Tag Archives: Wales

The Melted Rocks

24 Jul

Paviland wordpress

One of my favourite places is Paviland, a strange otherworldly cove on the coast of the Gower Peninsula which is the site of the Goat’s Hole Cave, famous for the skeleton of the  “Red Lady of Paviland“, which is actually a young man. From the main road, it’s a fair walk across fields via a marked footpath before the ground drops sharply and narrows into a steep rocky valley down to the beach. The slippery and difficult rocks look as if they have been melted and are splashed with colour from mosses and lichens and veins of different minerals coursing through them. I always take a sketchbook when I visit and I made this large monotype from one of my sketches.

 

Returning Children

23 Jul

afghan-refugee-children

I usually work from drawings done from life, only occasionally from a photograph and this is one of the rare original prints, a monotype, done entirely from a photo. I took the original image on a digital camera when I first visited Pakistan back in 2007, an amazing, life-changing journey. We travelled up the Khyber Pass, with an armed guard, and I saw this refugee family returning to Afghanistan. The security situation was much better then and I often wonder what happened to them, whether they were able to stay or whether they had to leave their home again. If you want to see how this monotype technique is done, click here….  I’m also running a short course in it at Swansea Print Workshop, please check on the right …..

Out Of The Blue…

22 Jul
2018 sunshine coal

Buried Sunshine

 

Where do we draw inspiration from? Well, frankly, could be anything, anywhere, anytime. Sometimes it flows from a planned programme of research, other times it just hits you out of the blue. I try to listen to a TED Talk each day and one popped up yesterday by the oceanographer Penny Chisholm about the tiny species Prochlorococcus, the most abundant photosynthetic species on the planet. She was describing how aeons ago, vast amounts of photosynthetic organisms, which lived by absorbing sunlight, sank below the sea, became compressed over unimaginably vast amounts of time and turned into coal and oil. Then came the phrase that hit me … “coal and oil are buried sunshine“!

WOW! I live at the edge of the South Wales coalfield which was mined right back in the 15th century; mining really took off at the beginning of Britain’s Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, continuing until the 1980s, and I’d never thought about the buried sunshine beneath my feet.

Some previous drawings en plein air from Big Pit in Blaenavon.

 

I immediately started to imagine some visual images so I drew one straight away with Daler Rowney artist quality soft pastels onto Khadi handmade paper. While the idea of buried sunshine is beautiful, coal and oil lock away vast amounts of carbon and once they come out of the ground and they’re burned, that carbon is released back into the atmosphere. Which isn’t good. Perhaps we should leave the rest of this ancient sunshine safely buried.

 

You can see Penny Chisholm’s TED Talk on this video…

A Tea And Cake Party

25 Jun

Jay 1949

And here’s the third of the cohort of lifelong friends and Baby Boomers who came to Swansea for me to draw them over the weekend. Thanks to them I’ve almost finished drawing one hundred Baby Boomers. It’s taken over three years so far but I hope to draw number one hundred in July and then we’ll have a great big tea and cake party! Which is perhaps a bit tame considering the lifestyles most of us had in our youth (and some are still having today) but hey ho, we’re all getting on a bit and to be honest, a nice cup of tea is my limit these days. And once the tea party is over, I’ll have to think about what to do next. I’ve had some deep conversations with most of my Boomers which have created a rich pattern of experiences and images that I think could inspire some very interesting work and possibly a new direction artistically. But first I have to draw number one hundred! There are two contenders. Which one can I get to first?

The Generations

24 Jun

Linda 1949

Carrying on with my self-imposed task to meet with, chat to and draw one hundred Baby Boomers, I was lucky enough to ‘capture’ three in one go yesterday, three lifelong friends at the upper end of the Baby Boom, a research term that covers those born between 1946 and 1964.

The other generations are:

  • The Silents, or alternately The Traditionalists (I prefer The Silents, it’s like something from Doctor Who), born 1945 and before,
  • Generation X, 1965 to 1976,
  • The Millennials, 1977 to 1995,
  • The Centennials, born from 1996

According to researchers, generations share similar characteristics because they had similar experiences at more or less the same stage in life.

