great evening at the lovely Workers Gallery in Ynyshir in the Rhondda Valley. We went to the monthly WAM (Words, Art, Music) event which is held on the first Thursdays. Of course I had a scribble, catching the faces of people in the audience who were absorbed in the performances. I used a biro (ballpoint) pen into my small (A6) flowery hardback Paper Blanks sketchbook.



Randomness Ensued

28 Nov

caligo 1

I did an afternoon of experiments at The Workers Gallery last week, trying out different combinations of inks and papers on a Gelli Arts gelatine printing plate. I want to print papers for collage. I did some basic experiments a few weeks ago and I wanted to do something a bit more advanced to see what the technique is capable of.

tissue net

I used two different types of pigment – Caligo Safewash ink (oil-based) and Liquitex paint (acrylic) and two papers to print on – Daler Rowney cartridge paper and Hosho Japanese tissue. I also used ripped tissue paper and fruit net bags as stencils to add variation to colour and texture. I took two prints from each inking – a full colour one and a paler ‘ghost secondary image.


The Caligo inks had greater translucency and depth but in future I’ll try the Liquitex with a medium to thin it out a bit and see if I can get a more translucent paint. I prefer the Hosho paper, it gives much more luminosity than the Daler Rowney cartridge. The stencils – tissue and fruit net – worked really well and it was exciting when I took the paper off the plate to see what randomness endued.




Workers’ Mates

27 Nov

2017 Punjabi Storm

I’m a gallery artist at the excellent Workers Gallery in Ynyshir where up to 20 invited artists are selected annually to have a square metre of permanent exhibition space and to work with the gallery to develop the exhibition programme and run regular residency and demo days. The Workers’ focuses on art made in Wales but also has a special programme of international artists throughout the year. It’s a lovely gallery, worth visiting.

Supporters of the gallery often become ‘Workers Mates’ for an annual contribution of £20 and in return they receive special exhibition opportunities, offers and VIP invitations. It’s an interesting model of working as it embeds the gallery in the local community through the Workers’ Mates scheme and also gives artists an opportunity to curate their own exhibition area.

I just visited last week and changed my ‘square metre’ to show these fairly new monotypes that haven’t been exhibited before. They’re based on impressionistic drawings I did during my last visit to Pakistan while I was travelling through The Punjab, and I used the 3-colour reduction technique with Caligo Safewash relief inks onto BFK Rives paper. See my Techie section for more about the technique.



Punjab To Rhondda With Cake

20 Nov

Winter Woodland artist residencies Nov 2017 b

I’m doing a one-day artist residency at The Workers Gallery in Ynyshir this coming Friday so if you’re in the area, or fancy that trip up the Rhondda Valley that you’ve been promising yourself, please pop in and see me. I’ll make a cake. Maybe a Victoria Sandwich.

Victoria Sandwich

When I did a residency in Pakistan, at the Zaira Zaka Print Studio three years ago, I travelled from Rawalpindi to Lahore across the vast expanse of the Punjab through some incredible weather conditions including the most ferocious thunderstorm I have ever experienced. In the car, I did 50 very quick impressionistic drawings of the journey into a small Khadi sketchbook, and these have inspired a series of small monotypes. I have done 10 so far and I’ll be working on some more at my residency in Ynyshir.

I edited the 50 original drawings together into a short video with a soundtrack taken from the sounds around me during my month-long stay. Here it is….

Winter Woodland

1 Nov

Winter Woodland


I have three drawings in the winter exhibition at the lovely Workers Gallery in Ynyshir, running from November 9th to December 23rd. It’s a gorgeous gallery, a local library closed because of government cutbacks and saved for the community by artists Gayle Rogers and Chris Williams. The theme this year is Winter Woodland. I’m not a landscape artist but I always carry a sketchbook with me and draw whatever’s in front of me and it just happens that I’m often in the countryside. That’s one of my drawings on the poster, on the right hand side. I hope you can make it to the gallery at some time, it’s really gorgeous.


A Gallery Visit

12 Aug


Husb and I paid a visit to the lovely Workers Gallery in Ynyshir in the Rhondda Valley today. I am one of the gallery artists and I wanted to change the work I’m displaying there. Each gallery artist has a bit of wall to display their work. The Workers also has a Main Gallery for curated exhibitions. It was the last day of Susan Zeppellini’s sculpture and drawing show, “The Crows Descend”, which is fantastic.

I’m exhibiting a large monotype titled ‘Scrutiny’ based on drawings I did working with a life model.



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.

Look What I’ve Got!

30 Jun


Look what I’ve got! Ner nerner ner ner! 😛

Husb and I did a road trip up to Ynyshir in The Rhondda Valley today and bought this gorgeous Victorian book press off the charming Mike. I’ll use it for lino and wood block prints. I don’t know the make or date of manufacture so if anyone out there knows, I’d be grateful for any information. There’s a very worn logo on it, with a Lion and the letter ‘D’ underneath. Nearly corpsed Husb when he carried it in from the car.

We also crammed in a visit to the re-opened Cynon Valley Museum and Gallery in Aberdare which is showing an exhibition by Gayle Rogers, ‘The Parochial Artist’, for another week. Gayle is also a founder of The Workers Gallery in Ynyshir so we popped in there as well. A grand day out.




For a limited period I am putting a new drawing of an ancient monument on my Artfinder gallery every day.  If you’d like to check them out, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.




Proof Printing

5 May

workers 5

I made the first cuts on my new vinyl block (while I was gallery-sitting at The Workers Gallery last weekend) and took a proof print. The first print off a new block always seems to be a bit ropey (it’s the one at the bottom right of the photo), so I took a second proof which had a better ink coverage (top right). I used a plastic baren and cartridge paper. The quality isn’t particularly good because I used a cheap-ish water-based ink and a cheap roller (brayer), but it’s good enough for proofing. The purpose of taking a proof print is to see if you need to do more cuts on the block, or to try out different inks or papers. It’s the period of experimentation. I did some more cutting because I want a lighter upper half, and then I took another proof (on the left). It’s okay, but I want to cut even more away ……… more tomorrow …….


I have put my series of drawings en plein air 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. This one is the legendary grave of Saint Elfys (Elvis) in Pembrokeshire, not for from the Presceli Mountains. Elfys? Presceli? Elvis Presley? Coincidence? hhhmmmm

St Elvis

The First Cuts

3 May

workers 3

Yesterday I posted about setting up to develop a linocut print while I was gallery-sitting at The Workers Gallery in Ynyshir. After I did an interim sketch from my original sketchbook drawing of a Neolithic standing stone, I transferred it (in reverse) to a piece of vinyl with a white conté crayon. I’m using vinyl rather than lino because it’s softer and easier to cut and also because it’s so much cheaper. I find that I get very inhibited when I use expensive materials and I want to be free and a bit experimental with this – I don’t want to get precious about it.

workers 4

I’m not going to cut a lot away at first, I’ve ruined a lot of blocks that way. I’m going to cut in stages and take proof prints as I go along to inform any more cutting that needs to be done. I’m aiming for a rough, simple, expressionist style. Here’s the first stage cut, inked up with a cheap water-based printing ink, waiting to be printed by hand using a plastic baren.



I have put my series of drawings en plein air 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. This one is the legendary grave of Saint Elfys (Elvis) in Pembrokeshire, not for from the Presceli Mountains. Elfys? Presceli? Elvis Presley? Coincidence? hhhmmmm

St Elvis

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