Tag Archives: willow charcoal

The Greyhound’s Kennel

20 Feb

Twlc Y Filiast

This is the first of the ancient stone monuments I drew a couple of days ago when I was trekking around muddy Carmarthenshire with an archaeologist and a film maker. The Welsh name is Twlc Y Filiast which translates as the Kennel of the (female) Greyhound, but the monument is also known as Arthur’s Table or Ebenezer’s Table. It’s a Neolithic chambered tomb. There are a number of ancient burial sites associated with greyhounds. In Welsh, greyhound is milgi (female is miliast) and means a thousand dogs (or a thousand bitches) as a greyhound was considered to be as valuable as a thousand ordinary dogs because of it’s hunting ability, absolutely vital in ancient societies.

The setting is strange and ethereal. I’m used to seeing dolmen out in the open, often overlooking the sea or set on top of a hill and it was odd seeing this in a shadowy hollow by a stream just behind the now closed* village school in Llangynog. It’s well hidden and easily missed and the route was treacherous after the many weeks of torrential rain and awful weather.

Llangynnog 1

I had almost finished the drawing when I noticed the stone face in profile, looking towards the stream and the woods on the opposite side. I drew with willow charcoal onto a vintage British paper. I had a range of drawing materials but I instinctively reached for the willow charcoal; when I reflected on my choice later I realised that I had gone for an organic, natural material that had itself come from the woods and would have been used by ancient peoples.

*Many village schools have been closed by the Welsh Government, depriving rural communities of an important resource. A national disgrace in my opinion.

The Curate’s Egg

15 Oct

October

Tonight’s life drawing is like the Curate’s egg – good in parts. I had the most horrific foreshortening on the left hand. no matter how many times I measured it, the darn thing looked badly drawn. I used Winsor & Newton’s willow charcoal and white conte crayon onto a piece of Fabriano Accademica that I had marbled with oil paint and turpentine.

It’s late. I’m going to bed. Goodnight 😀

Emerging Patterns

23 Jun

d 2 final

I’m continuing to work with the paper I marbled earlier in the week, squinting and staring at the random shapes and letting them form into something that makes some sort of sense. I read recently that artists may see patterns in things more readily than other people. It didn’t take me long to see the broad shoulders emerging near the top of the paper and the rest of the male body developed very quickly.

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I’m resisting the temptation to overwork it. I’m trying to keep the drawings of Egon Schiele in mind as I develop these works on marbling, keeping the line simple and flowing and not working in a lot of detail; making the figures spontaneous and minimal. The Fabriano paper has been ‘distressed’ by snails because I left it out overnight and they’ve nibbled some interesting patterns into the surface. The drawing has been done with willow charcoal, Bideford Black and white conte crayon.

Colouring In

17 Feb

17 degenerates

I blogged a couple of days ago about the work I started at the Creative Bubble monthly event where I began some full-length portraits of fellow artists in preparation for an upcoming exhibition (here). I went back on Saturday to carry on. Progress was slow because it was very busy in the artspace and also I did a portrait head drawing (read about it here). Here’s how much I’ve done so far.

I worked over the willow charcoal line with a small round hoghair brush and acrylic System 3 paint in a dark grey. Willow charcoal is very unstable and the lines wouldn’t have lasted long. Once the paint was dry, I used my fingers and rags to squidge solid blocks of System 3 colours. The paint is mixed about 60:40 with acrylic pigment so it’s translucent. It’s not like anything I normally do, it’s like colouring-in. Very relaxing.

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