Nearly There

23 Jun

Just over three years ago I decided to draw one hundred people from my generation, the Baby Boomers. “It’ll be over by Xmas” I thought. Famous last words, But I’m nearly there and today drew number ninety seven. Oh yes!!!

 

Kathryn 1949

It’s a big demographic, starting in 1946 and continuing through to 1964, which is a big gap, not just in terms of age but also life experience and culture too. It’s been fascinating listening to people talk about their lives.

 

The Cheese Has Landed

13 Jun

The Cheese Has Landed! I entered one of those Facebook competitions a few weeks ago. You know the ones, you click on ‘Like’ and share the page and you’re entered into a prize draw. Well, this was with the Welsh Cheese Company and if there’s one thing that I like more than almost anything else in the world … almost …. it’s cheese. So I clicked and shared and a couple of weeks later they got in touch to tell me that I’ve won fifty quid’s worth of cheese! Not just any old cheese either, but the nation’s finest.

cheese

So I was working today and spent the evening with some of our extended family and we ate loads of cheese. And I didn’t do any art but now I’m stuffed full of cheese. And I’m so happy, being stuffed full of cheese 😀

Drawn To Monotype

5 Jun

sleeping woman

I’ve been searching through my older work today. I do it from time to time because I find it helps me to analyse what I’m doing now. And also it reminds me what I have tucked away in my plans chest, often things I had forgotten.

SONY DSC

These two reminded me how crucial drawing is to my art practice. The first was done during the weekly life drawing session at Swansea Print Workshop. I liked the composition so much that I used it to develop this monotype, a technique I often use when I want to work in colour. I’ve never been particularly interested in painting, I’d rather use a printmaking process any day. You can find out more about this process in my Techie Stuff section here.

 

WAM night June 2018

Just a reminder about this night coming up fast in the Rhonddda Valley

Kollwitz, Drypoint And Woodcut. What A Weekend!

31 May
Kollwitz stamp

A stamp based on a screen print I made from an original drawing of Kathe Kollwitz

Coming up, June 16th and 17th, I’ll be running a printmaking masterclass at Swansea’s gorgeous Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. Over the weekend we’ll focus on two print techniques, drypoint (intaglio) and woodcut, linked to the fabulous Käthe Kollwitz exhibition. Book now if you want to come as tickets are selling out fast….

 

1524256724565-896303689.png

A digital drawing I did based on Kathe’s woodcut, The Widow.

On Day 1….

We’ll start with my illustrated talk about Käthe Kollwitz’s life and art (I’m a huge fan) and then we’ll go into the gallery to look at Käthe’s specific pieces that support drypoint and woodcut, the exquisite line of her etchings and the drama, chiaroscuro and simplicity of her woodcuts. We’ll make some quick sketches of her techniques.

After a tea break, off to the studio to look at individual work and start to transfer drawings to the drypoint plates and / or wood blocks and start cutting the images.

After lunch, we’ll continue cutting and prepare the paper for the next day and get our materials ready. This will be a chance for artists to chat about ideas, ask questions, get familiar with new materials and machinery.

 

On Day 2 ….

It’s all about the printing…. We’ll soak paper the paper, ink the plates and/or blocks, print a small edition for each artist and put them to dry. We’ll learn about ways of doing these print techniques at home; about signing and numbering an edition, why and how; and there will be handouts designed to help you to continue printmaking afterwards.

And all in the surroundings of the beautiful Glynn Vivian Art Gallery….

 

If you want to book onto the course, please click here … and if you want to read a bit more about Käthe, please click here and here.

Randomness. 2

9 May

d finish

I’m carrying on experimenting with being as random as I can, which isn’t easy for me! I worked on another sheet of vintage watercolour paper from a Winsor & Newton block I was given by a friend, it’s about size A2. I did one a few days ago and I think I’ll do a series and see what happens. I used my home-made walnut husk ink, firstly applying a light wash and when that was dry, brushing the neat ink over with a large, flat brush. I like the way the ink pools at the edge of the brushstrokes.

 

Here are the two that I’ve done so far. I don’t know what I might end up doing with them, at the moment I’m just trying to keep a open mind and be as free as possible.

e one and two

 

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