Tag Archives: Welsh language

The Final Touch

25 Feb

finished

 

The mixed media print I’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks is now finished! I did the final touches this evening. “Dragon’s Revenge” is designed by Jamie Reid and commissioned by GS Artists and is a combination of archival digital print (the pale blue background and the word DRAGONS), screenprint (the red Welsh dragon and the blue Saint George), lino cut (the word REVENGE) and a separate digital print (the words MAE HEDDWCH YN GALED).

I collaged the final pieces this evening. It’s great to see an artwork in two languages; Mae Heddwch Yn Galed means Peace Is Hard.

 

dragons-revenge

 

An exhibition of the political works of anarchic artist Jamie Reid, is at GS Artists on Swansea’s High Street until March 1st.

 

 

The Dim Mare

24 Jan

Mari Gwyr

It’s been Mari Lwyd season here in Wales, an ancient tradition harking back to the worship of the Celtic horse goddess. There have been quite a few Maris stalking the area and they’re all different, they all have their own personalities. Here’s a quick sketch of Mari Gwyr, the Gower Mari. She’s plainer than most and her strange headgear, a cross between a beret and a beanie, make her look a bit dim, in my opinion.

Here Comes Mayhem

23 Jan

Plygain 6

At the Plygain celebration over the weekend, after there had been plenty of Welsh carols sung and a break for tea and snacks, we had some surprise visitors. Some local Wassailers accompanied by the Coppertown Mari Lwyd (Mari Trecopr). We moved quickly from traditional Xmas hymns to Mari-led mayhem.

Plygain 5

The Mari Lwyd arrives with her companions and knocks on the door to be let in. It’s the job of the people inside to keep the mischieveous Mari out so there’s a battle of wits and rhyme – a sort of ancient rap battle – until the Mari and her gang are let in. This frisky Mari tried to knock back a glass of mulled wine!

This wonderful evening of Welsh tradition was led by David Pitt (who inhabits the Mari) and Margot Morgan, who organises the Aderyn Du (Black Bird) Brynmill Community Choir.

Scribbling Singing

21 Jan

Plygain 3

Here are a couple more sketches I did at the Plygain celebration last weekend in Swansea. Plygain is a Welsh language carolling tradition going back at least to the 13th century. It had almost died out but is now going through a healthy revival. In the past, families would have precious books of Plygain carols handed down through generations. Plygain is competitive – carollers take it in turns to sing and no carol can be performed more than once during the service, so these ancient family books of Plygain carols are precious.

Plygain 4

I sketched the carollers as they sang. The top drawing was done using the continuous line method – it’s easier to judge perspective and proportion I find. Then a few speed sketches just of heads.

Toffee Evening, Noson Gyflaith

20 Jan

Plygain 2

I carried on sketching at the Welsh Plygain celebration, while all the rest sang. Traditionally, Plygain took place in church at around 3am on Xmas morning and ended at first light. People generally stayed up all night, doing all sorts of things to keep awake. One that was popular with younger people was the making of Cyflaith (toffee) and Christmas Eve was often known as Noson Gyflaith – Toffee Evening. Games were played and stories told to stop people from dozing off.

Plygain is unaccompanied carol singing in the Welsh language and traditionally was only sung by men, but these days it’s undergoing a revival and everyone can join in. I sketched some of the men at last night’s Plygain. I used the continuous line method as I find it’s the best to get the right proportions and perspective in a roomful of people.

The Children’s Choir

19 May

Mayor 3

I did four sketches at the inauguration of the new Lord Mayor of Swansea a couple of days ago. I did a couple in ballpoint pen into an A6 hardbacked sketchbook and a couple of larger ones in conté crayon into an A4 brown paper pad. It’s challenging doing interiors with people, getting the perspective and proportions right and coping with people moving around all the time. There’s something to be said for working from photographs.

 

 

The main image shows a view of the choir of primary school children who performed three songs, including the beautiful Welsh language hymn, “Calon Lan“. It never fails to bring a lump to my throat, it’s so poignant.

Bunting

3 Mar

menywod

I spent a lovely hour or so painting bunting at an event organised by Women4Resources,  a small organisation working with women and girls in partnership between Wales and Africa to promote education. Today was about promoting wellbeing and I loved just chilling out with women of all ages, chatting and doing some painting for fun, instead of for work. It took the pressure off. I based my little bit of bunting on the Welsh word “menywod” which means women. I got quite psychedelic.

There’s some confusion about the origin of the word “bunting”, with some sources citing it as French, others as Scottish. When I was little I thought it was a verb and wondered how you might ‘bunt’.  Apparently it is something to do with American baseball.

 

Saint David’s Day Night

2 Mar

 

Tomos March 2019

Husb and I went to a lovely evening at GS Artists (formerly Galerie Simpson) on Swansea’s High Street yesterday. In an evening celebrating Saint David’s Day (the patron saint of Wales) the talented Tomos Sparnon introduced the first of a series of Welsh Conversationals, Welsh Language events at the gallery focusing on ‘Mynegiant’ (Expression) in Welsh art. It was bi-lingual in an easy and lighthearted way, with a slide show of work that illustrated the list of Welsh words. He covered artists Gwen John, Peter Prendegast, Seren Morgan Jones, Ogwyn Davies, Tim Davies and his own, rather lovely, work. Of course, I had a scribble. And made notes, And learned some new Welsh words. And there was some lovely home-made leek quiche made by the effervescent Jane Simpson.

I Cried

17 Aug
SONY DSC

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.

Were-Here-Because-Credit-Eoin-Carey_01-Glasgow

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.”

nya

Ancient Welsh Poem

19 Jul

Gododdin

I joined a group of women Welsh learners at Ty Tawe earlier this evening. We’re practising to be part of the ‘Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero‘ immersive art event in Swansea in September. We’ll be part of a group of one hundred female voices reciting a section from an ancient Welsh poem, Y Gododdin– please click on the link to hear it being recited by the excellent actor, Eddie Ladd. Of course, I had to have a scribble, sneaking a look around the table at my fellow reciters.

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