Tag Archives: Welsh language

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.”

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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.

A Bit Stiff

20 Mar

Carreg Llafar

Husb and I paid a rare visit to a pub yesterday evening to see a live band, Carreg Llafar,  who play contemporary folk in the Welsh language. Being a rock chick, I’m not a big fan of folk music but I make an exception for Carreg Llafar who bring authenticity and atmosphere to traditional music. And it’s also a rare chance to hear a pibgorn, an archaic horn pipe. And to hear singing in Welsh.

cover

I drew onto a sheet of recycled cyanotype in my leather steampunk sketchbook. I used up all the paper a few months ago so I replaced it with leftover pieces from print and drawing projects. I used two Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens, size F and B and also a white Derwent pencil to scribble highlights onto the deeper blue. I find it very hard to sketch musicians because they move about, their instruments are unfamiliar to me, they hold their hands at odd angles. Factor in that there’s a stage full of them and they have to be drawn in proportion to each other and that’s a very difficult piece of drawing to do. It took a lot of effort but even so, or maybe because of it, the end result is quite stiff. Never mind, it’s good practice.

Check out Carreg Llafar’s lovely music on YouTube below.

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