Tag Archives: volcano

Slowly Stitching Sheen

27 Nov

sheen 5

Still stitching away at my embroidered portrait of Michael Sheen. Local artist Ann Jordan got in touch to comment that people often don’t realise the immense amount of time put into textile art. She has a fabulous solo show, Life And Loss, at Volcano on Swansea’s High Street at the moment, running until December 2nd. It’s well worth a visit.


If you fancy doing your own Michael Sheen in collage please join me and Patti McJones at GS Artists this Friday – follow the link here to book in. It’s free but they appreciate pre-booking so they can work out the catering – they’re providing a free high tea too.



2 Jul



Another shameless plug for the Printopia exhibition of work by members of Swansea Print Workshop at The Seaside Gallery, Volcano, High Street, Swansea. It opens on Thursday 4th July, with cake and nibbles and a pay bar, and continues until 26th July.

Here Be Dragons

The Big ‘Un

And my great big woodcut, “Here Be Dragons” has finally been framed and is lording it over the little prints nearby. It’s a Big ‘Un alright!





1 Jul


PRINTOPIA, The Swansea Print Workshop annual member’s show is coming up in a few days, opening at Volcano on High Street on July 4th from 6.30 – 9.30 and running until the end of the month.

It’s not all creativity, being an artist. There’s loads of other stuff to do, like getting things ready for exhibiting. I’ve spent the morning cutting mounts (mattes) and slotting my monotypes into frames. I based the monotypes on sketchbook drawings I did en plein air.

Do drop in and see the show if you’re out and about in Swansea.




The Starting Point

18 Aug

The Warrior Turns small

Yesterday I posted about the upcoming immersive art event in Swansea in September – Nawr yr Arwr / Now the Hero. I will be exhibiting some of the work I have been doing over the past decade with a young , now not so young, soldier who is also a life model. I’ve been looking through it all and it’s a big body of work. The starting point is life drawings, which I do most weeks at Swansea Print Workshop.

Warrior Turns print l

From the hundreds of drawings I have in sketchbooks and portfolios, I select some for development, usually into original prints. This one started as a pastel sketch on a canvas sheet and I developed it into a full-colour monotype (see my Techie section for how to do it). Very early on, I started to investigate the idea of The Warrior and this is reflected in the work I’ve done. This was done near the start of our working relationship and it’s called ,”The Warrior Turns To Face The Darkness“.



I Cried

17 Aug

My monotype based on an original life drawing of my model, a young Welsh soldier

Swansea, September 21st to 29th 2018.

I’ve been involved in the expansive art project Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero for some time and it’s all coming to a head in Swansea at the end of September. It’s part of a whole load of specially commissioned art projects from “14-18 NOW WW1 Centenary Art Commissions“, a nationwide programme of innovative and thought-provoking art events that commemorate – not celebrate- World War One.

Some of the highlights for me have been Cummins and Piper’s amazing gigantic installation of “Weeping Poppies” -I saw it at the Tower of London- and Jeremy Deller’s “We’re Here Because We’re Here“, commemorating those who died in the Battle of the Somme. I stopped in my tracks in the centre of Swansea as a group of VERY young men in WW1 uniform walked silently by. I cried. My grandfather was just 14 years old when he enlisted. He lied about his age.


Image credit: ‘we’re here because we’re here’ conceived and created by Jeremy Deller in collaboration with Rufus Norris, photo by Eoin Carey

I have been working with a life model, a young soldier, for 10 years and our working relationship – and the work I have produced – are a part of Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero. You can see a short film of us below. As well as the film, many of the drawings and original prints I have made over the last decade will be exhibited at Swansea Print Workshop and Volcano – I’ll write a bit more about this over the next couple of weeks.

“Nawr Yr Awr \ Now The Hero is an immersive theatrical experience that will take the audience on an extraordinary journey through three intertwining narratives of war; from Celtic history, the First World War, and today’s conflicts. Drawing on an epic poem, some rejected paintings, and an intimate portrait of a Swansea soldier serving today,  Marc Rees’ bold production brings the stories of war to life, but counterpoints the tragic telling with hope.”


East Meets West In The North

4 Dec


Iceland is a lump of lava up by the North Pole. The reason it’s there is because volcanoes keep erupting in the area because the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasian tectonic plate are pulling apart from each other. And this keeps setting off volcanoes. As the plates rip apart from each other, a large bit of land in the middle is gradually falling down between them, forming a rift valley. It was one of the places we visited and it is the site of the ancient Viking parliament, Thingvellir. It’s an extraordinary place; one minute you’re standing on the Westernmost point of Europe and a short drive later, you clamber out on the Easternmost point of North America. Awesome. I made this drawing of an unusual rock formation in the high cliffs on the American side. I used a small piece of mounting board, pre-prepared with a grey wash and drew in compressed charcoal, white conte crayon and soft oil pastel.

drowning pool                                       church

Not far away was this frozen pond, in the top photo, which is called ‘The Drowning Pool’. It was used in times past to execute women by drowning. The trees were too small for hanging and men were executed by beheading. Grim. Underneath it is a photo facing south along the rift valley, taking in a typical country church.

the rift

On the left, North America. On the right, Eurasia, a rift valley in between.

Volcanos, Glaciers and Freezing Fingers

27 Nov


I’ve been to Iceland! That’s the country, not the shop! It was amazing. I took sketchbooks, paper and card with me and loads of different drawing materials because I wasn’t sure what would work in that climate – my fingers as it turned out. It was freezing – 3 days of torrential snow taught me the meaning of suffering for my art. I whipped my fleecy gloves off every chance I got but even with my miser mittens on underneath, I couldn’t manage to draw outside in that climate for more than about 3 minutes. Then I cried a bit as my poor, raw, red fingers warmed up painfully.

But you’ll have to wait for my sketches and photos of Iceland because first of all I had to endure the journey. Five hours of torture by bus to the airport, fighting travel sickness all the way, then trial by boredom at Heathrow, waiting around for hours because you never know if the security queues are going to be huge (they weren’t). So I did a couple of scribbles of fellow queuers. I noticed different sorts of people queueing for different countries. The people in the posh clothes, high heels, immaculate hair, nails and co-ordinated luggage were on their way to New York, Barcelona and Paris. The people waiting for the Iceland flight were mostly rugged outdoor types, like the one above, dressed in sensible hiking gear and sturdy boots, carrying rucksacks and flashing emergency supplies of Kendal’s Mint Cake. My sort of people.

I took a different angle on this one. I started drawing the Kindle reader, but got bored and drew Husb’s severely foreshortened arms instead. He’s got hairy ones. We had a good flight – it was quick, only about two and a half hours and came into Keflavik airport just as the sun was setting over the most extraordinary volcanic landscape; dark solidified lava jutting into a dark sea splashed with the red of a bloody sunset. Marvellous.

Anyway, over the next few days I’m going to blog my sketches, warts and all, and some photos to show you what it was really like. But now I’m getting an early night because we didn’t get back until two o’clock this morning and I need some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’s 🙂

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